Chula Vista

Prince Harry surprises Chula Vista moviegoers at screening of new Netflix doc ‘Heart of Invictus'

It was a special moment for one moviegoer, a USO volunteer and military advocate who has seen first-hand the effect adaptive sports can have on veterans and servicemembers

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

A select group of moviegoers got the royal treatment at AMC Chula Vista when the Duke of Sussex himself showed up to promote his new Netflix series, "Heart of Invictus."

Prince Harry showed up unexpectedly at a last-minute screening Monday of the five-episode limited series, which follows six people on journeys to compete in the Invictus Games -- A duke-founded international event for injured military service members and veterans. The screening at the San Diego County theater was hosted by the USO and guests were comprised of servicemembers and their families, veterans and USO volunteers.

GraceAnn Skidmore, an author and military spouse who volunteers with the USO, was invited to the special screening. When she and her friend Bonnie Pham arrived, they thought security was heavy but didn't second guess it. After they were seated, presenters introduced the series executive producer -- Prince Harry.

"We had no idea there would be such a special guest," Skidmore told NBC 7 in a written message. "There were lots of cheers and we were so surprised to see Prince Harry coming to spend his evening with us. He stayed the whole screening and even took photos after with some guests."

Skidmore and Pham were two of those guests lucky enough to have a photo moment with the royal. A smiling Prince Harry poses next to Skidmore as an enthusiastic Pham snaps a selfie of the three of them as the credits roll on the screen behind them.

Prince Harry founded the Invictus Games to aid with the rehabilitation of injured military servicemembers through sporting events, similar to the Paralympics. The international competition is held every other year with the next set for Sept. 2023.

Skidmore works closely with military servicemembers and recently volunteered at the Marine Corps trials at Camp Pendleton, an adaptive sports event for veterans and active duty military members similar to the Invictus Games, so she felt a special connection to Prince Harry's efforts.

"It was an incredible experience to take my memories of the Marine Corps trials, and couple that with the strength, courage and drive shown in Prince harry's documentary series."

She hopes "Heart of Invictus" can help open the door for more conversation about adversity in the military.

The series debuted on Netflix on Aug. 30.

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