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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Share Unseen Photo from Canada Visit: 'It Filled Our Hearts' (Exclusive)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex exclusively tell PEOPLE they "loved being back in Canada" for the countdown to next year's Invictus Games

<p>Jeremy Allen for Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025</p> Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Invictus Vancouver Whistler 2025 One Year To Go gala at Vancouver Convention Centre on February 16.

Jeremy Allen for Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Invictus Vancouver Whistler 2025 One Year To Go gala at Vancouver Convention Centre on February 16.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are opening up about their "meaningful" visit to Canada for the official countdown to the 2025 Invictus Games.

“We loved being back in Canada, a place so meaningful to both of us. It was an honor to be welcomed by the Four Host First Nations, as we marked One Year To Go, together with Invictus coaches, competitors and families,” the Duke and Duchess of Sussex exclusively tell PEOPLE following the three-day Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025’s One Year to Go celebration.

“It filled our hearts to once again be surrounded by Canadian people, food and culture. We felt the Invictus spirit and excitement throughout Whistler and Vancouver, and are so grateful to all our hosts for organizing such a memorable visit. We’re counting down the days until we return!” they add.

<p>Jeremy Allen for Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025</p> Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Invictus Vancouver Whistler 2025 One Year To Go gala at Vancouver Convention Centre on February 16.

Jeremy Allen for Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Invictus Vancouver Whistler 2025 One Year To Go gala at Vancouver Convention Centre on February 16.

Harry, 39, and Meghan, 42, also shared an exclusive new photo from the One Year to Go Dinner at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Friday. The snap shows the couple smiling in their seats at the evening gala, where Prince Harry sported a dark suit and Meghan wore an olive green gown by Canadian label Greta Constantine.

Related: Prince Harry 'Gets Recharged' at the Invictus Games: 'He's with His People Now,’ Athlete Says

The One Year to Go dinner was the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s final appearance last week for the 2025 Invictus Games countdown festivities. The glam banquet was attended by representatives of the government and Four Host First Nations plus members of the Invictus Games Foundation and sponsors.

<p>Ethan Cairns/The Canadian Press via AP</p> Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Invictus Vancouver Whistler 2025 One Year To Go gala at Vancouver Convention Centre on February 16.

Ethan Cairns/The Canadian Press via AP

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Invictus Vancouver Whistler 2025 One Year To Go gala at Vancouver Convention Centre on February 16.

Michael Bublé and Luisana Lopilato, who Meghan and Harry had a double date with on Thursday night, were also in attendance, and the Canadian crooner took the stage to perform a song. Before he started singing, Bublé told the audience how happy he was that “we can show Harry and Meghan how beautiful this place is."

The lyrics, which Bublé wrote with Paul Anka to the melody of "My Way," honored Prince Harry as a "visionary" and sent "healing wishes" to King Charles, who is undergoing treatment after Buckingham Palace announced on Feb. 5 that he was diagnosed with cancer.

<p>Ethan Cairns/The Canadian Press via AP</p> Prince Harry and Michael Bublé at the Invictus Vancouver Whistler 2025 One Year To Go gala at Vancouver Convention Centre on February 16.

Ethan Cairns/The Canadian Press via AP

Prince Harry and Michael Bublé at the Invictus Vancouver Whistler 2025 One Year To Go gala at Vancouver Convention Centre on February 16.

Related: All the Best Photos from Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Trip to Canada for the Invictus Games Countdown

At the start of the party, Meghan and Prince Harry received a gift of blankets woven by the Salish people for their children, Prince Archie, 4, and Princess Lilibet, 2, from Johnna Sparrow, an Indigenous advisor for the Invictus Games and sister of Chief Wayne Sparrow of the Musqueam Indian Band.

Prince Harry also took the stage for a short speech, where he thanked the audience "for being here tonight and for your commitment to making Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025 possible."

He later added, "When I am with the Invictus community surrounded by so many brave men and women who have served their countries with distinction, I feel humbled and at home."

The Duke of Sussex also touched on how the Invictus Games will mark its 10th anniversary in 2024. “The past decade has been a testament to the power of resilience and the unbreakable spirit you all exemplify. And boy, have we had fun on the way!" he said of the milestone. "From this trip, I am happy to report the air is thick with excitement, and the best part is, we’re just getting started.”

<p>Ethan Cairns/The Canadian Press via AP</p> Prince Harry at the Invictus Vancouver Whistler 2025 One Year To Go gala at Vancouver Convention Centre on February 16.

Ethan Cairns/The Canadian Press via AP

Prince Harry at the Invictus Vancouver Whistler 2025 One Year To Go gala at Vancouver Convention Centre on February 16.

Prince Harry and Meghan had a busy itinerary in Canada from Feb. 14 to Feb. 16 at the Winter Training Camp, which introduced teams from around the world to the new winter sports that will be introduced at the Invictus Games next year. In addition to the previous sports offered, the 2025 event will include alpine skiing, snowboarding, biathlon, Nordic skiing, skeleton and wheelchair curling for the first time — and the Duke of Sussex even tried some for himself!

Prince Harry took a turn at sit-skiing down the slopes on Wednesday before a daredevil skeleton run on Thursday, where he reached speeds of over 60 miles per hour as he went down the frozen track head-first. On Friday, he and Bublé stepped onto the ice at the Hillcrest Community Centre in Vancouver to try wheelchair curling.

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Prince Harry, a retired captain in the British Army, was in his element throughout the countdown to the adaptive sports tournament for service personnel and veterans he founded in 2014, and spent plenty of one-on-one time with competitors and alumni.

“He's an incredibly committed and passionate, and intelligent advocate for what we do. I can always rely on him to take things right back to the men and women who are in need of what we offer. He's been a fantastic support and a really superb person to work with over the last 10 years,” Dominic Reid OBE, CEO of the Invictus Games Foundation, tells PEOPLE of what it’s like to collaborate with Prince Harry. 

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