Prince Harry gets choked up at WellChild Awards with Meghan: ‘this year resonates in a different way’

The Duke of Sussex gave a powerful and deeply personal speech yesterday evening at the WellChild Awards Ceremony, held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London. The Duchess looked on from her seat amongst the honourees.

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Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, attend the WellChild Awards Ceremony at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London. Picture by James Whatling

He recalled how, attending the award last year, he and the Duchess knew they were expecting but had not yet released the news. “I remember,” he began, becoming visibly emotional and stopping for a moment to gather his thoughts. After host Gaby Roslin offered a reassuring cuddle the Duke continued. 

“I remember squeezing Meghan’s hand so tight during the awards, both of us thinking what it would be like to be parents one day, and more so, what it would be like to do everything we could to protect or help our child, should they be born with immediate challenges or become unwell over time,” he said. 

WellChild provides care for critically ill children in their families. WellChild believes ‘every child, young person and family must have: the opportunity to be cared for at home whenever and wherever possible; access to high quality, appropriate care and services whatever their health needs; and involvement in all decisions regarding their care’.

WellChild services take a variety of forms, from providing a dedicated nurse to facilitate everything from the transition from hospital to home, to coordination of care amongst providers to providing specialised care to children and their families. Other services include garden and bedroom “makeovers” as well as cultivating a supportive community for all families experiencing paediatric health challenges.

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived and were greeted by WellChild representatives and then spent time chatting with award nominees and their families. Prior to his remarks Prince Harry presented the awards for “Most Inspirational 4 to 6 Years” to Lyla-Rose O’Donovan and Dexter Spence.

Awards were presented in many categories including “Most Inspirational 7 to 10 Years”, “Most Inspirational Young Person 11 to 14 Years”, “Most Inspirational 15 to 18 Years”, “Most Caring Young Person”, “Youth Services Award”, and “Outstanding Professional”, along with recognition for the 2019 doctor and nurse of the year.

Dexter, William and Mia won awards on the night; Mia was told she’d never walk or talk, but has actively campaigned on issues such as disabled access to children’s parks. She is a member of the Welsh Youth Parliament.

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Lyla-Rose O’Donovan, aged six, has undergone multiple surgeries for a life threatening brain tumour, and won the Inspirational Child Award. Harry listened as her father, Paul, told them how her ongoing condition often leaves her with extreme fatigue. “You’re so brave,” he said.

16-year-old William Jones helps care for his younger brother, James, who requires help with his medication and feeding.

Dexter, 6, was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2018, and he became known at the hospital for arriving dressed as a superhero and his positive spirit.

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During the event, Meghan revealed baby Archie has already attended his first playgroup session: “I just took Archie for his first [playgroup] class. It was a lot of fun. He loved it.”

Prince Harry also confirmed Archie has inherited his ginger locks – after much speculation from royal fans – as he revealed you can “see it in his eyebrows”.

]The WellChild Awards has been fixture on the Duke’s schedule for 11 years now. Tonight, however, the ceremony clearly had a deeper meaning for the new father, and it was visible to all present just how special an evening it was.

baby Archie was clearly on his father’s mind at the WellChilld awards. i-Images / Pool

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