Tonight Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attended their first evening reception together since getting engaged; the couple were special guests at the annual Endeavour Fund Awards ceremony at the historic Goldsmiths’ Hall in London, but Meghan’s part in the evening didn’t entirely go to plan…!
Arriving in the rain, the couple were met on the steps of Goldsmiths’ Hall by General Sir Nick Carter and Lorraine Heggessey from the Royal Foundation, and David Wiseman, Head of Armed Forces for the Royal Foundation.
Harry and Meghan first attended a pre-ceremony reception to meet award nominees, other participants, and supporters of the Endeavour Fund. The Royal Foundation’s Endeavour Fund supports military veterans who want to challenge themselves on their journey to recovering from physical, social, and psychological illnesses.
Speaking to one of the nominees, Cornelia Oosthuizen – an army officer who has also competed in the Invictus Games – Meghan was impressed: “Wow that’s amazing,” she said.
Meghan also took part in the ceremony, and handed out the second award for ‘Celebrating Excellence’. The audience giggled as last year’s winner, Neil Heritage, struggled to find the page with the winner’s name in it.
Meghan Markle steps in to lend a hand as one of the speakers at the Endeavour Fund Awards loses his notes at the podium – handling the mishap like a pro pic.twitter.com/9x0utU7WV8
— Sky News (@SkyNews) February 2, 2018
The bride-to-be said: “I’m truly privileged to be here.”
Prince Harry then took to the stage and told the nominees: “You guys are truly awesome. I’m continually amazed by the tenacity, fortitude and unshakeable humour displayed by the men and women who sign up to run races, cross oceans, climb mountains or take on challenges few would even contemplate.”
Every year, veterans push themselves through a series of sporting and adventure challenges, including Harry himself, and those who excel are nominated for one of three Endeavour Award categories:
1 – The Recognising Achievement Award: awarded to the individual who has best utilised their endeavour to promote and catalyse their recovery.
2 – The Celebrating Excellence Award: awarded to the individual who has endeavoured to achieve excellence in their chosen sport or adventure challenge.
3 – The Henry Worsley Award: awarded to the individual who has best inspired others through the demonstration of determination in the face of adversity, whilst endeavouring to support others with their recovery through sport or adventure challenge. This award is named in honour of a veteran who lost his life trying to cross the Antarctic alone and unsupported in an attempt to raise money for the Endeavour Fund.
The winners were: Recognising Achievement Award – Ben Lee, who undertook scuba diving challenges.
Celebrating Excellence Award – Daniel Claricoates, who climed mountains to overcome PTSD.
Henry Worsley Award – Sean Gane, who completed a dog sledding challenge in Sweden.
The Prince and American actress also posed for a photo with the winners.
Former Royal Marine Dan Fielding, 37, said having the royal couple attend the awards was “massive”.
“It’s lovely he’s brought his new fiancee with him,” said Mr Fielding; last year he captained a 2,000 mile voyage around the British Isles with a crew of 17 other veterans. “She talks so well, she’s so caring, so kind, so nice. She is very genuine, very natural.”
Harry’s attendance at tonight’s awards ceremony is demonstrable of his dedication to assisting military veterans, alongside his brother and sister-in-law, William and Kate. Since launching in 2012, the Endeavour Fund has helped 2,265 veterans, on 66 different projects, and has raised £2.5 million for other forces charities.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, meanwhile, spent the day in Oslo, ending it with a glamorous black-tie dinner; it was the third of a four-day trip to Scandinavia.