WellChild was one of the four charities chosen by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to benefit from the generous donations made by the public after the birth of their son, Archie

By Erin Hill
October 15, 2019 12:13 PM
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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepped out together on Tuesday for their first joint outing since returning from their recent royal tour in Africa.

The annual WellChild Awards, one of the annual highlights of the couple’s calendar, honors gravely ill children and their caregivers, and is one of the couple’s most emotional events of the year.

In a poignant speech, Harry shared how the couple felt attending last year’s awards as expectant parents.

“Last year when my wife and I attended we knew we were expecting our first child — no one else did at the time, but we did — and 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,” he said. “And more so, what it would be like to do everything we could to protect and help our child should they be born with immediate challenges or become unwell over time.”

He continued, “And now, as parents, being here and speaking to all of you pulls at my heart strings in a way I could have never understood until I had a child of my own.”

The WellChild Awards celebrate the inspiring qualities of some of the U.K.’s seriously ill young people and the dedication of those who go the extra mile to keep children healthy and happy, including the outstanding health, social care and education professionals.

The couple, who are parents to 5-month-old son Archie, arrived at the event together hand-in-hand. Meghan wore her fitted dark green dress with bow detail (the same P.A.R.O.S.H. dress she wore to announce her engagement to Harry in 2017) under a long wool camel coat by Sentaler.

Meghan, Harry
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
| Credit: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty

The duo attended a pre-ceremony reception, where they met the young winners of each award category and their families and the nominated healthcare professionals.

They also shared a touching moment with a young girl who wore a tiara for the special occasion.

Harry, 35, has been patron of WellChild since 2007, and Meghan, 38, attended the awards for the first time last year. WellChild was also one of the four charities chosen by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to benefit from the generous donations made by the public on the occasion of the birth of their son.

Meghan, Harry
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Speaking at the awards in 2017, Harry explained: “These awards were created to shine a bright light on an amazingly brave group of children and young people, on their lives, and on the resolve they and their families have shown to overcome challenges. Life for families caring for seriously ill children is exceptionally tough. And without WellChild it is even tougher.”

More than 100,000 children and young people in the U.K. are living with serious or exceptional health needs, and many spend years in the hospital because there is no support enabling them to leave. Meanwhile, those who are at home face inconsistent and inadequate levels of support.

Meghan and Harry’s outing comes on a busy day for the royal family. Queen Elizabeth and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall also stepped out together for a joint outing to mark the 750th anniversary of Westminster Abbey. Kate Middleton and Prince William have also embarked on the first full day of their royal tour in Pakistan.