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Victoria Jones/WPA Pool/Getty Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at WellChild Awards in 2018
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are returning to Europe next week, where they're set to attend the WellChild Awards on Sept. 8. Prince Harry, 37, has been a patron of the organization that works to support seriously ill children and their families since 2007, and Meghan, 41, joined him at the annual awards in 2018 and 2019.
At the 2019 awards, Prince Harry and Meghan attended for the first time as parents themselves, having welcomed son Archie Harrison, now 3, earlier that year. Harry revealed in his speech that they knew Meghan was pregnant during their visit the previous year (they had yet to publicly share their news), making their visit even more emotional.
VICTORIA JONES/AFP via Getty Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at WellChild Awards in 2018
"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…" he said before his voice trailed off as tears welled up in his eyes.
The prince then put his head down and momentarily paused to collect himself as the crowd supportively applauded him.
"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 went on. "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."
"And now, as parents, being here and speaking to all of you pulls at my heartstrings in a way I could have never understood until I had a child of my own," Harry added.
— WellChild (@WellChild) October 15, 2019
Prince Harry continued to support WellChild from California after the family's move in 2020. The Duke of Sussex made a surprise video call to representatives and some deserving kids from the organization in Dec. 2020.
"You know who you are and don't pretend to be anybody else and because of that you inspire every single nurse, every single caregiver, every single mum, every single dad, every single sibling," Harry told them on the call. "You inspire every single day."
Today our Patron The Duke of Sussex met 2021 WellChild Award winners at a garden party @kewgardens. The #WellChildAwards, in association with @gsk, looked different this year as we ensured attendees remained safe in line with #COVID guidelines. See some of our favourite photos. pic.twitter.com/nzzwa3NXk0
— WellChild (@WellChild) June 30, 2021
In June 2021, shortly after the birth of daughter Lilibet Diana, Prince Harry attended the WellChild Awards at a private garden party at Kew Gardens in London, where he caught up with pal Ed Sheeran in addition to meeting with the recipients. To keep the event safe for attendees amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the awards were held outdoors.
"Since becoming patron of WellChild in 2007, this organisation and the people within it have held an extraordinarily special place in my heart," he said in a statement. "I wasn't a father at the time, and yet the stories of these children and parents transcended that. I didn't need to be a dad to feel the impact of this invaluable work. Now as a father of two, I feel all the more connected, inspired and in awe of the resilience of these families, who power through indescribable challenges with the support of WellChild."
He added, "The health of our children, of all of us, could not have been more on the forefront of our minds during the past year. And, throughout this time, the WellChild community has set an example for how to show up and act with compassion for each other. I could not be prouder to be here, to meet this year's WellChild Award winners, to thank the nurses and doctors for all they do, and to celebrate these amazing families."
Pool/Anwar Hussein Collection/WireImage Prince Harry at WellChild Awards in 2007
In addition to the WellChild Awards, Prince Harry and Meghan will also visit other charities close to their hearts during their visit to the U.K. and Germany. On Monday, the couple will attend the One Young World Summit in Manchester. Meghan has a longstanding tie to One Young World and took part in the 2014 and 2016 summits as a counselor. In 2019, before she and Harry stepped back from their roles as working members of the royal family, she attended the 2019 summit alongside Harry. Meghan, who thanked attendees for "letting him crash the party," spoke in a roundtable discussion about gender equality.
On Sept. 6, the couple will travel from Britain to Dusseldorf, Germany to kick off the one-year countdown for next year's Invictus Games, Harry's international adaptive sports competition for injured, sick and wounded servicemen and women.
TOBY MELVILLE/POOL/AFP/Getty Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at the WellChild Awards in 2019
Prince Harry and Meghan were last in the U.K. in June to help celebrate Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee. During their visit, they introduced their daughter Lilibet to the monarch and her grandfather Prince Charles for the first time. Charles, 73, was said to be overjoyed — in what a source called an "emotional" visit — to also see his grandson Archie.