While Prince Harry has attended the WellChild awards — which honors children dealing with serious illnesses, as well as their caretakers — since 2007, the Duke of Sussex choked back tears as he explained how the event means even more to him now that he is a father.
Prince Harry has long shown his support for WellChild, and frequently meets with many of the sick children and their caretakers, nurses, researchers and volunteers. Every year at the annual WellChild awards, he has taken time to meet each winner and listen to their stories. When his wife, Meghan Markle, gave birth to their first child, Archie, WellChild was one of the four charities the couple asked the public to donate to instead of sending gifts to the family.
On Tuesday, Harry struggled to fight back his tears and took a moment to regain his composure, as he told the crowd that since becoming a father, the stories of the award winners have touched him in a completely different way.
WATCH: Harry is overcome by emotion during his speech at the @WellChild Awards. “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... pic.twitter.com/tXRtxZRZ7k
— Emily Nash (@emynash) October 15, 2019
"It has been over a decade since I first came to these awards and every year, they never fail to surprise and inspire me. Yet this year, it resonates in a different way, because now I'm a father. 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," Harry said, his voice breaking as he choked up with tears.
After the host, Gaby Roslin, stepped in to pat him on the back and the crowd encouraged him on with applauds, he 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 and help our child should they be born with immediate challenges or become unwell over time," Prince Harry said. "And now, as parents, being here and speaking to all of you, it pulls at my heartstrings in a way I could have never understood until I had a child of my own."
The poignant speech from the father of five-month-old Archie has touched many on social media.
So moving! I can't imagine what these parents go through! These guys are so strong to go through this and with such positive attitudes 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼❤❤❤
— She Eva (@EvaEvansshine2) October 15, 2019
I knew in retrospect it had to be very meeaningful for them both, given the special news they held close. He expressed it all so beautifully.
These families no doubt pull strength they didn't know they had. Love and committment. @WellChild great job.
— zodiac1028 (@zodiac1028) October 15, 2019
Bless him. I know exactly what he means, having children changes your perspective so much and opens you up to such love and through that, fear.
— Marie (@CariadMarie) October 15, 2019
Powerful and touching words indeed. Every parent could relate to those feelings of unknown when you’re respecting.
— Chimchim (@Tigerlilyujarra) October 15, 2019
Meghan, who attended the awards for the first time last year, met with this year's winners alongside her husband. Among them was 11-year-old Milly Sutherland, who was awarded “Most Caring Young Person” for caring for her late sister, Sophie, who had Aicardi syndrome. The royal couple joked with Milly and her mother, Angela, and at one point, Milly pulled a strand of her red hair, telling the Duke, "Snap."
According to Hello! magazine, Harry joked about his own thinning hair, asking, "Can I borrow some?"
The mother and daughter asked if Archie took after his father and would be growing some red locks of his own.
Harry and Meghan also confirmed that Archie has red hair. Harry said you can ‘see it in his eyebrows’!
(Many thanks @emynash who is keeping the home fires burning!)
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) October 15, 2019
“Meghan said he has and Harry said he definitely is — you can see it in his eyebrows,” Angela said, according to People. “Harry said he’d had no hair for five months, but Meghan told him she had taken him to the playgroup and she said there were other children there with the same amount of hair or even less.”
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