(LONDON) — Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, made their first joint appearance since their South Africa tour to attend the WellChild Awards, an awards ceremony for kids with serious illnesses and their caregivers.
Harry and Meghan met one-on-one with three of the night’s winners, a 16-year-old boy who cares for his younger brother, a 12-year-old girl with cerebral palsy and a 6-year-old boy diagnosed with leukemia last year.
While talking to the 12-year-old girl, Milly Sutherland, Harry bonded with her over both being redheads while Meghan shared that she had just taken the couple’s 5-month-old son Archie to his first playgroup.
“I just took Archie for his first class,” Meghan said, according to ABC News royal contributor Omid Scobie. “It was a lot of fun. He loved it.”
Harry is patron of WellChild, which describes itself as the “national UK children’s charity helping to get seriously ill children and young people out of hospital and home to their families.”
The Duke of Sussex delivered a poignant speech in which he said attending the event and meeting the families “pulls at my heart strings in a way I could have never understood until I had a child of my own.”
“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. “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 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 heart strings in a way I could have never understood until I had a child of my own,” he said.
The WellChild Awards is the first time the couple has appeared together in public since the news broke last week that Harry started legal action against several British tabloids with regard to “the illegal interception of voicemail messages.”
A few days before that it was confirmed that Harry and Meghan are also taking legal action against another British tabloid, the Mail on Sunday, for what they allege was an invasion of privacy.
“There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face — as so many of you can relate to — I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been,” Harry said in announcing the legal action, adding later in the statement, “I have been a silent witness to [Meghan’s] private suffering for too long. To stand back and do nothing would be contrary to everything we believe in.”
The legal action against the Mail on Sunday was confirmed on Oct. 1, just as Harry and Meghan wrapped up their tour of South Africa.
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