Meghan and Harry spent their evening meeting some of the most heroic children in the UK at the WellChild Awards at The Royal Lancaster Hotel.
Harry has been a patron of the organization for eleven years, with the evening marking Meghan’s first time attending. It’s well-known that this charity is very close to Harry’s heart which made it the perfect opportunity to bring Meghan with him.
Speaking at the 2017 WellChild Awards, Harry said: “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.
Harry and Meghan attended a pre-awards reception, meeting winners and their families – an occasion where Harry regularly doles out his trademark hugs and charms the room of caregivers, families, and friends with his close attention to their individual stories.
They met 7-year-old Matilda – who has spina bifida and is paralyzed from the chest down — and who greeted the royal couple with a big smile.
Meghan gave Matilda a rose from a bouquet the youngster had just handed to her, while Harry made a “pinky pledge” with Matilda by hooking his little finger around hers.
Meghan and Harry also met 4-year-old Mckenzie, who learned to speak, swallow, eat, drink and move again following a virus, which left him paralyzed.
They also met with 16-year old Cameron who was born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy that kept him in the hospital for much of the first three years of his life
They also met Evie Toombes who was born with spina bifida. She blogs and mentors’ young people with health problems to encourage them.
“Appearing on ITV’s lunchtime news programme, she told presenter Alastair Stewart: ‘I think it’s fantastic that they’re the younger royals and they’re involved, and of course it gets a lot more press involved and a lot more attention around it.
‘But it was also wonderful because we got to meet them and they had so much time for everyone. They went and spoke to every single one of the award winners, so it was fantastic to do that.’
The young athlete added that the pair had taken an interest in the children’s book she’s written about disability.
‘Meghan had a really good flick through because she sat really close to me and they seemed really interested by it, and they did take it with them, so that’s always a good sign,’ she explained.
Among the winners was also Scarlett Mathison, who cares for her 13-year-old big sister Freya, who has cerebral palsy and a range of serious health complications. From preparing her sister’s feeding pump to adjusting her bed and giving medicines, Scarlett’s parents said their daughter “is amazing” with Freya.
The duo went on to share smiles with Chloe who was born with cerebral palsy that left her unable to walk. In 2014, she became the first disabled child to pass the pre-primary ballet award at the Royal Academy of Dance, Scobie reports.
During the award Harry delivered a speech and presented the award for Most Inspirational Child. This year, it will go to teenager Jacob Granger, who has given up much of his own childhood to care for his younger sister, Melissa.
Prince Harry’s speech:
During his speech Harry gave the Meghan a shoutout for joining him in his work supporting the charity, saying he’s “especially grateful to be able to share the scope and magnitude of this work with my wife, who joins me here this evening.”
Prinse Harry’s speech:
“The stories that we’ve all just heard – of resilience, strength of spirit, and the power of working together – were without doubt, incredibly moving and motivating. They really sum up what WellChild is all about – giving families the best chance to care for their children at home, and supporting them through the reality of all that that entails.
I would like to thank all the families here this evening. The mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, and many other family members who are devoted to their children and are giving them the best care possible. You are such fierce advocates for your children and in doing everything in your power to give your family the best chance at a happy life. It is quite simply amazing.
I would also like to pay tribute to the devoted nurses and volunteers across the UK who help give children and young people living with serious illness or exceptional health needs – a chance to be cared for at home instead of hospital.
And I want to acknowledge the young people who have been dealt the toughest cards imaginable – but who persevere, rise above, and set the example of living life to the fullest. In fact you are often the ones who lift us up – your ‘can-do’ attitude and unwavering spirit serves as a constant reminder that we must always look to the positive and never give up.
For the past 40 years, WellChild has been identifying issues and finding long-lasting solutions so that families can care for and support their children at home in the very best possible way. I have been a patron of the organization for 11 years now, and this year I am especially grateful to be able to share the scope and magnitude of this work with my wife, who joins me here this evening.
The tremendous work of WellChild is ever evolving, and earlier this year WellChild published their new strategy to address priorities to keep up with the needs of young patients and their families. From developing new national standards, and establishing new training centres, to developing new digital tools – WellChild is paving the way for the best in care for children and their families.
Scarlett, who has been sitting next to me while we have been watching these remarkably inspirational stories this evening, is an absolutely perfect example of exactly that why training for families is so incredibly important.
At 10 years old, she plays a key role in caring for her sister Freya – and I know that there have been occasions when she has taken the lead in managing Freya’s feeding and oxygen when helping her Grandmother on the very rare occasions when her parents have taken a few much-needed hours for themselves.
Caring for children with serious health needs is demanding, I don’t need to tell the people in this room that. It’s exhausting and difficult.
Lack of training is a huge barrier to leaving hospital for many families who spend months and months wanting to go home. In most areas of the UK, only very brief training is available and doesn’t always include potentially life-saving crisis interventions. That means that a large group of isolated, partially or un-trained parents and families are having to provide 24-hour, often invasive, care to their children – they deserve our support. And that’s where WellChild comes in.
We are about to transform training for these parents, and have already started creating new training centres designed to make parents more confident and competent in the critical care of their children. We are exploring the development of new digital tools to better empower families in the care of their children at home and we are developing new national standards for the training of parents, carers and families.
Not only will this work help solve the practical concerns, it will also address many of the emotionally challenging issues that come with a life spent fighting for your child without the opportunities for respite and relaxation that most of us take for granted.”
Meghan and Harry took a photo with the winners!
And congratulated them on stage
A video from the night:
I loved Meghans that Meghan chose to go for trousers that night. She looked unsurprisingly chic
Her suit was from Altuzarra. Her blazer was the Altuzarra Black ‘Acacia’ Blazer
And the trousers were the matching the Altuzarra Black ‘Serge’ Trousers
Her blouse was the Deitas “Coco” Camisole in Black Shantung
She wore her beloved black Aquazzura ‘Simply Irresistible’ 105 Pumps
She carried a Stella McCartney “Falabella – Shaggy Deer” crossbody in Black/Gold Hardware
And accessorized it with a pair of diamond and pearl studs, a gift from the Queen