Meghan in Victoria Beckham Dress and Harry are back in the UK, and this evening, they’re attending the Endeavour Fund Awards 2020, marking their first joint appearance since the announcement of them stepping down as senior royals in January!
It is the start of the couple’s so-called ‘farewell tour’ before they begin their new lives as private citizens from April 1. Harry traveled from Canada to the UK last week to carry on several engagements including a working summit in Scotland for his new sustainable tourism initiative, Travalyst. Harry also teamed up with Jon Bon Jovi to record a song at the iconic Abbey Road studios to aid the Invictus Games. On Sunday at Windsor Castle, Harry also attended a four-hour-long ‘rift-healing’ talks with Her Majesty The Queen ahead of his and Meghan’s last official royal engagement.
It is so nice to see them again!
According to a source close to Meghan and Harry, the Sussexes are in “great form.” Both feel “positive and excited” at what the future holds, even though events have been somewhat overwhelming since they made their shock announcement in January to step back as working royals and base themselves mainly in North America. It is said that they remain “1,000% committed” to their patronages. In the past couple of days, they have had private meetings with organizations they are involved with and with their staff. After 31 March, this team of 15 – currently based at Buckingham Palace – will either be made redundant or redeployed.
There are still many unanswered questions associated with them stepping back, but what we know is: They will no longer hold an office at Buckingham Palace and will instead be represented by their UK charity foundation team. They will also split their time between the UK and North America, and Harry and Meghan will keep their HRH titles but will not actively use them. They will continue to be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the Earl and Countess of Dumbarton, and the Baron and Baroness Kilkeel.
Tonight’s event is taking place at the Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London. Built between the years of 1739 and 1752, the house is used for some of the City of London’s official functions, including two annual white-tie dinners. At the Easter banquet, the main speaker is the Foreign Secretary, who then receives a reply from the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, i.e. the longest-serving ambassador.
The Endeavour Fund was established by Prince Harry when he was patron of the Royal Foundation – the primary philanthropic and charitable vehicle for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and previously Harry and Meghan. The event has been an annual thing for the couple attending the awards for the last three years. It’s a very fitting event for Harry and Meghan to attend: Helping wounded veterans and the active service member is a passion of Harry’s. He founded the Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style event for wounded veterans. At the Invictus Games in Toronto which were held in September 2017, Meghan and Harry made their debut as a couple during a wheelchair tennis match.
The Endeavour Fund Awards are an annual ceremony thrown to celebrate the achievements of wounded and sick servicemen and women who have participated in sporting and adventure challenges to aid their recovery in the past year. Since its launch in 2012, it has supported 66 different projects that have directly assisted over 2,265 individuals. Through their own fundraising, the participants have also collectively raised over £2.5 million for other forces charities.
Meghan and Harry attended a pre-ceremony reception ahead of the awards where they met the nominees, as well as Endeavour participants and key supporters of the Endeavour Fund. Stealing all the focus arriving, Harry quickly put the focus back on the servicemen and servicewomen who have spent the past year taking part in remarkable sporting and adventure challenges. “This is all about you guys!” he told wife of rowing marine Lee Spencer, Claire, during the reception.
Below a video from the reception
The couple signed the guest book before taking their seats inside the hall.
The it was time for the awards. Meghan and Harry were left open-mouthed when the ceremony’s first winner, Danny Holland, was given the Recognizing Achievement Award for his success as a driver for “Mission Motorsport.” Holland, who has overcome mental health issues after being injured in an IED explosion in Afghanistan, got down on bended knee as he asked his “missus” for her hand in marriage. Both Harry and Meghan got up to cheer as the audience applauded.
She said YES!
Watch Meghan’s reaction below
Both Meghan and Harry handed out awards at the annual ceremony, which was hosted by former Invictus Games medalist JJ Chalmers. The duchess was first to announce the Celebrating Excellence prize, honoring Guinness World Record holder Lee Spencer, who became the world’s first physically disabled person to row from Europe to South America solo and unsupported. His wife, Claire accepted on his behalf.
“It’s very nice to be back,” Meghan said of her return to the U.K., adding that she and Harry carried out their judging commitments from their Canada home. “It’s the most inspiring space … so I will say when we were watching the videos all the way from Canada we were like, ‘Who are we going to choose?’”
Watch her speech below
Then it was Harry’s turn to present the Henry Worsley Award to veteran Tom Oates, who is overcoming severe PTSD to dedicate his life to helping others through deep therapy – a specially adapted scuba diving program for injured military personnel and former members of the British Armed Forces.
“Meghan and I are so happy to be back here with you, to celebrate each and every one of you for your achievements, your service, and your resilience. For some, the military community represents a brotherhood or sisterhood that no other organization can provide, and for others, it’s a way of life which you never want to leave. For a lot of us, it’s both. Being able to serve Queen and Country is something we all are rightly proud of, and it never leaves us. Once served, always serving!”
Harry also spoke about plans for the future: “The Endeavour Fund has grown into something far greater than I could ever have imagined. I firmly believe there is an even greater future ahead. Our ambition is to build on what has been achieved, to expand the Endeavour Fund further so that its impact can be felt around the world. For this reason, I am very pleased to announce that we are looking at opportunities – that’s all I can say for now – to create a much closer working relationship with the Invictus Games Foundation. More will be announced in due time but it’s been made possible thanks to the generous support of some specific people.”
Below, the awards in their entirety
It has been raining all day today, so I just loved this “I’m going out with a bang” energy that Meghan gave us all us wearing a vibrant turquoise blue Victoria Beckham crepe midi dress.
It’s a historic moment, and an image that will be beamed around the world, and Meghan wearing Victoria Beckham shows that she wanted to make it a memorable one, in a British designer no less.
Meghan styled the Victoria Beckham dress with her trusted Manolo Blahnik BB heels in navy suede.
She carried a custom Stella McCartney Lucia marble plexi clutch in blue. The style is originally from the 2013 collection
She accessorized it with a Jessica McCormack Chi Chi Rose Gold bracelet.
In other news, we also saw Meghan and Harry earlier today leaving the Goring Hotel. This hotel in particular is a favorite among royals with Kate Middleton having stayed there the night before her wedding to Prince William back in 2011. It is believed today’s luncheon may have been a catch-up with close friends or perhaps a meeting related to their work.
Meghan was pictured wearing the Alex Eagle Dark Camel Wrap Coat
She styled it with the Aquazzura Mae Pearl Pumps
And carried the Loewe ‘Postal’ Black Bag
Stay tuned for Saturday evening where we will the Sussexes for the Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall.