Thursday, 1 July 2021

"I Could Not Be Prouder to Be Here": Prince Harry Celebrates WellChild Community

It was a very special afternoon at Kew Gardens in London as Prince Harry joined a number of inspirational families and inspiring professionals to celebrate their courage and resilience at this year's WellChild Awards. Those of us who have followed Harry for some time know just how close the organisation is to his heart. As he knew he would be returning to the UK for the unveiling of a statue at Kensington Palace celebrating Diana, he was obviously eager to spend time with the charity, too.

Due to the pandemic, the event looked quite different to previous awards, with organisers ensuring covid-19 guidelines were closely followed to protect all participants. Harry has been isolating at his Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage, since last Friday, and following a negative test was able to attend in line with government guidance.

In a speech, Prince Harry shared the role fatherhood has played in his ever-growing appreciation of WellChild. "Since becoming patron of WellChild in 2007, this organisation and the people within it have held an extraordinarily special place in my heart. 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."

Harry continued: "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."

It was particularly special to see this video of Harry interacting with families and award winners. It was an event filled with smiles, laughs, warm moments and celebrating those who most deserve it.

A number of well-known faces attended, including Ed Sheeran and Anne-Marie. Hello! reports Ed congratulated Harry on the arrival of baby Lilibet. "Congratulations, a girl right?" asked Ed. "We just had a little girl ten months ago now. You're still in the trenches now! How do you manage with two." Harry replied, "We've been lucky so far. She's very chilled and seems happy to just sit there while Archie is running around like crazy."

Below, Anne-Marie performs a selection of her hits, including 'Rockabye'.

Hello!'s editor-in-chief Rosie Nixon attended in her capacity as a WellChild judge. Describing attending as a "proud moment", the popular author added, "I was a judge again this year and can honestly say it’s one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had - all of the children, families and nursing staff nominated have shown incredible resilience, courage and kindness against the odds - so thanks, Prince Harry, for giving us such an impossible task!" Below, Harry with Rosie and the Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood and his wife Sally.

Rosie Nixon shared a very touching story from the awards. The Inspirational Child winner Carmela, who has raised over £50 for charity by completing sporting challenges, told her she was naming her Teddy "Prince Harry II". The Prince told her she's "amazing". Harry also spoke to Carmela's parents about his late grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh (the late Duke was patron of Muscular Dystrophy UK which Carmela raised funds for). Harry replied, "He had a great innings. He was 99 and he was adamant that he never wanted to live to 100."  Afterwards Carmela wrote: "Thank you so much for one of my best days ever. It was so awesome to meet so many fantastic people. I had an awesome time." If you would like to support an amazing little girl, please click here to visit her JustGiving page.


More on Carmela's fundraising efforts:
'Carmela has to carry out physical therapy exercises daily to help reduce joint and muscle pain and discomfort as her condition weakens every muscle in her body. It also helps her stay mobile for as long as possible until she is unable to walk and use her arms independently.

But with lockdown, her usual physical classes are cancelled and having no school is a big reduction in her therapy to help keep joint contractures and extreme fatigue at bay. 

With this in mind, we have come up with a challenge to help keep her daily physio different, fun and motivating and knowing there are many others out there like Carmela who rely on regular gentle exercises, we thought you would like to join Carmela who will be sharing a different gentle physical therapy exercise everyday for 100 days.

This challenge we are hoping to raise vital funds for medical research in to Carmela's life limiting progressive muscle wasting condition called LMNA-Congenital Muscular Dystrophy which only affects around 1 in every million!!!.'

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's statue unveiling, Harry said he is "so glad" they can do it on what would have been her birthday.

Hello! reports:

'Luke Fisher, winner of the Inspirational Young Person 15-18 Years Award, had Harry in stitches as he joked that he'd kept him waiting then quizzed him on his favourite sports and whether he knew the game Kabaddi. "My favourite sport to watch is probably rugby," Harry told him.

Harry also shared his tips on dealing with anxiety with Anzah Arwani, winner of the inspirational Child 7-11 years, after hearing how she had overcome anxiety attacks to address an audience of 100 people.

He told Anzah, who has complex neurological disorders: "You are amazing, you have achieved so much." Mum Naureen said: "He was telling her to always speak up, always fight, don't keep it inside and to take her time."

WellChild Chief Executive, Colin Dyer said, “There are more children and young people than ever before in the UK living with long-term, serious health needs. The Coronavirus outbreak has placed these children and families under more pressure than many of us can comprehend. The WellChild Awards 2021, in association with GSK, will be a unique opportunity to recognise and highlight the immense challenges they have faced and to celebrate the remarkable positivity, resilience and spirit they have demonstrated. It will also help us to shine a light on the dedication of those around them, from siblings, professionals and volunteers who have gone above and beyond to help them through such challenging times.”

The WellChild Awards celebrate the inspirational qualities of some of the country’s seriously ill young people and the dedication of those who go the extra mile to keep children healthy and happy, including the outstanding health, social care and education professionals. The Awards play a huge part in highlighting what these families need, and the support that is desperately required to meet the ever-increasing demand.


WellChild was one of the organisations Harry was most excited to introduce Meghan to as they began their life together. In 2018, just months after their wedding, the Duchess joined Harry for the awards. The couple enjoyed meeting McKenzie from Fife. Afterwards, his mum Amy said of the royal meeting: "It was amazing. They were so lovely. They knew McKenzie was scared of the cameras and they said they didn’t like the cameras either so they turned around. They said he was amazing and to keep going the way he is going and told him to look after me. He’s never going to forget this, even though he’s only four."


A memorable photo of Meghan congratulating twelve-year-old Jake who has spinal muscular atrophy. Despite years of being told he couldn’t audition for theatre roles because of his disability, he didn’t give up and landed the lead role in Tom Fletcher’s The Christmasaurus.


In 2019, the Duke and Duchess attended the awards when Archie was four months old. 

As Harry delivered his speech, he became emotional speaking about becoming a father. Of course, those words have additional significance now: "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 - 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."

As Harry looks to tomorrow's unveiling in honour of his mother, he shared a special message in support of Diana Award honorees. "Our mum believed that young people have the power to change the world. She believed in your strength because she saw it day in and day out and in the faces of young people exactly like you, she witnessed a boundless enthusiasm and passion. Meg and I fundamentally believe that our world is at the cusp of change, real change for the good of all."

I'll see you for the unveiling tomorrow afternoon.

16 comments:

  1. Susan in Florida1 July 2021 at 01:16

    Thank you for covering this event , Charlotte ! It’s nice to see Harry and his love for children.

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  2. I completely agree! I love hearing about Harry as well as Meghan. Thank you for all of the time and effort you put into the blog!

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  3. I love him. He looks relaxed and happy

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    1. Don’t you just bluhare? I love him too! I’m so glad to see Harry in his element with children, I’m sure that he’ll be the best daddy he can be!

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  4. Thank you for your lovely coverage, Charlotte. It's great to see Harry looking so relaxed and happy. His charming charisma will always be who he is. He is the best of the Royal family. It's so sad they couldn't handle the light that he and Meghan were. It's great to see his devotion to these children and families.

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  5. What a wonderful day for all! So glad to have this report, Charlotte. Thank you.

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  6. It's so nice to see Harry doing what he does and continue to do. To provide an afternoon of joy is a great gift. I'm so glad he was able to do this while in the UK -- I don't know the ages of people who can receive the vaccine but all ages have been eligible for some time now in the US, so I hope Harry is fully vaccinated. I got a kick out of "chill Lili," but I think I remember that Archie was a calm baby, so maybe the lull is temporary! Thank you for posting this, Charlotte!

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  7. Thank you Charlotte for sharing with us these moments that you know how to detail and analyze so well.
    Harry is so charismatic that it is easy to join them and accompany them in these scourges which plague our world. He is radiant!

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  8. I'm so glad to find you reported this event, Charlotte. Thank you. Good for Harry!

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  9. Thank you Charlotte for covering this. It’s lovely to see the continuation of WellChild’s important work and Harry back in the UK. Families, especially ones with children with special needs, have faced significant obstacles and challenges during this pandemic with the lockdowns and reduced in-person educational, health and social services this past year. This in-person event is a much needed morale booster.
    - Maddie

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  10. Interesting that there’s no debate here about the lack of mask around sick children...

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  11. nice to see harry doing the work he loves in the uk being so happy

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  12. @8:11 It wasn't a random crowd. Each group appears to be a family "bubble." One can assume everyone, including guests, is vaccinated and tested. The whole event is outdoors, and everyone, including Harry speaking to each bubble is maintaining proper distancing. The introducer seems to maintain more than necessary distancing. I think some of us would still feel more comfortable, I suppose, if there was some masking, but it seems to me the arrangements are impeccable.

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  13. Unfortunately with these new more transmissable variants you can still catch the virus even if you have been innoculated. You may not have really severe symptoms but you can still pass it on to the vulnerable. My husband and I have had two doses of the Pfizer vaccine but are now being told we may have to have a third booster shot. And remember every person at the Trump Rose Garden ceremony had been tested but a large number became infected.

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