Thursday, 23 September 2021

"It's Wonderful to Be Back": The Sussexes Kick Off New York Visit

New York, New York... The Duke and Duchess of Sussex began the first of several days in the Big Apple with a visit to One World Observatory with Mayor Bill de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray, and Governor Kathy Hochul.

The visit marks the couple's first official in-person engagement since Lilibet was born in June. In fact, in terms of a live media event, I believe it's been eighteen months since their last -- the Commonwealth service in London during their March 2020 return to the UK. It had been reported both Harry and Meghan were incredibly eager to begin resuming appearances and meeting people on the ground in the US once pandemic restrictions permitted a return to normality. News of the couple's travel plans was shared earlier this week -- with word the Sussexes will join a host of well-known faces in Central Park on Saturday for Global Citizen's Live where they will continue their efforts in the fight for vaccine equity.

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The couple arrived shortly after 8 am. The Telegraph reports:

'They held hands as they walked around to the front of the building. Harry waved at a group of young women who screamed at him and shouted: "Harry!"

Earlier in the morning around 40 journalists and cameramen from major TV networks including NBC and ABC lined up at 6.45am to see the event.

One cameraman joked that when Meghan saw him she would "ditch Harry and go off with me - sorry buddy, it’s over!"

A young female TV reporter said she took the assignment because she "wanted to be in the presence of royalty".

A woman in her 20s, who declined to give her name, said she got up early to see Harry and Meghan. She said: ‘I think it’s great. I’m a big fan, I went to their wedding in Windsor. They’re doing great things, everything that’s said about them is all misconstrued’.

The Duke and Duchess were warmly welcomed by Governor Hochul, Mayor de Blasio, and his wife Chirlane and son Dante. I was interested to read Hochul is the first female Governor of New York. Among her achievements, she's a founder of Kathleen Mary House, a transitional home for victims of domestic violence, and co-founder of the Village Action Coalition.

Meghan and Gov Hochul.

When asked about returning to New York, Meghan replied, "It's wonderful to be back, thank you."

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Harry later described the visit as "fantastic".

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A video from the visit.

The One World Observatory is located on floors 100-102 of the One World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower, and is the focal point of the lower Manhattan skyline.

One World Trade Center is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center. It is the tallest building not only in the United States, but in the Western Hemisphere. 

The structure shares the same name as the North Tower of the original World Trade Center, which was destroyed during the 9/11 attacks. The center is home to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, located just south of where the Twin Towers stood. It officially opened in 2014. I remember reading about the development at the time as the process culminated over years - it's steeped in symbolic significance - the museum a place to never forget the atrocity that occurred on September 11, 2001, a place to honour those who lost their lives and to examine the impact for generations to come. 

The Mayor tweeted: "The tragedy of September 11 touched the entire world, and it's still felt today. We're honored to join Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, at One World Observatory."

The Observatory offers bird's-eye views of New York city (above 1,250 feet).

A view of Manhattan from the Observatory.

Admiring the incredible view.

Sky Pod elevators climb 102 stories in less than a minute. Home to an array of historical and cultural exhibitions and digital presentations, it's very much considered a superb way to enjoy a day in the city for all the family. Below, informed storytellers and innovative technology combine to create 'City Pulse', where visitors can explore human stories and destinations.

Harry and Meghan with Mayor de Blassio and First Lady McCray. The Mayor said the couple were "wonderful guests", adding "the work they are doing is so important to our whole country and our whole world".

I noticed Harry gave First Lady McCray a particularly warm hug. Chirlane McCray has been a powerful advocate for mental health reform, and was named a 2019 World Health Organisation champion. She created ThriveNYC, the most comprehensive mental health plan of any city or state in the nation, and serves as Co-Chair of the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity, whose mission is to "ensure New York City’s recovery from COVID-19 is rooted in fairness and justice". Chirlane has written throughout her life -- using poetry as an outlet for the racism and bullying she endured. After the event the First lady tweeted: "Enjoyed meeting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex today with Bill and Dante, ahead of Global Citizen Live NYC. Harry and Meghan’s advocacy for global vaccine equity and mental fitness is powerful and it helps!"

Dr Emma Guest-Consales joined the group this morning.

A thumbs up for excited fans from the Duchess.

Afterwards, the Duke and Duchess paid their respects at the 9/11 memorial.

Earlier this month, Harry and Meghan made a dedication on their Archewell website - listing the names of victims.

The Duchess wore a navy/black ensemble for the day with her hair pulled back in an updo. The Duchess wore a chic tailored coat with a rollneck sweater and trousers. It's been suggested Meghan's coat is Armani by multiple outlets. 

Meghan's Mirror suggests the Duchess wore a cashmere turtleneck top by The Row.

The Duchess accessorised with her Cartier Galanterie earrings. You might recall Meghan wore them on her wedding day.

And her Birks Snowflake ring (with many thanks to Laura).

It also appears Meghan's wearing Diana's Cartier Tank watch and love bracelet.

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Meghan sported her Aquazzurra Purist 105 pumps (with thanks to What Meghan Wore).

I'm sure this is a hugely exciting trip both professionally and personally for Harry and Meghan. The Duchess last visited two years ago to cheer on close friend Serena Williams in the US Open Final at Flushing Meadows, clad in a J Crew outfit. During the visit, People reported, "She joined a friend for a yoga class at one of her old haunts, Modo Yoga, in the West Village neighborhood. A source told the outlet, there were 'lots of knowing smiles' as she joined the class of sixty. 'She has been going to Modo Yoga for many years, and tries to do so whenever she is in New York. It was the perfect remedy for jet lag.'" Meghan loves New York. Indeed, a series of articles on The Tig were dedicated to 'A New York State of Mind'. So much has changed since those days -- and certainly since her visit in 2019.

Additionally, Prince Philip: The Royal Family Remembers aired on BBC One last night. Harry shared fond memories of his much-loved grandfather and thoughtful words on the relationship his grandparents shared. "The two of them together were just the most adorable couple. To me, knowing the cheekiness of him and knowing that behind what the world sees you have two individuals who were very much in love and both, from a very young age, have dedicated their life to service—that is an incredible bond between two people. From my grandmother's perspective, to have someone like that on your shoulder for 73 years of marriage — it doesn't get better than that."

I do expect we'll see the Duke and Duchess again before Saturday's event (possibly today). There have been discussions regarding the possibility of New York hosting the 2025 Invictus Games (with leading bids also from Seattle and Canada). It's also been announced Google has joined Harry's Travalyst initiative,  so I imagine there are meetings scheduled. Watch this space...


  1. Lovely to see them together. Also a very smart move on the part of Harry and Meghan to take some of the media frenzy away by giving everyone photos right away in a controlled setting with government security.

    1. What a great point! Of course their private security is there, but the NYC Mayor, NY Governor, and even the 9/11 memorial site itself all have intense security. I'm sure those were helpful added layers to make them feel more comfortable.
      Stephanie, Chicago

  2. Meghan looks amazing and they both look very happy! I'm glad to see them again.

  3. I am so confused by her outfit choice. It is 80 F in NYC today and so humid! She must be so uncomfortably hot in that full Fall/Winter ensemble.

    1. I agree, that’s the one thing that stuck out to me as I’m wearing shorts but…I did contemplate a light weight turtleneck last night.. maybe she’s just chilly.

    2. Or perhaps, since they seem to be indoors as well as travelling in cars, the air conditioning could make it somewhat chilly compared to temperatures outside. Light wool is both warming and cooling. That's often a difficulty in shoulder seasons in locations where fall humidity and temperatures remain high.

    3. She wears a different coat later to the UN, so maybe it is chilly in A/C. Maybe she feels she's not "camera perfect" yet and, sadly, does not want rude comments. My husband is reading the Daily Mail for another reason and wondered to me why they write such ugly things about Meghan.

    4. She’s probably chilly. Temperatures have been going up and down. Two straight days now the morning has been chilly when I drop
      off my kid. I live in NYC.

    5. Get ready for the front to move through tomorrow. It was officially autumn down here today. I wore jeans and a jacket for the first time this season. :) So lovely!

  4. This is pretty exciting and unexpected! I had not realized how tall the mayor is but he and his son make Harry look pretty tiny. Love Meghan in all black and look forward to the rest of the trip. I bet Meghan is really enjoying having Harry in NYC.

  5. This. This is the glow, and the work, that's been missing for a long time. Yes, welcome back Meghan and Harry. Excellent coverage, thank you! Beth.

  6. I should wait and write everything at once! I love the snowflake ring; did not know she had it. And the large diamond pinky ring again -- it must have special meaning for her to rewear it. I think Meghan has been in contact with the first lady and possibly the new governor, based on their shared interests and warmth showed. Meghan looks so happy that she could just burst! NYC is such a special place -- I lived there 40 years ago but still consider myself a New Yorker. (Glad they all put on masks.)

  7. Wonderful to see their return to public life begin in NYC. There is no city like it. Excellent choice in going to lower Manhattan to visit the 911 Memorial and Museum. The view from the observation deck can not be beat even on a cloudy day. Hopefully, their calendar is filled with catching up with friends as well before the Saturday event and returning home. Meghan's fashion statement is very NY looking but unfortunately, out of season. Today marks the first full day of fall but summer clothing still prevails through out the month with temperatures in high 70's and today 80. Regardless, they look fabulous and hope they will be returning often.

  8. So happy to see them back!

  9. Good to see them back. I watched the video. It must be gruelling to have all that press attention all the time. They are like animals in a zoo... (other royals too by the way, but to a lesser extent I think).
    Fashion wise Meghan might be a bit warmly dressed but it is a nice outfit. She also has really good make-up and lovely jewelry.

  10. Meghan looks amazing and it’s great to have them back!

  11. she looks gorgeous and they look so happy together thank you for sharing Charlotte and thanaks for sharing the documentary on HRH Prince Philip it was a delight to watch. I miss him. May he RIP.

  12. Sheryl from BC Canada23 September 2021 at 23:40

    So wonderful to see them out like this but after watching that video with all the media, camera clicks, shouts to move here, move there...I really feel for them. We normally get the edited close ups. Prince Harry seemed to look a bit strained and who could blame him considering he's spoken more than once about paparazzi, camera clicks etc, triggering him. It was nice to hear that they were meeting up with friends for dinners and hopefully they will be able to fit some quiet time in with more. As for wearing the coat, I sure recognize that feeling, at 3 months post partum of wanting a bit of cloth to be loose in front of me. She gets ripped apart by the gutter press no matter what she wears, why wave a red flag in front of them. Smart move Duchess. :)

  13. So excited to see them again! NYC and this particular engagement feel appropriate for their first step back into live public events. I lived in New York for a while after college and always miss it a bit! I’m sure Meghan is enjoying being back, this time with Harry.

  14. Is it me? Or do the Duke and Duchess look sad in the eyes? Usually they seem more upright in spirit. Meghan's face is very expressive. But this time not so much.
    It was nice to see them out and about.

  15. Loving this! Love that they're back to work, love that this made it clear to everyone on both sides of the Atlantic ocean that you don't need HRH titles to rub elbows and work with dignitaries and representatives when you are among the most influential people in the world and I love that it's fresh, modern interracial power couples and multiracial influential people as well as activist galore over here (it's a bummer that Chiara De Blasio couldn't be there too though - I love her!).


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