Friday 24 September 2021

It's Hugs & Reading During Harlem School Visit & A $25K Donation to Local Restaurant

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are kicking off their second day in New York with a visit to P.S. 123 Mahalia Jackson School in Harlem to promote early literacy and encourage children to expand their reading skills.

It's been a whirlwind stop in New York for the couple who enjoyed a packed day yesterday. They joined Mayor Bill de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray, and Governor Kathy Hochul for a visit to One World Observatory before paying their respects at the 9/11 Memorial. From there, they joined leaders including World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; Director Loyce Pace from the Office of Global Affairs, US Department of Health and Human Services; Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI (the vaccine alliance); Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former president of Liberia; and Chelsea Clinton to discuss global vaccine equity.

As part of Archewell's partnership with Procter & Gamble, the Duke and Duchess donated a washing machine and dryer for the school, along with two large boxes filled with fruit, vegetables and herbs in support of the school's ongoing need for fresh food. They also donated health and hygiene products for the school's families.

Additionally, they donated a number of books to Graham Windham locations across New York. The charity's history in the city dates back to 1806, when several women including Isabella Graham and Eliza Hamilton (among America’s earliest philanthropists) opened New York City’s first private orphanage, which endures today as Graham Windham. They run a raft of programmes supporting fostering and youth mentorship, and operate a school.

Harry and Meghan were joined by New York City Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter. 

Asked about the visit, Harry said, "It's great to be back. We love New York."

As the couple walked in, one little girl was so excited to see Meghan she was in tears. The Duchess responded with a big hug.

The Duchess talked to teachers and said, "Come and meet my husband."

Meghan sat down to read The Bench to a group of children (with Harry joining the audience) and told them, "I wrote this when we just had our little boy, and I haven't read it to any other kids but you." She added that she dedicated the book to the "man and the boy who make my heart go pump pump" because that's how Archie refers to how the heart works. Meghan explained the book's inception and concept to the children: "The idea of representation -- 'That looks like me!' -- I wanted everyone to be included in this book. The idea of The Bench is it doesn't have to be a bench. It could be a chair, it could be any place -- just a special place where you feel comfortable. It's about finding that special place for you that's in your heart."

One retired teacher present said, "Harry would have made an excellent teacher."

There were plenty of moments like this :)

The Washington Post reports:

'The hourlong visit to PS 123, which in part serves shelters for families without permanent homes, was one of several stops so far in a whirlwind New York week for the two. A couple of the children shed tears when they met the pair under a white tent set up near the school’s jungle gym.

Nearly a dozen second-graders had prime spots on round, green cushions after older students showed off a three-dimensional flower mural they had created. Then Meghan read “The Bench,” which she initially wrote as a Father's Day poem to Harry after the birth of their son Archie.'

The talented children gave the couple pink paper hearts with names and personal stories on them. Meghan went through them and asked the students about their work before the couple thanked them for the thoughtful gifts. 

You can see a beautiful mural made for the Sussexes, and the following video includes clearer footage of Meghan chatting to the kids.

One little girl started a hug chain with Harry :)

As the couple were leaving, a teacher joked he also wanted a hug :)

Meghan was asked how Archie and Lilibet are, and replied, "They are so good."

Afterwards, art teacher James Reynolds said the visit was "extraordinary", adding getting to meet the couple was "a chance of a lifetime". "It was a marvellous experience to have them come, and for her to read."

A tweet from the Chancellor.

A nice roundup video.

From there, Harry and Meghan visited Melba's Restaurant. It was revealed they donated $25K to provide financial relief to the business and its employees. Owner Melba Wilson said: "It was such an honor to officially welcome Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to Melba’s! I am so thankful for their commitment to donate $25k and hope to welcome them back soon. Thank you for dining with us!" A portion of the funds will go to Team Unity, an organisation supporting multicultural education in schools. 

More from Melba on their ultimate goal of raising $250K. Click here to donate.

'The Employees at Melba's  partnered with Team Unity Incorporated to launch the Melba’s COVID-19 Employee Relief Fund. The goal of the fund is to raise a minimum of $250,000 to provide financial relief to the dozens of hourly workers impacted at Melba's.'

Page Six writes:

'A fellow diner at the restaurant said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were served Southern fried chicken and eggnog waffles, spring rolls, catfish, collard greens and yams.

The onlooker said, “Harry said it was the first time he’d ever tried chicken and waffles and remarked it was delicious.”

The onlooker added Harry also said collard greens were already a family favorite, because Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, often makes the dish for the couple.'

Meghan sported a vibrant red look today.

Meghan wore the Loro Piana Loreen Reversible Cashmere coat. Made in Italy, the piece has long sleeves, a loose fit and a collared neckline. 

Meghan wore the eyelet belt in red.

Meghan wore her red suede Manolo Blahnik BB pumps

Heaven noticed the Duchess carried a Long Leather wallet by Bottega Veneta

Meghan is wearing Diana's Cartier Tank watch and her Cartier Love and Jennifer Meyer bracelets.

And her Birks snowflake ring again today.

I'll keep you updated as the day progresses.


  1. that is so lovely what they are donating for the school. seeing the kids hug her is adorable

  2. Lovely post. I shed some tears as well, of joy and admiration. Beth.

  3. I love this visit! It was hard to see her outfit, but when I did, I thought it was one of her best ever. And how adorable was Harry sitting with the students while Meghan read? They managed to get into NYC without photos so we actually don't know whether Doria and the kids are in the hotel with them. They really need 2 weeks to show u smore of NYC.

  4. Great work by HM and a wonderful post. On the fashion front, not sure I like this look

  5. Such a lovely visit from the Duke and Madame Duchess! I'm sure that these children will remember this day for years to come!

    I am once again struck by the thoughtfulness that the Sussex's show when visiting underprivileged areas and schools. I certainly hope that today's visit sets a precedence nay an expectation that Every royal should be reaching! I am not singling out the BRF but all royal families who are funded in luxurious lifestyles by their citizens. No royal should be showing up to engagements like this empty-handed, only to accept flowers and gifts from those they should be serving, instead they should start harnessing their connections and dipping into their extreme wealth to truly make a difference. The world is no longer enthralled by royalty, the wealth gap is growing and many, many are suffering, we need to start expecting more from those who are supposed to be living a life of service, handshakes, a few waves and pretty words are no longer enough!

    1. 100% agree. I've often wondered how you could do these engagements, hear that a school needs a washer/dryer for children's hygiene and dignity, and then just drive back to your literal castle with a bouquet of flowers that they spent money on. I'd like to think that they follow-up under the radar and sometimes personally contribute to the places they visit, but I like that Harry and Meghan are transparent about it. As "service is universal" indeed, it makes me think through what my local school might need that I could easily provide to support families.

    2. I do think it’s a lovely sentiment to be donating funds to worthy causes. You mention the BRF could be doing this as well, but wondering how it works logistically? Would then then have to do this each and every time? Do we expect that from H & M? Do we know if this money comes specifically from Harry & Meghan, or is this donated from Archewell?

      It’s interesting to think of doing things differently, but I wonder if there are other things to consider that I haven’t. I guess it’s hard because many high visibility individuals are probably asked to champion & donate to many organizations.

      As for the fashion, she always looks pretty. I’m a fan of the color but not the outfit. Looks like something cozy to wear at home, minus the heels! sue

    3. Lauri, I agree with you 100%. The Sussexes have a very down to earth approach. They each had these standards before they met.

  6. My Mom had her 90th birthday party at Melba's. The fried chicken is sooo good. I wonder what they ordered 🤔
    Actually all the food is amazing there and Melba was so wonderful to my Mom who was born and raised in Harlem.
    The idea that Madame Duchess thought to give a washer/dryer to kids struggling with homelessness. I incredibly impressive!

  7. @Lauri, I agree with what you said 100%, someone was hating on Harry about the usage of "HRH" I said to that person , "impact" works more than "title" in this century. Kudos to the Sussex for doing the needful despite the outcry of the haters

  8. I love this tour and their choices of places to visit, not sure about her $5800 coat though while giving to charity ....

  9. This is Meghan's superpower. This is why it's such a big loss for the royal family that they're not Queen representatives anymore. She's not only charming and a natural with people but look at all the black and mixed race little girls who can see themselves reflected in her, in a real-life princess as well as duchess. That is priceless and significant and a quality that only Meghan possesses and that the royal family will never be able to capitalise on anymore in order to win over younger and minority audiences who tend to be republicans(in the British sense of the word)and to value inclusion.

  10. I think Meghan enrolled a perfect New York autumn wardrobe. And what is most impressive about this couple is that fashion is never the most important news when they are in public. It will be interesting to watch them connecting parts of society and bringing people together. Harry is certainly very much his mothers son……

  11. Again a very well considered visit, I love it. Literacy is an extremely important cause. On the fashion front, I love the colour, but not the coat. According to Duke and Duchess of Sussex Daily on IG, Meghan wore Loro Piana "Antoine" pants and Guastella crew neck sweater from the same brand.

  12. The entire trip is amazing, but this visit tops it all in so many ways. Just wow!

  13. Well love the visit harry Meghan did great plus the pact that they did connect the public and social learning what there needing


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