Prince Harry delivered an emotional speech at the 2019 WellChild Awards on Tuesday, as he attended the annual ceremony for the first time since the birth of his son, Archie.
The Duke of Sussex, who has been a patron for the organization since 2007, has actively supported WellChild’s mission of helping families of children suffering chronic illnesses as they navigate home health care for over a decade.
A habitual contributor to dozens of charities, Prince Harry has always had a soft spot for WellChild, including it as one of the four organizations to receive donations made by the public when Archie was born in May, according to People.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attended the awards together for the first time in 2018, shortly after the Duchess found out she was expecting their first child.
And though Prince Harry has attended the event for years, this year he said he felt even more connected to the attendees and the struggles they face each and every day.
In a touching moment of vulnerability, the new dad opened up about what it means to him to be a parent and how he felt knowing their child might someday face struggles of his own.
“It has been over a decade since I first came to these awards and every year they never fail to surprise and inspire me,” he said. “Yet this year it resonates in a different way. Because now I’m a father.
“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,” he said, tearing up and pausing to collect himself.
The 35-year-old dad described the feeling of knowing he was about to become a parent and suddenly wanting more than anything to protect his son from the kind of hurt and suffering he had seen other children experience.
“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,” he said. “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.”
— WellChild (@WellChild) October 15, 2019
“And now, as parents, being here and speaking to all of you pulls at my heartstrings in a way I could have never understood until I had a child of my own,” he said.
The charity’s yearly award ceremony offers recognition both to children who are battling serious health issues and the men and women who work to provide treatment and comfort for kids and their families. Each year, outstanding medical professionals and inspiring patients are called to the awards to receive encouragement and support from the community.
The royal couple spent time talking, listening and posing for photos with dozens of the kids and care providers at the event.
During one conversation, Prince Harry also warmed hearts by complimenting his wife after one of the attendees told her, “You look amazing and you’ve just had a baby!” The Duke turned to Markle and said, “See, I told you!” Hello! magazine reported.
It appears being a dad agrees with the once “wild child” royal.
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