Prince Harry Returns to Royal Playbook With Emotional Appearance in London


Prince Harry returned to his royal roots on Thursday as he attended a charity event in London and paid tribute to his late grandmother in a speech, marking the one-year anniversary of her death.

The prince attended the WellChild Awards at The Hurlingham Club on September 7. It was his first major solo charity event in Britain since the publication of his controversial memoir, Spare, and the release of his six-part behind-palace-walls Netflix show with wife Meghan Markle.

Following these bombshells, the prince saw his popularity plummet on either side of the Atlantic. It slowly regained ground in recent months after Harry began moving away from “look back” projects and concentrating instead on the future.

Prince Harry poses while attending the WellChild Awards in London, September 7, 2023. The event was the prince’s first major solo charity appearance in Britain since the publication of his memoir.
Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/Getty Images

After a series of knocks to his burgeoning Hollywood career with Meghan, entertainment expert and founder of MarkMeets, Mark Boardman, previously told Newsweek that the prince should “become a royal again to reengage his waning loyal fan base and work with new people to help generate positive media attention.”

Harry’s WellChild Awards appearance saw him doing just that, with the event in London taking the shape of a traditional form of engagement attended by members of the royal family.

Harry is a passionate supporter of WellChild, becoming the charity’s patron in 2007, as it seeks to help seriously ill children and their families.

The patronage was one of only a few that the prince retained when he stepped down from his role as a working royal with Meghan Markle in 2020. A number of his biggest associations were returned to the crown, including his patronage of England’s Rugby Football League and Rugby Football Union, which were later reallocated to the Princess of Wales.

Prior to Thursday’s awards show, Harry spent time with recipients and their families at an afternoon reception, hearing the inspiring stories that have seen them earn recognition from the charity.

When the royal got on the stage to make his keynote speech later that evening, he opened with a reference to last year’s event, which he was forced to miss, when the news broke that Queen Elizabeth II was dying.

The prince and Meghan were in Britain at the time, attending a number of charity events, with the WellChild Awards set to be one of them.

“As you know, I was unable to attend the awards last year as my grandmother passed away,” Harry told attendees.

“As you also probably know, she would have been the first person to insist that I still come to be with you all instead of going to her, and that’s precisely why I know exactly one year on that she is looking down on all of us tonight, happy we’re together, continuing to spotlight such an incredible community,” the prince added.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Windsor 2022
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, September 10, 2022. The couple canceled their appearance at the 2022 WellChild Awards when news of the monarch’s failing health was announced.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Harry went on to praise the care and kindness as well as the important work that WellChild achieves.

At one point, the prince also made a touching reference to his two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, as well as the family pets he shares with his wife, Meghan.

“As a father of two and three dogs—so basically five souls—I’m acutely aware of the many joys and challenges that come with parenting, and that’s with kids who aren’t facing health challenges,” Harry said.

“So, to the parent carers in this room, you have my sincerest admiration and respect. The level of support and responsibility you shared daily is unrivaled and, without fail, you deserve all the assistance that you need,” the prince added.

Harry’s appearance in London comes as he is on route to Germany where the 2023 Invictus Games will take place in the city of Dusseldorf between September 9 and 10.

On how Harry will honor his grandmother one year on from her death, a spokesperson for the prince told the magazine People: “The Duke, the Duchess and their family will privately acknowledge and honor the Queen on the anniversary of her passing.”

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek’s royal reporter based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek’s The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you.


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