Prince Harry Makes Poignant Reference to Queen Elizabeth During Rare UK Public Appearance

Prince Harry has returned to the UK for the first time in three months to attend an awards ceremony for his charity WellChild. And with his visit coming on the eve of the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s death, he took the opportunity to make a poignant reference to his late grandmother during his speech.

Reminding the audience that he was unable to attend last year’s awards as Queen Elizabeth died that same day, the Duke said, “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 has been Patron of WellChild since 2007 and it was one of the few patronages that he kept when stepping back from his royal role in March 2020. This evening, he presented an award to six-year-old Violet, who was born with a brain condition that has meant she had undergone multiple surgeries. After posing for a photograph with the little girl, Harry delivered his five minute speech.

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Prince Harry during the WellChild Awards 2023.Yui Mok - PA Images - Getty Images

“Tonight we meet to celebrate the tremendous strength and spirit of children and young people across the UK and the individuals who are transforming at home care for thousands,” he began. The Prince went on to share his “sincerest admiration and respect” for the parents and carers for the work that they do and the challenges they face. “You are all proof that not all superheroes wear capes,” the Prince said.

The Prince’s award was one of several handed out this evening to inspirational children, their family members and those who support them. “The number of children and young people in the UK living with long-term, complex medical needs is growing,” WellChild Chief Executive, Matt James said in a statement.

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The Duke of Sussex on stage during the annual WellChild Awards 2023.Yui Mok - PA Images - Getty Images

Following the event, Prince Harry will travel to Düsseldorf for the Invictus Games, where the opening ceremony will take place on Saturday evening. He will be joined by Meghan later in the week. The Prince is not expected to see his father or brother while in Europe.

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