Prince Harry has made a surprise video call with winners of the WellChild awards after being forced to pull out of the prizegiving event to see the Queen on her deathbed at Balmoral – as he revealed Archie is ‘very busy’ and Lilibet is ‘learning to use her voice’.
Appearing on camera from his home in California, the Duke of Sussex chatted about family life with his wife Meghan and their children, Archie and Lilibet. At one point, he appeared visibly moved when told that his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, would have been so proud of him.
Harry also spoke about his three dogs, black Labrador called Pula and rescue beagles Guy and Mia. He said: ‘Between the three of them they charge around chasing squirrels and causing all sorts of problems for us every day. But they’re also emotional support dogs – 100%! When they’re behaving.’
Harry initially spoke to Henry Waines. a four-year-old who was born with serious health problems. He won the Inspirational Child award in the four to six years category, and appeared alongside with his parents, Ben and Shevonne.
Addressing Henry, the prince said: ‘That is a very, very cool award. You know I was supposed to be the one giving it to you and I was sadly not able to be there. I’m sorry we didn’t get to meet, Henry.’ ‘That’s alright,’ the child responded.
Harry initially spoke to Henry Waines. a four-year-old who was born with serious health problems. He appeared alongside his parents, Ben and Shevonne
Appearing on a video call from his home in California , the Duke of Sussex chatted about family life with his wife Meghan and their children, Archie and Lilibet
After being told Henry had been named after him, the Duke replied: ‘My name is Henry. Well everyone calls me Harry. I have no idea why.’
He later told the boy: ‘You sound just like my son Archie… you have the same little squeaky voice. I love it.’
Ben and Shevonne later asked the royal how Archie and Lilibet were doing, to which he replied: ‘They’re doing great… Archie is very, very busy and Lili is learning to use her voice which is great.’
The prince added: ‘Could I just say again full respect to you guys as parents to go through this. I know, I don’t know, but having been part of this charity for a decade I know how hard it is, but you guys continue to smile.’
One of Harry’s calls was with 10-year-old Shakeerah Crowther, the only known survivor of a rare bacterial brain infection she picked up during treatment for a brain tumour.
Harry spotted the youngster’s giant giraffe balloon and asked her: ‘Shakeerah, how long have you had that giraffe for? Because Archie has a giraffe as well that has lasted a very long time and we call him Gerald.’
At one point, the girl told Harry in sign language that she was ‘sorry about your grandmother the Queen’.
‘That’s sweet,’ Harry replied.
The duke has been patron of WellChild since 2007, but was forced to pull out of its awards ceremony in London after Buckingham Palace released a statement regarding the Queen’s health.
Addressing Henry, the prince said: ‘That is a very, very cool award. You know I was supposed to be the one giving it to you and I was sadly not able to be there. I’m sorry we didn’t get to meet, Henry’
Speaking to Isabelle Delaney, the 13-year-old winner of an Inspirational Young Person award, he admired her assistance dog, a Labradoodle called Hope.
Harry said: ‘We all need a dog that keeps us calm. I’ve got three in this house now, so we basically have five children. But I’ve got a black Labrador called Pula, a rescue beagle called Guy, and we got another rescue beagle called Mia.
‘And between the three of them, they charge around chasing squirrels and causing all sorts of problems to us every single day. But they are also emotional support dogs, 100%, when they’re behaving.’
WellChild is dedicated to helping families with sick children, with the aim of allowing them to be treated at home rather than in hospital.
CEO Matt James said: ‘Our remarkable winners and their families were delighted to have this additional chance to celebrate their achievements, particularly as this year’s event ran under unique circumstances.
‘The Duke recognised the immense challenges faced by children and young people who face serious ill health with positivity, resilience, and courage and the dedication of those around them, from siblings, professionals and volunteers who have gone above and beyond to help them through such challenging times.’