Prince Harry makes surprise visit to WellChild award winners before Diana statue unveiling

30 June 2021, 21:46

Prince Harry met WellChild award winners prior to the unveiling of his mother's statue on Thursday.
Prince Harry met WellChild award winners prior to the unveiling of his mother's statue on Thursday. Picture: PA

By Emma Soteriou

Prince Harry made a surprise appearance to congratulate WellChild award winners ahead of the unveiling of Princess Diana's statue.

The Duke of Sussex met each winner to congratulate them as they received their awards, followed by an informal chat, where he heard how the last 18 months had been for them and their families.

He told how "as a father of two, I feel all the more connected, inspired and in awe of the resilience of these families".

Dozens of people attended the secluded event and a marquee was erected in the gardens next to Kew Palace.

WellChild supports seriously ill children and young people in the UK to ensure they have the best chance to thrive - properly supported at home with their families.

In a statement released by WellChild, Harry said: "Since becoming patron of WellChild in 2007, this organisation and the people within it have held an extraordinarily special place in my heart.

"I wasn't a father at the time, and yet the stories of these children and parents transcended that.

"I didn't need to be a dad to feel the impact of this invaluable work.

"Now as a father of two, I feel all the more connected, inspired and in awe of the resilience of these families, who power through indescribable challenges with the support of WellChild."

Read more: Queen holds first in-person audience with Boris since start of pandemic

Prince Harry spoke to Ed Sheeran and Anne-Marie while at the event.
Prince Harry spoke to Ed Sheeran and Anne-Marie while at the event. Picture: PA

Other celebrities attending the event included Ed Sheeran, Anne-Marie Ronnie Wood, Amanda Holden, AJ Pritchard and Abby Quinnen.

It came ahead of the unveiling of the statue of Princess Diana, marking her 60th birthday.

Prince Harry and his brother - the Duke of Cambridge - will put their differences aside for the small event being held at Kensington Palace.

Read more: William and Harry to unite for unveiling of Diana statue

Read more: Harry speaks movingly about mother in video for Diana Awards ahead of statue unveiling

On the statue unveiling, Harry said he was "so glad" it could take place on Diana's birthday, saying he had not been sure they would be able to.

It is the first time the Duke of Sussex has been back in the UK since Prince Philip's funeral.

He returned from California alone for his trip to the UK and had been isolating at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor.

WellChild is a cause that has long been important to the duke and he retained his private patronage of the organisation despite his move to the US.

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