Prince Harry spent Monday evening with seriously ill children from across the UK, who had come to London for the annual WellChild Awards, held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel. Ahead of the ceremony, the kind-hearted royal put the youngsters at ease as he chatted with the winners before they took to the stage. Harry, who is the royal patron of the charity, later made a speech, along with presenting the award for the Most Inspiration Child.
Prince Harry promised Finley Green, seven, to replace his balloon animal
One of the children to have spent time with Harry was nine-year-old Marni Ahmed, who suffers from a rare skin condition. During their meeting, Marni asked the Prince whether he had ever eaten a Doner kebab, to which Harry replied: "No, but my friends have." Marni also asked Harry what he had eaten for breakfast, after he had been given a dare from WellChild ambassador TV presenter Gaby Roslin. "He said, 'bacon and sausage sandwich," Marni said. Harry also met Erin Cross, a little girl who has been fighting leukaemia for nearly five years. Erin was shy when the Prince first approached her, but she was soon laughing and joking, and presented him with a framed drawing.
Harry got on the floor to chat to the winners of the WellChild Awards
Harry was a hit with seven-year-old Finley Green, a little boy who has to be tube-fed as a result of some serious health conditions, including a cyst on his brain. Finley, who was playing with a balloon animal when he met the Prince, said that Harry had promised to get him a new one if anything were to happen to it. "He said if it pops, I will get you a new one," he said. Finley's mum, Jennifer, described Harry as "really lovely", and added: "I think the fact he was getting on the floor and speaking to the children speaks volumes."
Harry spoke to Katie Ward, winner of the most Inspirational Child Award
In his speech, Harry told the audience that it was a pleasure to meet them all, along with recalling times of meeting inspirational people during a visit to a WellChild project in Leeds. He added: "These awards were created to shine a bright light on an amazingly brave group of children and young people, on their lives, and on the resolve they and their families have shown to overcome such challenges. Life for families caring for seriously ill children is exceptionally tough. And without WellChild it is even tougher."
Gaby Roslin and Ashley Banjo were on hand to present the night's proceedings
Other stars who attended the glamourous event included children's television presenters Dick and Dom, grime artist Stormzy, TV personality Gillian McKeith, Harry Potter actor Oliver Phelps, classical singing sensation Natalie Coyle and entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne. WellChild ambassadors Gaby Roslin and Ashley Banjo were also on hand to present the night's proceedings.
Prince Harry spent time posing with all the winners
Speaking about Prince Harry's involvement in the event, Harry Potter star Oliver told HELLO!: "It's brilliant. It really raises the profile more than ever. You really know he's here, especially when you see him at the awards listening and meeting all of the youngsters and some of the nurses too, who are winning. It just adds a bit more specialness to what is already a great evening." Duncan Bannatyne, who is an ambassador for the charity, added: "I've seen Prince Harry for about ten years, he works really hard. He comes early, I think he was here about an hour before I arrived. The professionals get awards, nurses, doctors get awards and it's great to see it all."