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'Really, how are you?': Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan talk about the importance of checking in on loved ones during the pandemic

By Heather Cichowski, with files from Zach Harper

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Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry hosted a special TIME100 Talk called "Engineering A Better World" on Oct. 20, where they led a panel of experts who discussed fostering greater kindness and compassion online.

During their opening remarks, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex chatted with TIME Editor in Chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal about how COVID-19 and self-isolating have altered the way we ask how people are. It has now become a priority to ensure the good mental health and wellbeing of others.

"When people ask ‘how are you?’ I sense it’s a case of, ‘really, how are you?’" the duke said about the coronavirus pandemic, after Edward asked how the couple was doing.

"Before this year, I think everyone sort of throws that term around, and everyone's satisfied with a 'Yeah, I'm good. I'm fine, thanks.' And then moving onto something else," Harry continued.

"But, I think you're quite right. This year, more than ever, it really is a question of, 'No, no, no – how, actually, are you?"

Harry said he and Meghan are "good" and highlighted how this is a time to spend with family. Meghan also touched on the point with her answer and mentioned their son, Archie.

"All things considered, everyone is grappling with a different version of the same thing," the duchess said. "For us, we're trying to embrace all of the quality time we get with our son right now and to not miss a single moment of his growth and development, which has been really special."

During the two-hour chat, Harry and Meghan were joined virtually by Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who is the husband of their good friend Serena Williams! The discussion also included Somewhere Good Founder Naj Austin, Stanford Internet Observatory Technical Research Manager Renée Diresta, Activist and Founder of the Loveland Foundation Rachel Cargle, Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa, Center for Humane Technology President and Co-founder Tristan Harris and Author and Co-Director of UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry Safiya Noble. The hosts of the Teenage Therapy podcast were also involved.

MORE: Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry's gorgeous new portrait reveals a sweet link to Princess Diana

In the "Engineering a Better World" talk, they addressed some of the virtual world's problems can then show up in the real world and worsen already existing problems offline. But the conversations did highlight optimism and how the good online can outweigh the bad.

Meghan ended the couple's talk by encouraging those watching to come away with "one action item" to make things better in their daily lives as well as online.

You can watch the full Time100 Talk below:

This was the duke and duchess's second TIME event recently. Harry and Meghan also made a virtual appearance on the TIME 100 Most Influential People broadcast on Sept. 22, which unveiled the 100 recipients of the honour for this year.

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