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Prince Harry says late Queen 'looking down on us' on eve of death anniversary

 The Duke of Sussex gave a touching speech at the WellChild Awards in London


Prince Harry at the WellChild Awards
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
Updated: September 7, 2023
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SUMMARY

  • Prince Harry arrives at the WellChild Awards
  • The Duke speaks with guests at pre-ceremony reception
  • Watch the WellChild Awards in our live stream on HELLO!'s homepage
  • Prince Harry pays tribute to late grandmother during touching speech
  • Donate to WellChild here
Online News Writer & Diversity and Inclusion Lead

And that's it!

What an inspiring evening it has. So many incredible and heartwarming stories of resilience, and it's clear that WellChild is an organisation very close to Harry's heart. 

To re-watch the ceremony, you can click below.

The 2023 WellChild Awards - LIVE | HELLO!

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Online News Writer & Diversity and Inclusion Lead

Parent Carers

Katherine Ryan and Nadine Coyle came on stage to present a new award for the Wellchild Awards, Special Recongition Parent Carer, which was one by both Kelvin and Lucinda.

Kelvin looks after his daughter who lives with cerebral palsy, learning difficulties and scoliosis. Her life inspired Kelvin to set up a specialised youth club, Equally Abled, for people who live with similar conditions to his daughter. His aim was for teenagers with these conditions to be able to "hang out" like other teenagers, and the club became so successful that he was able to open a second one for younger children, called Equally Abled Junior.

Meanwhile Lucinda, is mum to son Leo, who was born with TBCD disorder, a genetic mutation that affects muscle growth and the nervous system. The condition is very rare, with only 50 identified cases, and following Leo's birth Lucinda was told he would not live long. However, through her determination and work, he is now two-years-old. Lucinda is Leo's main carer, and he requires around-the-clock care, but she also fundraises for research into the condition, which does not yet have a cure.

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Emily Nash - London
Royal EditorLondon

How Prince Harry was at the Wellchild Awards

Prince Harry was back to doing what he does best tonight – spending time chatting to the inspiring children, young people and adults at the Wellchild Awards.

Two years after he last attended, he was on fine form, cracking jokes with the teenage winners and chatting football and Disney princesses with the younger ones.

On stage in front of the packed atrium of the Hurlingham Club, he spoke movingly about his late grandmother Queen Elizabeth as he recalled how he’d had to miss last year’s ceremony because of her death.

Although he’d joked that host Gaby Roslin was responsible for him being overcome with emotion at previous events, his voice only cracked slightly at the end of his speech and he stood back and took a breath, taking in the room.

His focus tonight was quite rightly entirely on the brilliant work of WellChild and the courage and resilience of the people it helps to care for, giving them a hugely well deserved moment in the spotlight.

Prince Harry at the WellChild Awards© Getty
Harry was in his element
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Emily Nash - London
Royal EditorLondon

Prince Harry creates special memories for children honoured

The Duke of Sussex will have created long-lasting memories for the children honoured during the event and shared several special moments with them. In one instance, he watched a dance from seven-year-old Poppy Higham, from Runcorn. Poppy had won the Caring Child award for helping her sister Paige, 17, who has complex health needs and Harry was told by Gaby Roslin that the youngster loved to dance.

In a dress she had helped design, Poppy then danced to Shivers by Ed Sheeran, with Harry even joking that he could be the singer due to his red hair. The royal was also stunned to learn that Poppy had designed her princess dress, with Harry calling her work "amazing" and applauding Poppy for her dance.

Speaking after the moment, Poppy's dad, Daniel, said: "I don’t think he (Harry) was expecting the dance! He asked what she was into and why she was getting her award. He was really nice. He asked who her favourite Disney princess was and she said it's the new Ariel from the Little Mermaid."

Harry also made Violet Seymour, who he presented with the Inspirational Child 4-6 award, giggle when they spoke about her love of pandas. Presenting her with a balloon in the shape of the animal, she told the Prince that she actually preferred cats, to which Harry quipped: "We'll have to find you a different balloon then."

Her older brother, Malachi, nine, made Harry laugh as he wanted the Duke to know that he was "famous" having appeared in several television adverts.

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Online News Writer & Diversity and Inclusion Lead

Prince Harry leaves service

With the final award handed out, Prince Harry has now left the ceremony. The Duke is due for an emotional day tomorrow as it marks the one-year anniversary since his grandmother, the Queen, died. Harry will also be heading to Dusseldorf for Saturday where he will be opening this year's Invictus Games.

Guests are currently having dinner and the Wellchild Awards are expected to start up again at 9pm. You can currently watch the highlights of the service on the livestream.

Prince Harry walking© Tristan Fewings
Harry left following the conclusion of the awards
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Emily Nash - London
Royal EditorLondon

WATCH: Harry pays tribute to late Queen in touching speech

The Duke of Sussex has paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on the eve of the first anniversary of her death, telling young charity award winners she would be looking down on them.

Prince Harry praised seriously ill children being honoured at the WellChild awards a year after he was forced to pull out of the annual event, travelling to Balmoral as the late monarch’s family gathered.

He told guests: “As you know, I was unable to attend the awards last year as my grandmother passed away. As you also probably know, she would have been the first person to insist I still come to be with you all instead of going to her, and that’s precisely why I know, exactly one year on, she is looking down on all of us tonight – happy we are together – continuing to spotlight such an incredible community.”

Watch the moment in the clip below...

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The Duke, who has been patron of the national charity for seriously ill children since 2007, also paid tribute to the youngsters, telling them: “It’s wonderful to be here at the 18th annual WellChild Awards – a night I personally look forward to each year because I get to be with you.

“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.

“Your collective stories of strength, compassion and perseverance are inspiring to not only those in this room, but many far and wide. You have set the bar and raised it time and time again, and I am so humbled to stand before you as I strive to convey your impact in words.”

Harry also referred to his own family back in California, raising a laugh from his audience by saying: “As a father of two – and three dogs, so basically five – I’m acutely aware of the many joys and challenges that come with parenting. And that’s with kids who aren’t facing health challenges. So to the parent carers in the room, you have my sincerest admiration and respect.”

Harry’s poignant speech came after he presented the award for Inspirational Child (aged 4 to 6) to Violet Seymour, six.

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Online Royal CorrespondentLondon

Inspirational Child (4 to 6): Violet

Prince Harry presented Violet with the Inspirational Child award. 

Violet, six, was born with a brain condition and has spent much of the past five years in hospital, where she has undergone multiple operations and procedures. 

Now living with hydrocephalus, a damaged spinal cord, breathing problems and a condition called neuropathic bladder, she frequently succumbs to infections, which means missing school and time with her friends in Poole, Dorset.

Although she finds this hard, Violet never complains and faces her challenges with courage, kindness and humility. In fact, she’s more concerned about other children in the hospital than herself and, last year, secretly donated some of her own Christmas presents to children staying there during the festive season. 

Violet’s condition doesn’t stop her wanting to try new things, like gymnastics. And although her brain condition is currently stable, her family know that this could change at any time, so she is determined to live life to the full and not be ashamed of things like her stoma bag. Her mum Holly Kieser describes Violet as the bravest girl she knows.

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Online Royal CorrespondentLondon

Special Recognition Award: Ruky

Prince Harry wearing a suit and sitting in a chair whilst making a boy laugh© Getty
Harry makes Ruky laugh during their meeting

Budding musician Ruky recently released his first single and is full of fun, despite suffering from a painful brittle-bone disease. 

Ruky, 14, is dependent on adults for his care and has had to endure many operations for bone fractures, as well as recent major surgery to correct his scoliosis, after which a difficult recovery period left him wearing braces.

The teenager often has to take time off school in Thamesmead, south-east London, until it’s safe for him to return, but when he returns he stays behind at homework club three days a week to catch up. 

He dedicated his single, called Watch Me Now and released on his 14th birthday, to everyone suffering from the same condition. 

Mum Ufuoma, who nominated him for the award, says: “Ruky has been through a lot in the past few years. Winning a WellChild Award will be a big confidence- and morale-booster for him and encourage him to achieve even more.’’

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Emily Nash - London
Royal EditorLondon

Meghan "very upset" to miss Awards

Prince Harry in a suit and smiling© Getty
Harry spoke to each of the winners

The Duke of Sussex has shared jokes with the young winners and their families at this year's WellChild Awards.

At a reception for the seriously ill youngsters being honoured for their achievements and resilience and the adults helping to care for them, he spent 50 minutes chatting to them, listening to their stories and making them laugh.

He told one family how wife Meghan was “very upset that she couldn’t be here” ahead of a “busy week” for the couple, who will attend the Invictus Games in Dusseldorf next week.

Ruky Anighoro, 14, from Thamesmead, Kent, chatted to Harry about his love of Chelsea FC and performed his single, Watch Me Now, which he wrote with his sister Faith and released on his 14th birthday.

“Serious talent,” the Duke said after nodding his head along to the rap.

The teenager won the Special Recognition award for his hard work at school despite undergoing many surgeries for his brittle bone disease.

Ruky, who was joined by mum Ufuoma, dad Odafe and Faith for the star-studded event, said: “I think it’s a good thing for Prince Harry to come here to support people that have won an award and who really deserve it.”

Ufuoma said Harry’s presence made it all the more special, adding: “It speaks of his heart, his kindness. And I think of his love also for children.”

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Online Royal CorrespondentLondon

Inspirational Child (7 to 11): George

Prince Harry sitting in a chair talking to a boy and his mum at wellchild© Getty
Harry with George

George’s complex medical needs mean he has been in and out of hospital throughout his life, but he always remains brave, positive and determined to live life to the full. 

The 11-year-old, who has undergone hundreds of procedures, not only has a tracheostomy, pacemaker and complete heart block, but is also tube-fed and relies on life-support machines every night.

Despite all of this, George won last year’s Yorkshire Schools Cross Country Accessible Race, after which he was commended by the organisers for his determination to never give up – something that those who know him often comment on. 

At home in Skipton, North Yorkshire, George enjoys cooking, drama and football, and is known for his selflessness and for always thinking of others before himself. 

His grandmother Nicola, says: “Winning this WellChild Award will raise George’s confidence and his spirits massively. He’s been through so much since he was born, but especially over the past year. He’s our hero and his fighting but always fun spirit deserves recognition.”

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Online Royal CorrespondentLondon

Inspirational Young Person (12 to 14): Hayley

Prince Harry with Hayley© Getty
Harry speaking with Hayley and her father, Stephen

“I’m not disabled; I’m differently abled,” says Hayley, 15, who is an advocate for the power of sport and has appeared on the CBeebies TV channel to champion the cause. 

Despite having cerebral palsy diplegia and a displaced hip, as well as other complex medical needs, the teenager has won multiple medals for wheelchair basketball and, as well as playing for the Sheffield Steelers, is on the England pathway for the Great Britain team. She also plays wheelchair rugby for Team GB’s development team, as well as for Leicester Tigers and Yorkshire Lions. 

Hayley, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, requires daily physiotherapy sessions, but she always remains positive and has raised over £100,000 for charity by singing in a choir.

Mum Susan, who nominated her for the award, said: “I’m in awe of her. Hayley is an amazing and inspirational child who always promotes wellbeing. She has pushed through so much adversity, and she oozes positivity, fun and encouragement.”

Before appearing on stage, Hayley received a special video message from former footballer and BBC Sports presenter, Alex Scott. 

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Online Royal CorrespondentLondon

Inspirational Young Person (15 to 18): Blake

Prince Harry with Blake at WellChild Awards© Getty
Harry with Inspirational Young Person winner Blake

Blake has never lost his sense of humour, despite spending most of the past four years in hospital. 

For Halloween, he dressed up as his doctor, sporting scrubs and a painted-on beard to celebrate paediatric surgeon Professor De Coppi’s birthday, much to the amusement of staff and patients at Great Ormond Street Hospital, while at Christmas, he decorated his hospital room like a grotto.

Born with a rare and complex genetic condition, Blake, 15, from Tandragee in County Armagh, has weakened muscles and suffers from chronic pain. 

He has spent much of his life in hospital and has undergone hundreds of medical procedures, including open-heart surgery and an operation to separate his stomach from his liver. He uses a wheelchair and, unable to eat or drink, he is fed through a tube.

Professor De Coppi describes the teenager as an incredibly resilient young man whose smile and strength are a source of joy.

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Online Royal CorrespondentLondon

Celebrity guests

Emma Willis at the WellChild Awards 2023© Getty
Emma Willis presented an award

TV presented Emma Willis presented Hannah Lines with her Nurse award, while Ackley Bridge star Jo Joyner revealed Richard to be the winner of the Doctor award. 

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Online Royal CorrespondentLondon

Caring Child winner: Poppy, 7

Harry and Poppy enjoy a dance at WellChild Awards© Getty
Harry and Poppy enjoy a dance at WellChild Awards

At just seven years old, Poppy is a devoted carer to her sister Paige, 17, who needs to be looked after around-the-clock and is often rushed to hospital.

Suffering from severe epilepsy and hyperinsulinism, Paige needs help to breathe, eat and move, so Poppy’s young life revolves around her sister’s needs. 

Even though she misses out on things that most other children her age take for granted, like birthday parties that have been cancelled or disrupted, Poppy never complains. Instead, she steps up to help look after her big sister, whose eyes light up whenever she walks into the room.

 The sisters, from Runcorn in Cheshire, share an unbreakable bond and Poppy loves to make Paige happy by singing and reading to her. She has even overcome her shyness to support fundraising efforts for the local hospice that supports Paige. 

Mum Stacey believes Poppy deserves to understand just how special she is and how much her family appreciate the help she gives.

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Online Royal CorrespondentLondon

Watch the WellChild Awards live now

Prince Harry stood with two men and a woman© Getty
Harry will present an award and give a speech

You can now watch the WellChild Awards in our live stream on HELLO!'s homepage

Tune in to discover the incredible winners' stories, and to see Harry present an award before giving a speech. 

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Online Royal CorrespondentLondon

More from the pre-ceremony reception

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The Duke has spent around an hour meeting children and their families at the pre-ceremony reception, with plenty of hand-shakes, smiles and high-fives!

 Here's Harry meeting Violet Seymour. 

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Online Royal CorrespondentLondon

Presents for Harry!

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Watch the moment that a delighted Harry is presented with a personalised Belfast ice hockey shirt by Blake and his family. 

And it even has his year of birth on it! 

The WellChild Awards comes just days before the Duke's 39th birthday on 15 September. 

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Online Royal CorrespondentLondon

Where is Prince Harry staying in London?

The Duke of Sussex leaving the Royal Courts Of Justice© Getty
The Duke of Sussex leaving the Royal Courts Of Justice

The Sussexes officially vacated their Windsor home, Frogmore Cottage, earlier this year. 

So where is Harry staying during his flying visit to the UK before heading to Germany this weekend?

Our Homes Editor, Rachel Avery, looks at some options for the Duke, including cousin Princess Eugenie's Kensington Palace abode, Ivy Cottage. 

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Online Royal CorrespondentLondon

Pre-ceremony reception

The Duke of Sussex speaks to George Hall and mum Hollie Pearson© Getty
Harry greeted guests at the event

Harry greeted youngsters and their families at a pre-ceremony reception, including George and mum Hollie Pearson above. 

The Duke has been patron of WellChild since 2007 and has attended the awards every year. 

In 2018, Harry's wife Meghan attended the bash with her husband, just months after their royal wedding. 

And in 2019, the Duke appeared emotional during his speech as he spoke about his journey to fatherhood, following the birth of son Archie in May earlier that year. 

Last year's awards were held on the day Queen Elizabeth II died, forcing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to withdraw from the event as Harry flew to Scotland to be with other members of the royal family

Friday marks the first year anniversary of the late Queen's passing. 

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Online Royal CorrespondentLondon

VIDEO: See Prince Harry's arrival on the purple carpet

WATCH: Prince Harry beams as he arrives at WellChild Awards

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Online Royal CorrespondentLondon

Prince Harry arrives at the WellChild Awards

Prince Harry at WellChild Awards© Getty
Harry arrives on the purple carpet

The day is finally here – as HELLO! prepares to celebrate the incredible achievements and resilience of youngsters and their families at the WellChild Awards, in association with GSK.

The Duke of Sussex, who has been patronage of WellChild for 15 years, has just arrived at the ceremony in London, in his first visit to the UK since June.

Prince Harry said ahead of the Awards "For nearly 20 years, WellChild has been transforming the lives of children and young people across the UK, providing critical care that prioritises the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of these individuals and their families."

During the event, the Duke will spend time with the winners and their families at a pre-ceremony reception before presenting the award for Inspirational Child (aged four to six) and delivering a speech.

The ceremony will be live streamed on HELLO!'s homepage from 18.15pm, as we're official media partners for the event. So do make sure you keep coming back to watch…

WellChild is the national UK children's charity making it possible for children and young people with serious and complex health needs to be cared for at home instead of hospital, wherever possible.

WellChild chief executive Matt James said ahead of the Awards: "The number of children and young people in the UK living with long-term, complex medical needs is growing.

"The WellChild Awards 2023, in association with GSK, will be a unique opportunity to shine a light on the immense challenges they face and to celebrate their remarkable resilience and spirit.

"It will also provide an opportunity to recognise the selfless dedication of those around them, from siblings and parent carers to the professionals who have gone above and beyond to give them the very best cha

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