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The Duke of Sussex's speech at the WellChild Awards 2019

Published 16 October 2019

Each of you, through your heartfelt commitments, make it possible for these and other children to live the life that they deserve – at home, with their families

The Duke of Sussex

Good evening everyone.

My wife and I feel incredibly privileged to be able to join you once again at this year’s WellChild Awards, and to be in a room with such amazing human beings.

It has been over a decade since I first came to these Awards and every year they never fail to surprise and inspire me. Yet this year, it resonates in a different way, because now I’m a father.  

Last year when my wife and I attended we knew we were expecting our first child - no one else did at the time, but we did - and I remember squeezing Meghan’s hand so tight during the awards, both of us thinking what it would be like to be parents one day, and more so, what it would be like to do everything we could to protect and help our child should they be born with immediate challenges or become unwell over time.  And now, as parents, being here and speaking to all of you pulls at my heart strings in a way I could have never understood until I had a child of my own.

No parent wants to hear that their child will suffer; that they will face extraordinary challenges that will affect them throughout their lives.  And yet, after meeting all of the WellChild parents and the kids themselves over the years, you’ve managed to give all of us a sense of optimism, a sense of hope and strength that no professional, no bestselling book and no amount of advice can ever give any of us. So thank you for being you.

All the young people, their families, the nurses, the support staff, here tonight, have demonstrated extraordinary strength, courage and resilience. Never ever underestimate what this means for each other, within your community or further afield. You are all role models, and pretty fantastic ones at that!

The stories we have heard tonight - of Mia, of Rhys, Dexter, Emmie, of everyone really - demonstrate exactly why we all support this incredible charity and why we support all of you.

Each of you, through your heartfelt commitments, make it possible for these and other children to live the life that they deserve – at home, with their families.

The WellChild Community is bravely addressing isolation and fear because we know that WellChild is not simply about having a well child. It is about having a well parent, a well sibling - a well family. 

This community’s mission is clear.  And in the face of a rapidly growing need, with the charity almost entirely funded through the generosity of donors, we all must continue to amass resources, bring awareness and open our hearts. 

So, we are extremely grateful to everyone who has played a part this year in helping the charity achieve its goals. There is obviously so much important work to do and I know that you will continue to support, and to spread the word as we strengthen the WellChild community together.

Congratulations once again to all of tonight’s deserving winners – your determination and strength of spirit are an example for all of us.