Harry to attend UK charity awards ceremony

The Duke of Sussex will return to the UK to attend a charity awards ceremony on the eve of the first anniversary of the late Queen’s death.

Harry will celebrate the achievements and resilience of seriously ill youngsters and their families supported by WellChild at the event being staged in London on September 7.

Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, died peacefully at Balmoral in Scotland on September 8 last year, aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend the WellChild Awards
The Duke of Sussex with WellChild award-winner Lyla-Rose O’Donovan at a previous ceremony (Toby Melville/PA)

The King and Queen are expected to mark the first anniversary of her death privately at their Balmoral estate.

Harry has been WellChild’s patron for 15 years and regularly attends its annual awards ceremony but is not expected to be joined by the Duchess of Sussex, who has been a guest at past events.

The 2022 WellChild awards took place on the day the Queen died, and the duke and duchess withdrew from the event with Harry flying to Scotland to be with other members of the royal family.

The awards ceremony is being held a few days before Harry’s Invictus Games – for wounded military personnel and veterans – begins in Dusseldorf, Germany, on September 9 and staged over eight days.

Harry said: “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 well-being of these individuals and their families.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend the WellChild Awards
Harry with wife Meghan, who has been a guest at past WellChild events (Toby Melville/PA)

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

Matt James, WellChild chief executive, said: “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 chance to thrive.”