The Duke of Sussex today joined forces with celebrities including Ed Sheeran and Anne-Marie to surprise the winners of this year's WellChild Awards.
Prince Harry attended a private party for the remarkable children and young people recognised by the charity and the healthcare workers who care for them.
Before meeting the winners Harry swapped parenting notes with fellow new dad Ed, whose daughter Lyra Antarctica was born last year.
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WATCH: Prince Harry makes surprise appearance at the 2021 WellChild Awards
"Congratulations, a girl right?" asked Ed. "We just had a little girl ten months ago now. You're still in the trenches now! How do you manage with two?"
"Two is definitely a juggle," replied the Duke, whose baby daughter Lilibet Diana arrived on 4 June.
Speaking to another guest later, Harry said of Lili: "We've been lucky so far, she's very chilled and seems happy to just sit there while Archie is running around like crazy."
Harry and Ed caught up after the singer surprised the young winners, taking time to chat to them at their socially distanced tables.
The Prince also talked about his newborn daughter as he chatted to Harvey Eustace, 11, and his family.
Harvey, who has Autism and ADHD, received a special recognition award for creating a memory garden for his local community for people to go and reflect on those they have lost during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mum Steph Freeman said: "He was saying the baby is lovely. He was so down to earth, it was really nice to see him back here."
It marked the Duke's first engagement in the UK since stepping back from royal duties
Singer Anne-Marie took to the stage during the event, which she performed three songs for the winners, Our Song, Rockabye and The Day We Fell in Love.
Harry, who has been patron of WellChild since 2007, arrived in the UK last Friday and has been isolating at Frogmore Cottage, Windsor, ahead of Thursday's event.
HELLO! was there in capacity as WellChild Awards' media partner, including editor-in-chief, Rosie Nixon, who was a judge of the awards for the second time running.
Asked by another guest about Friday's statue unveiling of Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, the Duke said: "I'm just so glad we can do it on what would have been her birthday, we weren't sure we would be able to."
Luke Fisher, winner of the Inspirational Young Person 15-18 Years Award, had Harry in stitches as he joked that he'd kept him waiting then quizzed him on his favourite sports and whether he knew the game Kabaddi.
"My favourite sport to watch is probably rugby," Harry told him.
"Luke is very direct," laughed mum Lowri, adding: "He told Ed Sheeran he should be making more Grime music with Stormzy and he promised he would. Him winning this is a massive achievement."
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Harry poses for a group photo with the 2021 WellChild Award winners
The Duke was asked about his late grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, by the parents of Carmela Chillery-Watson, who won the Inspirational Child 4-6 Years Award for raising more than £50,000 for Muscular Dystrophy UK by undertaking challenges during lockdown.
Prince Philip was patron of the charity and Carmela's dad Darren passed on his condolences to Harry.
Thanking him, Harry said of his grandfather: "He had a great innings. He was 99 and he was adamant that he never wanted to live to 100."
The Duke heard how Carmela had stayed in the family's home with mum Lucy while Darren, a courier delivering PPE and Covid samples for the NHS, slept in his van or in the garden shed to protect her for the first eight months of the pandemic.
"Aren't they amazing?" he asked Carmela, seven. "Well done to you too for being so amazing."
"To say we are proud of her is an understatement," said Lucy.
Harry took the time to chat with the young winners
Harry also shared his tips on dealing with anxiety with Anzah Arwani, winner of the inspirational Child 7-11 years, after hearing how she had overcome anxiety attacks to address an audience of 100 people.
He told Anzah, who has complex neurological disorders: "You are amazing, you have achieved so much."
Mum Naureen said: "He was telling her to always speak up, always fight, don't keep it inside and to take her time."
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Harry speaking with winner, William Cuthill
The Duke also swapped notes on his pet dogs Guy and Pula with William Cuthill, winner of the Inspirational Young Person 12-14 Years Award.
William, 13, who has a miniature Dachsund Coco and a black Labrador, like Pula, said: "He was telling me about his dogs and asking about mine."
The teenager, who has Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, said: "I feel very privileged to be here."
A source close to the Duke told HELLO!: "He was very excited to be able to be there in person. WellChild has been one of the charities he's supported for so long and it means a lot to him - perhaps more so now than ever since he's become a father himself."
The socially distanced afternoon tea took place on the Sir Joseph Banks Lawn at Kew Gardens and was attended by other famous faces including Amanda Holden, Ronnie Wood and his wife Sally and AJ Pritchard.
Harry last attended the awards with wife Meghan in October 2019, breaking down in tears as he paid tribute to the winners for the first time since becoming a father himself.
Harry was overcome with emotion at the 2019 WellChild Awards
The Duke said: "Since becoming patron of WellChild in 2007, this organisation and the people within it have held an extraordinarily special place in my heart.
"I wasn't a father at the time, and yet the stories of these children and parents transcended that. I didn't need to be a dad to feel the impact of this invaluable work.
"Now as a father of two, I feel all the more connected, inspired and in awe of the resilience of these families, who power through indescribable challenges with the support of WellChild."
He added: "The health of our children, of all of us, could not have been more on the forefront of our minds during the past year.
"And, throughout this time, the WellChild community has set an example for how to show up and act with compassion for each other.
"I could not be prouder to be here, to meet this year's WellChild award winners, to thank the nurses and doctors for all they do, and to celebrate these amazing families."
Harry has been patron of WellChild since 2007
Last year's event could not take place because of the pandemic and many of the vulnerable children, young people and families supported by WellChild have faced huge challenges during that time.
WellChild Chief Executive, Colin Dyer said: "There are more children and young people than ever before in the UK living with long-term, serious health needs. The Coronavirus outbreak has placed these children and families under more pressure than many of us can comprehend.
"The WellChild Awards 2021, in association with GSK, will be a unique opportunity to recognise and highlight the immense challenges they have faced and to celebrate the remarkable positivity, resilience and spirit they have demonstrated. It will also help us to shine a light on the dedication of those around them, from siblings, professionals and volunteers who have gone above and beyond to help them through such challenging times."
HELLO's editor-in-chief with Prince Harry, and Ronnie and Sally Wood
The Awards, sponsored by GSK, are run by WellChild, the national charity for seriously ill children. They celebrate the resilience of children living with serious illnesses or complex conditions and people dedicated to caring for them.
The winners were chosen from hundreds of nominations from across the UK to win the categories of Inspirational Child and Young Person, Young Carer, Inspirational Nurse, Inspirational Doctor, Outstanding Health Professional and Volunteer.
The 2021 WellChild Award Winners in full
Carmela Chillery-Watson (Inspirational Child 7-11)
Carmela Chillery-Watson, seven, from Wiltshire has Congenital Muscular Dystrophy, completed a series of challenges, including a 2.6 mile marathon challenge in the garden, and helped to raise more than £50,000 for Muscular Dystrophy UK.
Anzah Arwani (Inspirational Child 7-11)
Anzah,11, from Battersea has complex neurological disorders which affect every aspect of her daily life, from walking and eating to coping with anxiety attacks. Despite these challenges Anzah has won awards with her frame football team and, having overcome her phobia of water, certificates for her swimming, as well overcoming anxiety attacks to address a room of 100 people.
William Cuthill (Inspirational Young Person 12-14)
William Cuthill, aged 13, from Angus has Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, which can cause painful joint flare-ups. William, who has always remained cheerful and optimistic, has raised more than £5,000 for the Teapot Trust charity, for which he is a youth ambassador.
Luke Fisher (Inspirational Young Person 15-18)
Luke Fisher, 17, from South Glamorgan, has schizencephaly, a rare condition causing damage to the brain resulting in profound physical disabilities and health conditions. His condition means he is immobile and is wholly dependent on others for activities of daily living. Despite all his health problems, Luke has been hardworking and dedicated with his attendance at school and despite the pandemic, he continues to work hard in sixth form.
Harry said he was "in awe" of the families he met
Isaac Vials Moore (Young Carer 4-11)
Isaac, ten, from Crosby in Liverpool and has only ever wanted to help care for his younger sister, Gwen, since she was born with complex medical needs. He is unfailingly kind and proactive in supporting both Gwen and his mum Cora, who is also unwell, whilst coping with his own diagnosis of ADHD and autism spectrum disorder. As well as fundraising for charities, he helped his mum with Gwen's online learning and adapted his own indoor exercise routine to support his sister’s physiotherapy. The result was that Gwen, who adores her big brother, took her first steps in years.
Gracie Davis (Young Carer 12-18)
Gracie, aged 13, from Greenwich in London, provides invaluable and sometimes life-saving support to her older brother, Alfie, who has Type I diabetes.
Rhea Talwar (Special Recognition)
Croydon 18-year-old Rhea, was born with cerebral palsy and is now extremely ill, facing life-threatening health crises every day. Rhea, who is blind, has limited movement and uncontrolled epilepsy faces many challenges but this amazing young woman continues to defy the odds. Over the past year, She has set up a business making greetings cards, undertook sponsored walks in her wheelchair and has been growing her hair to donate to make wigs for children who have lost their hair during cancer treatment.
Harvey Eustace (Special Recognition)
Harvey Eustace, aged 11, from the West Midlands, has autism and ADHD. During lockdown, he designed a memory garden for the local park, a place for those who have lost someone and maybe couldn't go to their funeral due to restrictions in place.
Becky Bedford (Nurse Award winner)
Becky Bedford, a Clinical Nurse Specialist for Epilepsy and Neurodisability at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has won the Best Nurse category. Becky was nominated by two colleagues who praised her tireless work over last summer to ensure her complex needs patients who required aerosol generated procedures (AGPs) were treated equally and could return to school with their peers and not be left in lockdown.
Dulcie Scott (Volunteer Award winner)
Dulcie Scott from Gloucestershire has been named as Volunteer winner of the awards. Dulcie is a costume supervisor in the world of film and tv, working on big productions such as Downton Abbey. When productions shutdown at the start of lockdown, Dulcie bought some fabric to make scrubs for NHS and charity workers to hand out for free. Her Go Fund Me page raised over £100,000 and WellChild distributed thousands of items made by Dulcie and her team to families with seriously ill children across the UK.
Dr Chris Grime (Doctor Award winner)
Dr Chris Grime is a Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. He was nominated for an Award by Sarah Mogan, mum to Harry who is treated at the hospital for complex health needs.
Anna-Marie McLachlan (Outstanding Professional)
Anna-Marie, originally from Scotland, has supported the Park family in Oxfordshire for the past nine years, in particular looking after 12-year-old Meriel who was born with a rare congenital muscle disorder. Together they have successfully accomplished several fundraising challenges, including reaching the summit of Snowdon, and written and illustrated a book about this to raise funds for charity.
For more information, visit wellchild.org.uk.
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