Prince Harry has been seen for the first time after moving to Los Angeles, in a video call with families of sick children who are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Harry, who moved to California with his wife Meghan, spoke to parents supported by WellChild, a charity he has been a patron of for 10 years.
In a video call, he caught up with families he has followed for several years, as they opened up to him about the difficulties of caring for their sick children in a time when they also have to deal with a global pandemic.
When he was asked how he was Harry answered “not too bad”. He later said to the parents: “I don’t know how you guys feel but presumably some days are way worse than other days, and some days are OK.”
Harry and Meghan will be following California’s strict stay at home guidance as they settle into US life with their son Archie, who is 11-months-old.
He told parents: “I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it is for you guys - having one kid, an 11-month-old, is tough. So to see what you guys are going through, so much respect to you.”
One mother, Leanne Cooper, spoke about her daughter’s daily personal care and how much extra they have to do, while one dad, Craig Hatch admitted he was “frightened” of having to deal with a hospital trip.
Hatch, father of 21-year-old Fraser who has cerebral palsy, said: “I actually had symptoms and I had to self-isolate in the house.”
Harry, who is still called the Duke of Sussex but no longer represents the Queen in any of these events, was helping the charity as it tries to flag the gaps in the government’s listing of ‘vulnerable’ people.
Cooper from Lincoln, whose 13-year-old daughter Sophie has Cerebral palsy, Dystonia, Scoliosis and multiple complex medical needs said: “There is a lot of information out there, but not a lot for vulnerable families and certainly not for children with complex medical needs.
“If we’re in a position where carers can’t come to work because they might be symptomatic, there is no way we would survive when Sophie needs care seven nights a week, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. It is terrifying.”
Harry, 35, said: “Full respect to every single one of you. This is hard on everyone, but it is especially hard on you. I know that WellChild are doing everything they can to support you.”
The charity also spoke about the difficulties of losing income as they aren’t able to host usual events.
The prince asked to see some of the children, inviting them onto the call to speak briefly.
Harry added: “Hopefully, through this video we can make it more clear and obvious to Government and everybody else that you are in the ‘vulnerable’ bracket and WellChild needs more help.
“It is really nice to see you all smiling and happy. Keep going, keep the morale up, keep busy, keep being creative, dare yourself to try new hobbies and I hope to see you all again very, very soon.”
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At the last WellChild awards, attended by the duke and duchess, Harry got emotional on stage when he spoke about attending the year before and knowing Meghan was pregnant but not being able to say.
Harry and Meghan have confirmed they plan to launch a non-profit organisation called Archewell, after papers filed in the USA emerged.
However the actual launch is on hold, and the couple said they wanted to find their role in the coronavirus pandemic response.
The couple’s friend, Dr Jane Goodall, said she had spoken to Harry and that he was “finding life a bit challenging just now”.
They are reported to be house hunting in Malibu, an area of California which his mother Princess Diana was keen to settle after her divorce from Prince Charles.
Harry’s video call comes soon after his brother Prince William released video of him and his wife Kate speaking to pupils and teachers at one of the schools which has remained open to children of key workers during the coronavirus pandemic.