Prince Harry has joked about the weight of his unborn child as he joined his wife at an awards ceremony. Harry said ‘there’s a heavy baby in there’ at a reception ahead of the Endeavour Fund Awards, while Meghan praised her husband saying: ‘He’s going to be a good daddy’. The couple attended the glittering event recognising the achievements of men and women who, despite life-changing injuries, accidents or illnesses, have excelled in a sporting or adventure challenge.
Their appearance came after the duchess’ close friends spoke out about the ‘global bullying’ the royal had been experiencing.
One of the five unnamed women told People magazine: ‘Meg has silently sat back and endured the lies and untruths.’ Another friend said the duchess had penned a message to her dad Thomas Markle after she married Harry in May, pleading with him to stop his public criticisms. Meghan’s pals told the magazine: ‘After the wedding she wrote him a letter. She’s like, “Dad, I’m so heartbroken. I love you. I have one father. Please stop victimising me through the media so we can repair our relationship”.’
Cradling her baby bump the heavily pregnant duchess, who wore a tight Givenchy outfit, met nominees alongside her husband at the historic Drapers’ Hall in the City of London. And at the end of the night the duchess presented the celebrating excellence award to Nathan Forster, a former private in the Parachute Regiment, whose left leg was seriously injured in an explosion but he is now a pilot with travel operator Tui. Meghan told the awards ceremony one of the nominees agreed with the couple’s comment that the ‘ripple effect’ of the awards was important. She added: ‘But what I reminded him – and I feel it’s true for all the nominees – is you don’t have that ripple effect unless each of you is brave enough to make that first wave.
Harry and Meghan’s Royal Foundation established the Endeavour Fund to financially support inspiring projects aiding the recovery of veterans. Mr Forster found a new purpose in life after almost losing his leg when he fulfilled a boyhood dream and learnt to fly microlights with the Flying for Freedom charity, which eventually led to his job as a commercial pilot. Harry gave the closing speech during the awards, hosted by former EastEnders star Ross Kemp, and said they now wanted those supported by the fund to have a wider positive effect on the world.
He said: ‘So I’m afraid it’s no longer just about you. It’s also about those around you, your friends and family, those in your local community and the community at large. ‘These endeavours are hopefully not only reminding you that you are valued members of society but also the very best kind of role models we could ask for. ‘So from now on, when you’re getting involved with an endeavour, we’re going to ask you to think about how you will use your experience to impact those around you, be it in your own home or the world at large.’ Kelly Ganfield, winner of the recognising achievement award, made a tearful acceptance speech where she thanked Harry for supporting the UK’s military. The former Corporal, who was medically discharged in 2005, and suffers from visual impairment as well as epilepsy, competed in the 2017 and 2018 Invictus Games, Harry’s sporting championship for wounded military, and joked that Meghan had ‘all this to come’.
Kemp chatted to the royal couple and said Harry praised his documentary about British forces serving in Afghanistan.
The actor said the programme: ‘Sort of changed public opinion in terms of whether people agreed politically with our involvement in Afghanistan. ‘What it changed was that the sympathy went towards the actual soldiers on the ground and their families rather than being a political thing.’ The third award named in memory of adventurer Henry Worsley, who died trying to complete the first unsupported crossing of the Antarctic, was awarded to Shaun Pascoe, a former RAF officer who,after being diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, set up a Forces’ sailing charity.