Back to work! Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped out in New York City on Saturday, September 25, for a joint appearance at the Global Citizen Festival.
The pair held hands and smiled on the main stage before giving an impassioned speech about the COVID-19 vaccine. Harry, 37, looked dapper in a fitted suit, while his wife, 40, donned a short-sleeved white dress with embellished floral accents. Harry began his speech with “My wife and I,” which was met with plenty of crowd enthusiasm.
“The crowd loved them!!! Yelling for them before they were even on the stage! 😍,” one Twitter user noted on Saturday.
Harry and Meghan encouraged the attendees and television viewers to get vaccinated if they haven’t already.
“Look at all of us here! 60,000 strong, together in New York City,” the military veteran bellowed on the stage. “Are we prepared to do what’s necessary to end this pandemic?”
“Hi, everybody,” the Northwestern University alum chimed in. “It is so good to be back here with all of you. Look, we know that it feels like this pandemic has been going on forever. We get it, it’s been a lot and some people are just over it. But, if everyone’s over it, it’s never going to be over. There’s so much that we can do today, now, that can get us closer to ending this pandemic and that’s why we’re all here. We’re able to be here tonight because the most brilliant scientists, researchers, frontline workers and selfless public health leaders have risked their lives to protect our global community. They are our humanitarian heroes.”
Harry continued, “Since this pandemic began, we’ve been talking to the experts about how we can do our part. This week, we sat with independent health leaders to further understand how we get closer to vaccine equity and ending this health crisis, but we’re battling more than a virus alone. This is a battle of misinformation, bureaucracy [and] lack of transparency.”
The couple went on to talk about equal access to vaccines. “My wife and I believe,” Harry started but the crowd erupted into cheering and applause. Harry looked over at Meghan and pulled her close. She reached her arm around his back and leaned her head onto his shoulder, delighting the supportive crowd.
The duke continued with a chuckle, “My wife and I believe the way you are born should not dictate your ability to survive.”
Meghan added, “Especially when the treatments exist to keep you safe.”
The royal couple kicked off their New York tour with a visit to the One World Trade Center observatory on Thursday, September 23. The England native and the Remember Me actress held hands as they met with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Kathy Hochul. The pair’s visit to the WTC memorial marked their first joint outing since welcoming their daughter, Lili, earlier this year.
It was announced on Tuesday, September 21, that the royal couple would attend Global Citizen Live in NYC’s Central Park. Global Citizen explained via a statement at the time that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex aimed to “continue their urgent work with world leaders in the pursuit of global vaccine equity to end the COVID-19 pandemic for everyone, everywhere” through this appearance.
Earlier this month, the BetterUp Chief Impact Officer virtually attended the 24th British GQ Men of the Year Awards to honor the University of Oxford team of scientists who developed the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine amid the pandemic.
“I’m deeply honored to be introducing our final awardees, who you’ll immediately recognize for their landmark contribution to the fight against COVID-19,” the England native said in his September 1 speech. “Our heroes of this evening are Professor Sarah Gilbert, Doctor Catherine Green and the entire team of dedicated Oxford scientists. Their breakthrough research on the Oxford vaccine has brought the world one of our greatest tools for achieving vaccine equity. Their breakthrough research on the Oxford vaccine has brought the world one of our greatest tools for achieving vaccine equity.”
During his virtual appearance, Harry praised the team’s humanitarian efforts before noting that both he and his wife have been trying to do their part as well by speaking with vaccine experts, industry leaders and community advocates. The military veteran also detailed the importance of vaccine accessibility and the widespread misinformation about its efficacy before urging attendees to “keep doing our part.”
“We cannot move forward together unless we address this imbalance as one,” he said at the time. “This is a system we need to break if we are to overcome COVID-19 and the rise of new variants. The Oxford Team have done their part. They are heroes of the highest order who gave us an instrument to fight this disease. They are our nation’s pride, and we are deeply indebted to their service.”
The pair were previously credited as campaign cochairs at the Global Citizen’s VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World in May.
During the May 2 taping, the Duke of Sussex appeared at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, giving an impassioned speech about the COVID-19 vaccine.
“This pandemic cannot end unless we act collectively with an unprecedented commitment to our shared humanity. The vaccine must be distributed to everyone everywhere. We cannot rest or truly recover until there is fair distribution to every corner of the world,” Harry said at the time. “The mission in front of us is one we cannot afford to fail out and that’s what tonight is about. The virus does not respect borders and access to the vaccine cannot be determined by geography. It must be accepted as a basic right for all, and that is our starting point.”
The Global Citizen concert taping marked the Archewell cofounder’s first public appearance since his grandfather Prince Philip’s funeral in the U.K. one month earlier. The Suits alum, who skipped the funeral and concert while she was pregnant with the pair’s second child, stayed home with their son Archie, 2.
The Montecito, California, residents later welcomed their daughter, Lili, in June.
“It is with great joy that Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, welcome their daughter, Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, to the world,” the couple announced via a statement on their Archewell website at the time. “Lili was born on Friday, June 4 at 11:40 a.m. in the trusted care of the doctors and staff at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California.”
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Reporting by Sarah Hearon and ElizaBeth Taylor