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Prince Harry remembers late Queen at Wellchild Awards ahead of first anniversary of her death

The Duke of Sussex said his late grandmother Queen Elizabeth II "is looking down on all of us" as he spoke at a charity awards event on the eve of the anniversary of her death.

Prince Harry attended the the WellChild Awards ceremony in London on Thursday night, his first appearance in the UK since June.

In a speech at the ceremony, which celebrates seriously ill children and their families, the duke said: "As you know, I was unable to attend the awards last year as my grandmother passed away.

"As you also probably know, she would have been the first person to insist that I still come to be with you all instead of going to her, and that's precisely why I know exactly one year on that she is looking down on all of us tonight, happy we're together, continuing to spotlight such an incredible community."

The duke earlier met WellChild Awards winners as he made his first appearance in the UK since June on Thursday.

He cut a relaxed figure as he sat with seriously ill children and their families during a pre-ceremony reception at The Hurlingham Club in south-west London on Thursday.

 (PA)
(PA)

He spoke with them about their interests and hobbies and had several joking interactions with their accompanying balloons, which were shaped as different animals.

It was the first time the royal had been seen in the UK since his high-profile legal case at the High Court against Mirror Group Newspapers earlier in the year.

The event was also being staged on the eve of the first anniversary of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Last year’s awards were held on the day the Queen died, forcing the duke and duchess to withdraw from the event as Harry flew to Scotland to be with other members of the royal family.

Harry, a WellChild patron for 15 years, also said in his speech: “As a father of two – and three dogs, so basically five – I’m acutely aware of the many joys and challenges that come with parenting,” he added.

 (PA)
(PA)

“And that’s with kids who aren’t facing health challenges. So, to the parent carers in the room, you have my sincerest admiration and respect.

“The level of support and responsibility you share daily is unrivalled and without fail.

“You deserve all the assistance you need – whether it’s training enough skilled carers to help shoulder the increasing demands of 24/7 care routines or simply providing time and space for you to take a break once in a while.

“It is our collective responsibility to continue to provide new and existing resources for you, to advocate on your behalf, and to help in any way we can.

“You are proof that not all superheroes wear capes!”

The duke smiled and posed for photos as he arrived at the awards.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

He said earlier: “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 wellbeing of these individuals and their families.”