The Duke of Sussex, 38, stepped out at the annual event in London on Thursday. Prince Harry has been a patron of WellChild, a charity that supports seriously ill children and their families, since 2007 and is a regular at their awards ceremonies. Meghan Markle joined him at the event in 2018 and 2019.
After presenting the award for Inspirational Child (aged 4 to 6) to Violet Seymour, Prince Harry gave a speech to the attendees where he spoke about the "joys and challenges that come with parenting."
Harry described himself as a "father of two" — referring to son Prince Archie, 4, and daughter Princess Lilibet, 2 — "and three dogs, so basically five souls." In addition to Meghan's Beagle named Guy who she had before meeting Prince Harry, the couple have also welcomed a black Labrador named Pula and another Beagle named Momma Mia into the family.
Prince Harry continued that he was "acutely aware of the joys and challenges that come with parenting, and that's with kids who aren't facing health challenges."
"To the parent carers in this room, you have my sincerest admiration and respect," he added. "The level of support and responsibility you share daily is unrivaled and without fail. You deserve all the assistance that you need."
Prince Harry previously counted himself as a dad to humans and pets alike. In the Netflix series Heart of Invictus, which premiered last week, he introduced himself by saying: "My name's Harry. On any given day, I’m a dad of two under three-year-olds, got a couple of dogs, [I'm] a husband, I’m founding patron of Invictus Games Foundation. There’s lots of hats one wears, but I believe today is all about Invictus."
At the WellChild Awards, Prince Harry also chatted about Meghan, 42. He said his wife was "very upset that she couldn't be here," Hello! magazine reported.
Prince Harry and Meghan are expected to reunite in a few days in Germany, where they are heading for the sixth installment of the Invictus Games, the Paralympics-style competition for veterans and service personnel that the Duke of Sussex founded.
When Prince Harry started to deliver his speech, he joked that he would "try not to get choked up this year."
At the 2019 event, Prince Harry and Meghan attended for the first time as parents themselves, having welcomed Archie earlier that year. The Duke of Sussex shared that they knew Meghan was pregnant during their visit the previous year (they had yet to publicly share their news), making their visit even more emotional.
"Last year, when my wife and I attended, we knew we were expecting our first child — no one else did at the time, but we did — and I remember…" he said before his voice trailed off as tears welled up in his eyes.
"I remember squeezing Meghan's hand so tight during the awards, both of us thinking what it would be like to be parents one day," he continued. "And more so, what it would be like to do everything we could to protect and help our child should they be born with immediate challenges or become unwell over time."
"And now, as parents, being here and speaking to all of you pulls at my heartstrings in a way I could have never understood until I had a child of my own," Prince Harry added.