The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were out on Thursday evening for the first time this week as they prepare for their final round of engagements as senior, working members of the Royal Family.
Harry and Meghan attended the Endeavour Fund Awards, an awards scheme set up by the Royal Foundation under Harry’s umbrella of work, which honours hardworking and inspiring members of the Armed Forces community who were injured in service and have found the strength to face their challenges, create new lives for themselves, and inspire others.
The Endeavour Fund Awards are awarded on merits based upon how the Endeavour Fund has helped nominees “to utilise sport or adventurous challenge as part of their own recovery, their adjustment to life after the military and in most cases, how they have helped others at the same time,” per the organisation’s official website.
At Mansion House in London, the royals attended the award ceremony and each presented an award. A total of four awards are handed out: Recognising Achievement, Celebrating Excellence, Community Impact, and The Henry Worsley Award.
The Lord Mayor of London presented the Recognising Achievement Award to Danny Holland, who used his moment on stage to propose to his girlfriend, Lauren.
The Award is presented to an individual “who has best utilised their endeavour to promote and catalyse their recovery,” and Holland received it for training to become a racing driver after an IED explosion in Afghanistan impacted his mental health.
As Meghan presented the Celebrating Excellence Award, she gave a short speech, saying, “It’s very nice to be back. Its the third year I’ve had the incredible fortune of joining my husband here. It’s just the most inspiring space.
“When we were watching the [nomination] videos all the way in Canada we had the same moment of “how are you going to choose?’ Well, we’ve done our best.”
The Celebrating Excellence Award was presented to Lee Spencer, though his wife accepted the honour from Meghan on his behalf. Spencer lost his right leg in an accident while responding to the scene, and has since gone on to become a rower. He has four Guinness World Records and rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in 36 days, breaking a record previously set by an able-bodied person.
Ross Kemp presented the Community Impact Award, which recognises a team that has “contributed the most to their community and made a positive impact on those around them,” to the Superhero Tri Series.
The Series is “the UK’s one and only disability sports series for the Everyday Superhero! Our mission is simple: to create fun, full-throttle mass-participation sports events where people with disabilities (AKA Everyday Superheroes) call the shots and don’t have to worry about cut-off times or equipment restrictions,” according to its website.
Prince Harry presented the final award of the evening, The Henry Worsley Award, with Max Worsley, to the individual “who has best-inspired others through the demonstration of determination in the face of adversity, whilst endeavouring to support others with their recovery through sport or adventurous challenge,” according to the Endeavour Fund website.
The Award was presented to Tom Oates, who was nominated by Deptherapy, a diving charity that works to save the ocean. Oates works with the charity after turning to its work following a series of personal difficulties and has now gone on to support others in their journeys with mental health.
The Duke also made a short speech, saying, “Meghan and I are so happy to be back here with you, to celebrate each and every one of you for your achievements, your service and your resilience.”
“For some, the military community represents a brotherhood or sisterhood that no other organisation can provide, and for others, it’s a way of life which you never want to leave. For a lot of us, it’s both. Being able to serve Queen and Country is something we all are rightly proud of, and it never leaves us. Once served, always serving!
“A lot of you tonight have told me you have my back, well I’m also here to tell you, I’ve always got yours.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue their final series of engagements this week, culminating in the Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey on Monday. They will officially step down as senior royals on 31 March.