Prince Harry has conducted a personal video call with families caring for seriously ill children at home.
The Duke of Sussex spoke to British families from his lockdown bolthole in Los Angeles, where he is living with wife Meghan and their 11-month-old son Archie.
On the call, Harry told families he ‘felt almost guilty’ about how much ‘family time’ he was having and said he spent his time ‘rolling around in hysterics’.
He also spoke out supporting others struggling with their mental health, adding: ‘If you’ve ever been through that you want to make sure no one else struggles, no one else goes through what you went through.’
He added there were a ‘hell of a lot of positives happening’, adding: ‘Being able to have family time – so much family time that you almost think do I feel guilty.
‘But you have got to celebrate those moments when you are just rolling around on the floor in hysterics.
‘But inventively, maybe half an hour later, a day later, there will be something you have got to deal with.’
The Duke of Sussex spoke to British families from his lockdown bolthole in Los Angeles, where he is living with wife Meghan and their 11-month-old son Archie. On the call, Harry told families he ‘felt almost guilty’ about how much ‘family time’ he was having and said he spent his time ‘rolling around in hysterics’
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are ‘delighted’ as BBC pledges £90,000 generated from wedding broadcast to help hunger charity amid pandemic
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arranged for money generated from their royal wedding broadcast to be used to help feed children during the coronavirus pandemic.
Harry and Meghan asked for £90,000 – the excess profits from the BBC’s broadcast – to be given to the charity Feeding Britain.
A spokesman for the couple said they had been moved to hear of the organisation’s work during the coronavirus crisis.
Harry and Meghan, who have now quit as working royals and are living in the US, phoned the Archbishop of Canterbury, who conducted their marriage ceremony in 2018 and who is president of Feeding Britain, to discuss the donation to the charity’s countrywide projects.
They became aware of Feeding Britain after paying a royal visit to the Feeding Birkenhead community supermarket in Merseyside in January last year, when Meghan was pregnant.
‘The duke and duchess were able to speak to the archbishop recently, and were moved to hear all about the work Feeding Britain was doing to support people during Covid-19,’ a spokesman for the Sussexes said.
‘They have particularly fond memories of their visit to the citizens’ supermarket in Birkenhead, especially the generosity and compassion of everyone working there to help others.
‘They are delighted to be able to ensure this money is donated to such a great cause.’
He told families they were ‘shining examples’ of being ‘super parents’ and asked ‘how they cope’ looking after their children during the pandemic.
The Duke of Sussex spoke to the families over the Easter weekend, in his role as a patron of the WellChild charity.
He said: ‘Let’s focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and keep morale up.’
‘I’ve always thought that if you’ve been through difficult times because every single person has something going on behind those eyes, behind that smile, there’s always something going on and in some cases there’s a lot, in some cases there’s little and in some cases people try and blank it all out.
‘But I think when you’ve been through hard times you really come out so much stronger, not just for yourself and for your family; but for other people as well.
‘And certainly from a mental health point of view if you’ve ever been through that you want to make sure no one else struggles, no one else goes through what you went through.
‘Just check in because that at the end of the day is a really good place to start.’
He told the parents: ‘The resilience and strength that you guys have is absolutely incredible. And you must never ever forget that.
‘And of course there are going to be hard days, I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it is for you guys, having one kid, an 11-month-old, is enough.
‘So, to see what you guys are going through on a day-to-day basis honestly so much respect to every single one of you. You are a shining example of just being super parents.’
Harry then asked to see the children and sent a message of encouragement to the families and their children, who had all joined the call.
He told them: ‘Full respect to every single one of you. This is hard on everyone, but it is especially hard on you. I know that WellChild are doing everything they can to support you.
‘Hopefully, through this video we can make it more clear and obvious to Government and everybody else that you are in the ‘vulnerable’ bracket and WellChild needs more help.
It is really nice to see you all smiling and happy. Keep going, keep the morale up, keep busy, keep being creative, dare yourself to try new hobbies and I hope to see you all again very, very soon!”
Harry told families they were ‘shining examples’ of being ‘super parents’ and asked ‘how they cope’ looking after their children during the pandemic
In the chat, an animated Prince Harry praised the families and WellChild staff members
During the call, The Duke heard about the challenges of social isolation and the fears of families reliant on carers coming into their homes to help with the round-the-clock, complex medical care that their children need.
He also spoke to a WellChild Nurse about the lack of PPE up and down the country.
He also heard how many who have not been included on ‘vulnerable’ lists were struggling to access support and basic supplies.
Craig Hatch from Cumbria cares for his son Fraser, 21 years old, who has Cerebral palsy, Epilepsy, Neuro muscular scoliosis, Osteoporosis, Chronic lung disorder and Type 1 diabetes.
He said: ‘It’s scary. We are frightened because we know that if the virus gets in our house and if Fraser contracts the virus, the implications are quite severe.’
WellChild Nurse Rachel Gregory, who supports children and young people who require long term ventilation across Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire highlighted the worries that families have about letting external carers into their home.
She said: ‘These children need round the clock care, twenty-four hours a day. You can’t expect parents to do that on their own. They have to open their doors at this vulnerable time to external carers, which is a huge concern for them.
WellChild Nurse Rachel Gregory told Harry: ‘There are lots of issues around Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
‘The guidelines come out, but often the supply seems to be lacking or slow to be fulfilled. If we can get that sorted then there can be an element of reassurance for families and carers.’
Leanne Cooper from Lincoln, whose 13-year-old daughter Sophie has Cerebral palsy, Dystonia, Scoliosis and multiple complex medical needs said: ‘There is a lot of information out there, but not a lot for vulnerable families and certainly not for children with complex medical needs.
‘If we’re in a position where carers can’t come to work because they might be symptomatic, there is no way we would survive when Sophie needs care seven nights a week, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. It is terrifying.’
Harry was told how some families were struggling to be recognised on ‘vulnerable’ lists, causing difficulties in accessing supplies, from food to PPE.
The Duke, who has been Patron of WellChild for more than 10 years, asked about how the charity, which is totally reliant on voluntary funding, was coping following income lost through the cancellation, or postponement of key fundraising events and activities.
WellChild CEO Colin Dyer said: ‘On the one hand, WellChild and lots of other charities are in the middle of trying to adapt to help the very people we are here to help, but on the other hand we are in survival mode.
‘We are trying to make sure that we can access as much funding as we can so that on the other side of this, we are still here, because families will need us more than ever.’