Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attended the WellChild Awards, which honors the achievements of children and young people with serious illnesses and their caretakers, today in London. The Duke of Sussex has been a patron of the organization for eleven years, with the evening marking Meghan's first time attending the yearly event.
"You have shown all of us what it means to be a champion—whether for yourself, your family, your community, or someone in need," Harry told the nominees during his speech.
The couple also took time to meet with each of the nominees individually.
Matilda, 7, has Spina Bifida and is paralyzed from the chest down, according to Kensington Palace. She talked to the Duke and Duchess about her dream of becoming a nurse.
According to royal reporters, she gave Meghan a bouquet of white roses, but the Duchess picked one out and gave it back so Matilda could put it in her memory box. Prince Harry also made her pinky promise to "never stop smiling."
Matilda revealed she had watched Harry and Meghan's wedding in May and was looking forward to meeting them, royal commentator Omid Scobie tweeted.
The couple also met with four-year-old Mckenzie, a WellChild Award winner who learned to speak, swallow, eat, drink, and move again after a virus left him paralyzed, according to the palace.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also met with Cameron, 16, who was born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy that kept him in the hospital for much of the first three years of his life, Kensington Palace tweeted. Now, he's a junior political editor for a magazine.
Meeting #WellChildAwards Winner Cameron, aged 16, born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, and spent most of his first three years in hospital.
He is now junior political editor for a magazine and has interviewed politicians at the Scottish and English Parliament. pic.twitter.com/ZeDLXhhArU— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) September 4, 2018
They also sat with 16-year-old Evie, who was born with spina bifida but has won several show jumping awards and became a mentor for young people with health problems, according to the Palace.
The duo went on to share smiles with Chloe, 10, who was born with cerebral palsy that left her unable to walk. In 2014, she became the first disabled child to pass the pre-primary ballet award at the Royal Academy of Dance, Scobie reports.
Scarlett, 10, also got to spend some time with the Duke and Duchess. Harry even gave her a shoutout in his speech:
"At 10 years old, she plays a key role in caring for her sister Freya—and I know that there have been occasions when she has taken the lead in managing Freya’s feeding and oxygen when helping her grandmother on the very rare occasions when her parents have taken a few much-needed hours for themselves."
Congratulations to #WellChildAwards Winner Scarlett, aged 10. Scarlett cares for her older sister Freya, who is severely disabled. She helps with everything from using her feed pump and operating Freya's bed and hoist, to helping her parents give medicine. pic.twitter.com/vUvK9rKXjF— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) September 4, 2018
The Palace reported that 12-year-old Jake, who has spinal muscular atrophy, was often told he couldn't audition for roles—until last December, when he landed a lead part. Harry looked impressed.
Jacob, 17, cares for his sister, Melissa, who has Angelman syndome, Kensington Palace tweeted. She seemed over the moon to meet Harry and Meghan.
The Sussexes also talked to 10-year-old Jamie, who suffers from CIPO, which severely affects his intestines, the palace said.
Meeting #WellChildAwards Winner Jamie, aged 10, who has a complex range of conditions, including CIPO which severely affects his intestines.
Jamie has made astounding progress at his new school, and completed the 2017 Parallel London 1K Super Sensory Run in his walker. pic.twitter.com/5IozWKGmjK— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) September 4, 2018
They also spoke to (and enjoyed balloon animals with) 13-year-old Poppy, an awardee who has Panenteric Crohns Disease. Still, she's active in school and involved with debate society, drama club, and even studying Latin, per the palace.
The sweet moments didn't stop there. Harry also gave high-fives to a group of young attendees.
And he made silly faces with seven-year-old Ruby, who grabbed ahold of his tie, Daily Mail's royal correspondent Rebecca English tweeted.
The Duke of Sussex also gave the Duchess a shoutout for joining him in his work supporting the charity, saying he's "especially grateful to be able to share the scope and magnitude of this work with my wife, who joins me here this evening."