Prince Harry and Meghan Markle braved the rain in New York City as they were honored at the 2022 Ripple of Hope Award on Tuesday night.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Bill Russell, Michael Polsky, Brian Moynihan and Frank Baker as “exemplary leaders across government, business, advocacy, and entertainment who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to social change and worked to protect and advance equity, justice, and human rights,” according to the awards’ site.
Kerry Kennedy — who presented them with the award — praised them for “showing up” and revealed that the RFK Foundation was handing them their award for fighting racism within the royal family.
Once up on stage, Markle praised Kerry’s father, Robert F. Kennedy, saying, “The enduring dream of RFK of a just and peaceful world is so much more than a simple hope. It’s a direct ask, a specific challenge, a call to action, a test of individual courage and collective spirit.
“And his appeal to humanity is as relevant today as it was in 1966 when he stood before the University of Cape Town, a place we’ve visited and hold close to our hearts. And he delivered a vision for the common good of society.”
Harry, 38, added, “Bobby Kennedy said, ‘Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.'”
In their pre-taped video speech, the former actress, 41, continued, “He also said those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
Harry followed up with, “And as we all face a complete and challenging time in the world, we choose the path of optimism of care for each other and our communities. We understand this honor not about the culmination of a life’s work, but instead and in many ways for us, a beginning.”
The couple — who held hands throughout the ceremony — then announced they were teaming up with the RFK Foundation to launch a new student film award called the Archewell Foundation Award for Gender Equity In Film.
Before handing out their award, Kerry called out all the royal couple’s accolades that led to them being honored.
Referring to the tragic fire at London’s Grenfell Tower on June 14, 2017, that killed 72 people, Kerry said: “Prince Harry and Meghan are doing that work. When the inferno destroyed the homes of the ethnically diverse community of Grenfell Tower which included many immigrants they showed up and have been steadfast in their support for survivors.”
The late Queen Elizabeth, then aged 91, was the first royal to attend the scene in an emotional visit two days after the fire. She met weeping victims with Prince William as Harry went on to meet victims and community leaders.
Markle, on the other hand, launched a successful charity cookbook to raise funds for the survivors and to this day, remains in touch with victims.
In her speech, Kerry went on to that “when George Floyd was murdered, they leveraged their platform to support Black Lives Matter.”
She continued, “When Russia invaded Ukraine, they invested in organizations working directly on the ground. They advanced gender equality through honest conversations exploring the origins of stereotypes and by supporting women-led businesses.
“They support veterans through their physical and mental wounds of war through the Invictus Games. They support Afghan refugees seeking resettlement. They advocated for US families who need paid parental leave.
“They partnered with the NAACP to create the first-ever digital civil rights award. They championed vaccine codes and raised funds to purchase doses for frontline healthcare workers.
“They gave children in Lesotho and Botswana better access to healthcare, education and skills. They are standing up, speaking out and taking action to effect cause and change around the globe and for that we celebrate them.”
The couple’s award comes just two days before their bombshell Netflix show premieres, where they will seemingly talk about the constant backlash they received in the UK.
Across the pond, William and Kate Middleton attended a glitzy bash at Buckingham Palace hosted by King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla Parker-Bowles.