Prince Harry is embracing family time during his lockdown with Meghan Markle and their 11-month-old son Archie amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Duke of Sussex, who recently moved to L.A. with his family, shared insight into his isolation period in a special video call with parents and carers in the U.K. who are looking after seriously-ill kids. Last weekend, the new dad, 35, took part in the candid call with two parents, a specially-trained nurse and the head of one of his longstanding charities, WellChild, which provides care for seriously ill children and young people in the U.K.
“There’s a hell of a lot of positives that are happening at the same time and being able to have family time — so much family time — that you almost think, ‘Do I feel guilty for having so much family time?’ ” he shared. “You’ve got to celebrate those moments where you are just on the floor rolling around in hysterics. Inevitably, half an hour later, maybe a day later, there’s going to be something that you have to deal with and there’s no way you can run away from it.”
Harry, who has been patron of WellChild for more than a decade, said, “It’s very nice to see the familiar faces on here.” He went on to praise the families, calling them “super-parents” for their grace under such pressure.
“The resilience and the strength that you guys have is absolutely incredible,” he said. “You must never, ever, ever, ever forget that. 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 at 11 months old is enough!” he said of his son Archie, who turns 1 year old in May.
During the 30-minute call, Harry heard about how the group was coping amid the coronavirus crisis, which has brought extra challenges on already stressed families and carers of ill children. From issues with accessing complex medical care to keeping the virus away from already vulnerable patients and their families, they discussed the special challenges they all face during isolation.
When asked how he was doing, Harry replied: “Not too bad. I think it’s certainly strange times — everyone is experiencing the same thing in a very unique way. But the longer this goes on for, I imagine the harder it is for each and every one of you.”
“It’s all about morale,” he added. “If morale is up, if you wake up in the morning and go, ‘Right, new day, got my whole family here, what are we going to do?’ Of course, there’s that fear of what might happen, but there’s so much that’s out of our control and all of the sudden we’ve realized how small we are in the grand scheme of things.”
Harry may have relocated to the Los Angeles area with his wife and son, but he is keeping up with the same charities and causes that he championed in the U.K. before his royal exit. Among those he spoke to was WellChild Nurse Rachel Gregory, who supports kids and young people who require long term ventilation across Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Derbyshire.
“These children need ’round the clock care, 24 hours a day. You can’t expect parents to do that on their own,” she said. “They have to open their doors at this vulnerable time to external carers, which is a huge concern for them.”
Also on the call was Leanne Cooper from Lincoln, whose 13-year-old daughter Sophie has cerebral palsy, dystonia, scoliosis and multiple complex medical needs.
“There is a lot of information out there, but not a lot for vulnerable families and certainly not for children with complex medical needs,” she said on the call. “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, 24 hours a day. It is terrifying.”
WellChild CEO Colin Dyer told the prince that “basic supplies are needed from food, to cleaning products. A lot of families are finding it difficult getting themselves included on ‘vulnerable’ lists. These families are always isolated and hidden. Now they are more isolated and more hidden than ever before. Getting recognition that they are among the most vulnerable people that we’ve got in this country is really tough because the focus just doesn’t seem to be on families like this.”
And they need to find new ways of raising money so they can continue to help other families. Dyer added, “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.” “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!”