United Kingdom

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle urge fans to make vaccine donation for Archie's birthday

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle today urged supporters to make a $5 donation to vaccine distribution in developing countries to mark Archie's second birthday. 

The Duke, 36, and Duchess of Sussex, 39, shared a lengthy post on their Archewell Foundation site calling for royal fans to support GAVI, a vaccine alliance which buys COVID-19 vaccines for the world.

The Sussexes said a $5 donation would be matched by organisations supporting the appeal to become $20 - which would cover the purchase of four vaccines.  

'We cannot think of a more resonant way to honor our son’s birthday,' they said. 'If we all show up, with compassion for those we both know and don’t know, we can have a profound impact. Even a small contribution can have a ripple effect.' 

The couple also shared an open letter to the CEOs of vaccine producers including Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca to urge them to ensure their vaccines are accessible to the developing world. AstraZeneca has already vowed not to profit from the vaccine during the pandemic. 

Harry and Meghan did not share an up to date photograph of their son for the big day, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge do each year with their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

Last year the couple released a video in which Meghan was reading Archie, the seventh-in-line to the British throne, a story. 

The appeal comes days after Prince Harry joined A-list Hollywood celebrities at Vax Live - a concert to raise money for GAVI. The Sussexes have not revealed if they have contributed. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have urged supporters to make a donation to a vaccine equity campaign to mark their son Archie's second birthday

Prince Harry, 36, and Meghan Markle's, 39, son Archie will 'have a video call date with the Queen and his cousins' today for his birthday, a royal expert has revealed

The appeal works by donors clicking through the Archewell website, which takes them to a page run by Global Citizen, a global anti-poverty campaign which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex regularly partner with. 

They can then donate $5, which is matched by the Mastercard Impact Fund, the card giant's philanthropic arm; the Seadream Family Foundation, a charitable project linked to a company; and one unnamed 'public charity', up to a maximum of $1,000,000 each. 

The resulting $20 donation will then go to GAVI, or the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, which buys Covid vaccines for developing countries with the support of countries including the UK, which has pledged billions worth of funding. 

In a post shared on their Archewell site, and signed 'Harry and Meghan', the couple wrote: 'We have been deeply touched over the past two years to feel the warmth and support for our family in honor of Archie’s birthday. 

'Many of you donate to charities on his behalf, and mark the occasion by giving back or doing an act of service—all through the goodness of your hearts. You raise funds for those who need it most, and continue to do so organically and selflessly. We remain incredibly grateful.'

They continued: 'This year, our world continues to be on the path to recovery from COVID-19. Yet too many families are still struggling with the impact of this pandemic. While some places are on the verge of healing, in so many parts of the world, communities continue to suffer. 

'As of today, around 80 percent of the nearly one billion COVID-19 vaccine shots that have been given were administered in wealthier countries. 

'While we may feel that normalcy is around the corner, we remind ourselves that in much of the world, and especially in developing countries, vaccine distribution has effectively yet to start.'

'We will not be able to truly recover until everyone, everywhere, has equal access to the vaccine.

'And with that intention, we are inviting you to contribute whatever you can—if you have the means to do so—to bring vaccines to families in the world’s most vulnerable places.

'For a donation of just $5, you can cover the cost of a dose for someone in need. And because we were able to secure matching support from a number of organizations, that $5 you give will automatically turn into $20—covering the cost of four doses. 

'Every single dollar counts—not only will it help save lives but it will help save families and communities.'

Katie Nicholl said Prince Harry and Prince William, 38, would put their differences to one side and come together for a call with Kate Middleton, 39, and Prince George, seven, Princess Charlotte, six, and Prince Louis, three, for the occasion

They finished the post: 'Together, we can uplift, protect, and care for one another.'

On Sunday, Prince Harry had his name in lights as he was greeted with wild cheers and a standing ovation by a rapturous crowd during a speech at a star-studded concert in Los Angeles, while his heavily pregnant wife Meghan Markle stayed at home. 

Harry told the audience of vaccinated frontline workers 'every single one of you are awesome' before urging them to 'look beyond ourselves' at the star studded event.

After an announcer read out an introduction, 'Please welcome Vax Live campaign chair Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex', the royal walked onto the stage to a rock star-style reception, with his name beamed in giant letters on a flashing screen behind him.

Harry, who appeared in public for the first time since the funeral of his grandfather, Prince Philip, delivered a five-minute address calling for vaccines to be shared with poorer countries, which was regularly punctuated by more rapturous cheers. 

Speaking in a markedly different accent than his previous Queen's English, Harry said: 'We must look beyond ourselves with empathy and compassion for those we know, and those we don't. We need to lift up all of humanity and make sure that no person or community is left behind.'

The appeal comes days after Prince Harry joined A-list Hollywood celebrities at Vax Live - a concert to raise money for GAVI 

Harry's name in lights at the event, which was attended by a series of Hollywood A-listers including Jennifer Lopez 

The event - which was being recorded for broadcast on TV on May 8 - was the first speech Harry had given since he and Meghan made a series of damning claims about their family during an appearance on Oprah. The Duchess of Sussex is expected to be recording a message to appear in the final broadcast. 

The royal was among many high profile stars - including Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez, Gayle King and Ben Affleck - to take the stage at Vax Live, which was hosted by campaign organisation Global Citizen at the So-Fi Stadium in Inglewood. 

The announcement today after a royal expert said birthday boy Archie will 'have a video date with the Queen and his cousins' to celebrate his big day.  

Royal expert Katie Nicholl said Prince Harry and Prince William, 38, would put their differences to one side and come together for a Zoom call with Kate Middleton, 39, and Prince George, seven, Princess Charlotte, six, and Prince Louis, three, for the occasion. 

Speaking to Okay! magazine, she said Harry, Meghan and Archie would also likely join the Queen for a call, adding: 'Lockdown is lifting and the sun in California is shining – I'm sure they'll have a lovely celebration at home...Harry will make a really big fuss of Archie.'

Katie said Prince Harry faces a difficult challenge in trying to help his children bond with their cousins.

She revealed: 'He always wanted his children to grow up close to William and Kate's...Sadly it's looking increasingly unlikely for Archie.' 

Audience members cheer during Global Citizen Vax LiveThe Concert To Reunite The World at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California

Meanwhile despite difficulties in their relationship over the last 18 months, she said it was 'hard to imagine' the Cambridge's wouldn't be in touch with the Sussexes on Archie's birthday. 

Earlier today the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William and Kate Middleton all publicly sent well-wishes to Archie on his second birthday.

The official Royal Family Instagram account led the birthday greetings this morning with a photo of Harry and Meghan introducing their son to the world at Windsor Castle in May 2019.

Prince Charles and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge followed suit with photographs taken at Archie's Christening in July 2019.

The day will be a particularly poignant as the Royal Family have not seen Archie in 18 months. 

The toddler, who is seventh-in-line to the throne, was last in the UK in the autumn of 2019, before the Sussexes left to spend Christmas in Canada.

On Archie's first birthday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a video of him reading a book with his mother in support of Save The Children but it remains to be seen if fans will be given a fresh glimpse of the toddler today.

Harry and Meghan's open letter to pharma bosses  

To Albert Bourla, CEO Pfizer; Stéphane Bancel, CEO Moderna; Pascal Soriot, CEO AstraZeneca; Alex Gorsky, CEO Johnson & Johnson; Stanley Erck, CEO Novavax:

The world owes you gratitude for leading the successful development and manufacturing of safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19. This was achieved in record time, amidst a once-in-a-century global pandemic. It’s truly a testament to what can be achieved when partners work together towards a shared goal.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated health, social, and economic inequality globally. The global vaccine rollout thus far further deepens these disparities, with the poorest and most marginalized populations most adversely impacted. As of May 1, over 80% of the 1.2 billion vaccine doses administered globally have occurred in high-and upper-middle-income countries while the very lowest-income countries have administered just 0.4%.

As we are seeing in countries like India, the urgency to deliver doses now to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19 is only increasing. That’s why it is imperative that we ensure equitable vaccine access globally so that people are protected, economies can recover, and this global pandemic can be brought to an end everywhere.

Therefore we, the undersigned, stand with Global Citizens who want to see COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers act with extraordinary purpose, responsibility, and leadership in response to this equity crisis, including through the following actions:

Moderna — We are pleased to see Moderna finally join the global vaccine initiative, COVAX, but the world’s poorest countries cannot wait until the end of the year to access your life-saving vaccine. We therefore call on you to move up your delivery schedule with COVAX and increase the promised 2021 volume to at least 100 million doses.

Pfizer — To date, Pfizer/BioNTech have only promised 40 million doses to COVAX, the fewest among vaccine producers. We call on you to commit at least 100 million additional doses to COVAX at a not-for-profit price and to deliver them as soon as possible this year.

All — Every possible measure to increase global supply must be on the table, including the temporary suspension of intellectual property and extraordinary global public-private collaboration resulting in wider transfer of technology and know-how. We call on each of you to end your opposition to these measures and work collaboratively with the global community to achieve universal access.

If we work together in the global public interest, we will save lives at risk and we will defeat this deadly pandemic.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. 

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