Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s philanthropic work fighting against racism and oppression around the world was celebrated at the 2022 Ripple of Hope Awards.
The royal couple walked the red carpet at the New York City event hosted by Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, a nonprofit human rights advocacy organization, on Tuesday night. They were joined there by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Bill Russell, Michael Polsky, Brian Moynihan and Frank Baker who were all being honored, per the awards’ website, 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. At the helm of major corporations, this year’s laureates have prioritized equity, inclusivity, and sustainability in the workplace and the world.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were presented with their award by Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, who thanked the busy couple for showing up and explained that they were receiving this recognition because they spoke out against racism within the royal family. She also cited their work raising money for victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, the way they’ve leveraged their platform and the Archewell Foundation in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, partnered with the NAACP to great the first-ever-digital civil rights award, championed global vaccine access during the pandemic, support veterans through the Invictus Games, and advanced gender equality through Meghan’s Archetypes podcast and support of women-owned businesses.
During their acceptance speech, Meghan said, “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 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 a pre-recorded video played during the event, the Duchess, referring to RFK, noted, “He also said those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” Her husband continued, “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.”
Meghan also wore a very meaningful piece of jewelry to accept this honor. The royal opted for a white off-the-shoulder Louis Vuitton dress with a tulip skirt, which she accessorized with only a simply drop earring and an aquamarine ring that belonged to her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana. The Duchess last wore this special jewel as her “something blue” to her wedding reception in 2018. This ring was a particularly important one for Diana as well as she had it commissioned in 1996 as a replacement for her engagement ring following her divorce from Harry’s father, King Charles III. That original sapphire and diamond engagement ring now belongs to Princess Kate as Prince William proposed to her with it in 2010, and Meghan’s engagement ring is also made out of diamonds once owned by Diana.
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