The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have appealed to well-wishers wanting to mark their son’s second birthday to donate money to pay for Covid vaccinations in disadvantaged countries.
Harry and Meghan have issued a joint statement thanking those who have offered “warmth and support” for their family during the past two years in honour of Archie’s birthday, gestures which had left them “deeply touched”.
The couple also said they were “incredibly grateful” to those well-wishers who had given money to good causes, volunteered or raised donations on behalf of their son.
Royal fans were given a tantalising glimpse of Archie in a new photograph of the young royal featured on the website of the Sussexes’ Archewell foundation.
The two-year-old was shown, in the sepia-toned image, with his back to the camera in a garden setting, holding a very large bunch of helium-inflated balloons.
In the signed statement, posted on the Archewell website, Harry and Megan said: “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 five dollars (£3.60), 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 organisations, that five dollars you give will automatically turn into 20 dollars (£14.40) — covering the cost of four doses.”
The Sussexes went on to say: “We cannot think of a more resonant way to honour our son’s birthday. 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.
“Together, we can uplift, protect and care for one another.”
At the weekend Harry appeared with a host of famous names from the worlds of music, film and politics at Global Citizen’s Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World, a charity performance in aid of the international Covid vaccination effort.
Speaking to an animated crowd of only fully vaccinated guests, the duke asked for vaccines to be “distributed to everyone everywhere”, while also saluting frontline medical workers both at the concert and around the world.
The Sussexes also said in their statement that despite the world being on a path to Covid recovery, “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% 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.”
Donations will go to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which is co-ordinating Covax – the global programme to ensure a fair distribution of Covid jabs – with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organisation.
The royal family have wished Archie Mountbatten-Windsor a happy second birthday through their social media accounts.
The Queen, in a message on the official royal family Twitter account, accompanied by a PA news agency photograph of her great-grandson with his parents days after he was born, said: “Wishing Archie Mountbatten-Windsor a very happy 2nd birthday today.”
And Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, shared a photo, taken by fashion photographer Chris Allerton, of Harry proudly showing Archie off to the child’s grandfather at his christening.
Harry’s brother, the Duke of Cambridge, and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, also wished Archie a “very happy” birthday, alongside another christening photo showing the family together.