Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have arrived at a mental health summit in New York City in a convoy of seven blacked-out vehicles – five months after the pair were involved in what they described as a ‘near catastrophic car chase’ in Manhattan.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are due to host a panel discussion today at the World Mental Health Day Festival in what marks their first-ever in-person event for their charity, the Archewell Foundation.
Meghan, 42, arrived at the summit sporting a strapless white jumpsuit and matching white heels, while her husband, 39, donned a dapper navy suit.
Their appearance at the festival comes just hours after Harry’s brother Prince William and his wife Princess Kate hosted their own mental health day event in the West Midlands.
Today’s event, which will see the couple joined by Today show host Carson Daly and US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, will see Harry, 39, and Meghan, 42, making their first joint appearance in New York since the notorious ‘car chase’ that they were caught up in back in May, after attending the Women of Vision awards.
On this occasion, the pair appeared to have taken rather stringent steps to ensure their safety – with a marked NYPD escort accompanying their SUV fleet to the event location at Hudson Yards.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle put on a stylish show as they arrived in New York today, before hosting a World Mental Health Day event
Meghan, 42, was seen sporting a glamorous white strapless dress as she arrived at the Hudson Yards venue for the summit, which will see the couple discussing social media dangers
Both Meghan and Harry appeared somber as they sat down at the event, which will see parents who have suffered ‘loss connected to their child’s social media use’
Questions still remain over Harry and Meghan’s account of the car chase, which a statement from the couple’s spokesperson described as being ‘near catastrophic’.
The spokesman said the couple, as well as Meghan’s mom Doria Ragland, were the victims of a ‘relentless pursuit lasting more than two hours’ at the hands of ‘highly aggressive paparazzi’.
It has been suggested that they were trying not to be followed to where they were staying on the Upper East Side of the city.
However, New York police subsequently told NBC that they did not believe the chase was ‘near catastrophic’, instead describing it as a ‘bit of a chaotic scene’.
Julian Phillips, deputy commissioner of public information in New York also revealed that the NYPD ‘assisted’ the couple’s private security team.
Meanwhile, New York Mayor Eric Adams expressed empathy – describing the actions of the paparazzi as ‘reckless’ and ‘irresponsible’ – but said he would find it ‘hard to believe’ there was a two-hour high speed chase.
On this occasion, Harry and Meghan have seemingly taken every precaution, arriving at Hudson Yards in a fleet of blacked-out vehicles, which pulled directly into an underground garage, where they were quickly surrounded by several security guards.
Before arriving at Hudson Yards, the couple paid a visit to the Marcy Lab School in Brooklyn, which is described as an ‘alternative to college’ that ‘prepares young adults of color for rewarding, wealth-generating careers in the tech sector’ within just one year of education.
The couple arrived at the World Mental Health Day Festival in Manhattan in a fleet of seven blacked-out vehicles
Harry, 39, and Meghan, 42, drove straight into an underground garage where they were closely monitored by a team of security guards
The visit marks the first time that they have returned to New York since their May visit, when they say they were involved in a ‘near catastrophic car chase’
Images shared by Harry and Meghan’s friend and go-to media member Omid Scobie show the duo posing alongside several students at the school, with the Duchess sporting black skinny jeans, a form-fitting black top, and a pair of heels – along with a letterman jacket that she received from a debate team at a school in the UK back in March 2020.
‘Today, Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan visited @MarcyLabSchool in New York,’ Scobie wrote.
‘It’s one of America’s only alternatives to a traditional four-year college, offering a one-year, full-time fellowship in software engineering. Students pay no fees—it’s funded by philanthropic support.
‘Fun fact: Meghan’s varsity letterman jacket was given to her by the debate team at the Robert Clack School in Essex, England during her March 2020 visit.’
Scobie added that Harry and Meghan joined a ‘mindful meditation session’ during which the students open up about how they are feeling. He said that the Duke of Sussex advised the class: ‘If one of you starts to go quiet, doesn’t show up, you need to find out why.’
After departing the school, the pair made their way to Hudson Yards to begin preparing for their summit.
They made their appearance at the venue at around 11:30AM, two hours before they are scheduled to take to the stage for the event, which is titled: The Archewell Foundation Parents’ Summit: Mental Wellness in a Digital Age.
During the event, the couple will endeavor to ‘give voice to families who are passionate about building a safer online world for children and teens’, according to a statement shared with People.
They will discuss initiatives that are ‘creating positive change’ and speak with parents who have suffered ‘tragic loss connected to their child’s social media use’.
People reported earlier this month that Harry and Meghan had been working with the parents that will take part in the summit ahead of the event.
Today’s event will see the couple sitting down with parents who have suffered ‘tragic loss connected to their child’s social media use’
‘The families have been engaged with The Archewell Foundation for the past year, bolstering community and driving towards solutions,’ a spokesperson said.
‘Together, they are united in their mission to share personal experiences, data, and research to ensure the same does not happen to other families.’
In a segment on this morning’s Today show, Carson, 50, who has been an outspoken advocate for mental health care, revealed that he has been working with Harry and Meghan behind the scenes, while offering some more details about what their event will entail.
‘I’ll be with Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess, behind the scenes with their foundation,’ he shared. ‘They’ve been doing a tremendous amount of work [and] we’re going to talk today about a struggle that parents have in a digital age for their kids with social media.’
Prince Harry and Meghan have both been incredibly outspoken about the importance of mental health care and advocacy, with the Duke of Sussex appearing in an Apple TV+ documentary dedicated entirely to mental health struggles, which he co-created with Oprah Winfrey.
In the series, titled The Me You Can’t See, Harry opened up about the therapy he had been undergoing in order to overcome his childhood trauma.
He was filmed having EMDR therapy, which aims to help someone come to terms with trauma. This saw Harry carry out a series of movements such as closing his eyes and crossing his arms while remembering past events.
The Duke has also spoken out about the dangers of social media on a number of occasions, penning an opinion piece back in August 2020 in which he alleged that it was stoking a ‘crisis of hate’.
In the piece, which was written for business magazine Fast Company and was headlined ‘Social media is dividing us. Together, we can redesign it,’ Harry said that social media, as it stood, was ‘unwell’.
‘The digital landscape is unwell and companies like yours have the chance to reconsider your role in funding and supporting online platforms that have contributed to, stoked, and created the conditions for a crisis of hate, a crisis of health, and a crisis of truth,’ he wrote.
He called for online communities to be ‘defined more by compassion than hate; by truth instead of misinformation; by equity and inclusiveness instead of injustice and fearmongering; by free, rather than weaponised, speech.’
Harry and Meghan’s summit event comes just hours after Prince William and Princess Kate hosted their own youth-focused Mental Health Day event in the UK, where they hosted a forum for young people, which focused on the importance of understanding emotions and building positive relationships.
The Princess of Wales added a very special element to her outfit for the day, donning a pair of star-shaped earrings that were given to her by a grieving mother who had them made in memory of her daughter, who tragically took her own life at the age of 17 after struggling with depression.
Kate promised mother Sarah Renton that she would wear the jewelry after receiving the earrings back in June – and she honored that pledge today when she joined the Prince of Wales, 41, for a public engagement in the West Midlands city to mark World Mental Health Day.
Harry and Meghan’s appearance in New York comes just hours after the Prince and Princess of Wales hosted their own World Mental Health Day event in the UK
Kate added a special element to her outfit for the day, donning a pair of star-shaped earrings that were given to her by a grieving mother who had them made in memory of her daughter
After meeting Kate earlier this year, Mrs Renton – a rugby coach – said: ‘My daughter Issy took her own life.
‘The proceeds from the earrings are going to a charity called Brave Minds, a mental health charity that supports children using the platforms of rugby clubs. Mental health is such an important issue.
‘She was wonderful, Issy, a real breath of fresh air. She had wonderful, wonderful friends, surrounded herself with the best people.
‘She was owning life, doing so well in her A levels, she was going to do an elite rugby program, she payed touch rugby for England and got a gold medal in the summer.
‘But she was also struggling with depression. Everything was harder than it was a supposed to be. We thought she was obviously doing better than she was.’
Kate made a passionate speech at the event, telling guests, ‘Alongside the efforts of many others, we have seen real change. Today, more people feel empowered to talk about their mental health than ever before. This is a major step forward.
‘William and I continue to be inspired to see young people, like you all here today, leading this charge – being particularly brave in having some of those conversations yourselves.
‘As a generation, you value and talk more about your mental health than any before you – something we truly admire and applaud.
‘It is important, however, to remind ourselves of the big picture as we meet here today. What are we trying to improve by focusing our efforts on mental health? Ultimately, we are working to build a happier, healthier world.
‘We want to shape fairer, safer, kinder, more equal societies – societies that seek the common good and a better future together.
‘For just as we need to restore, protect, and invest in our planet, so we must also restore, protect, and invest in the communities, relationships and people living on it.’
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