Dressed to impress! Prince Harry made a surprise appearance during the 24th British GQ Men of the Year Awards in London.
The Duke of Sussex, 36, joined the Wednesday, September 1, event virtually from his home in California.
Harry looked dapper in a black velvet tuxedo as he presented the ceremony’s final award — Heroes of the Year — to the Oxford University team of scientists who developed the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for their achievements amid the pandemic.
“I’m deeply honored to be introducing our final awardees, who you’ll immediately recognize for their landmark contribution to the fight against COVID-19,” the Montecito, California, resident said in his speech. “Our heroes of this evening are Professor Sarah Gilbert, Doctor Catherine Green and the entire team of dedicated Oxford scientists. Their breakthrough research on the Oxford vaccine has brought the world one of our greatest tools for achieving vaccine equity. Their breakthrough research on the Oxford vaccine has brought the world one of our greatest tools for achieving vaccine equity.”
The Archewell cofounder also noted the team’s humanitarian efforts during his speech.
“They also approached their mission with a humanitarian urgency,” he continued. “In April of last year, the Oxford Team packed up a shipment of research cultures and stealthily sent it to India—an early example of the biotech collaboration we need to bring this global crisis to an end. Until every community can access the vaccine, and until every community is connected to trustworthy information about the vaccine, then we are all at risk. That’s a common refrain my wife [Meghan Markle] and I have heard in convenings with vaccine experts, heads of industry, community advocates, and global leaders.”
The England native further discussed the disparity of vaccine accessibility and the widespread misinformation about its efficacy.
“We cannot move forward together unless we address this imbalance as one,” he said. “This is a system we need to break if we are to overcome COVID-19 and the rise of new variants. The Oxford Team have done their part. They are heroes of the highest order who gave us an instrument to fight this disease. They are our nation’s pride, and we are deeply indebted to their service.”
The BetterUp Chief Impact Officer closed out his speech by urging “the rest of us” to “keeping doing our part.”
“That must include sharing vaccine science and supporting and empowering developing countries with more flexibility,” Harry noted. “Where you’re born should not affect your ability to survive, when the drugs and know-how exist to keep you alive and well.”
Months earlier, the military veteran encouraged the public to get vaccinated during an appearance at Global Citizen’s Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World in May.
“This pandemic cannot end unless we act collectively with an unprecedented commitment to our shared humanity,” he said at the time. “The vaccine must be distributed to everyone everywhere. We cannot rest or truly recover until there is fair distribution to every corner of the world. The mission in front of us is one we cannot afford to fail out and that’s what tonight is about. The virus does not respect borders and access to the vaccine cannot be determined by geography. It must be accepted as a basic right for all, and that is our starting point.”