‘This Is a Human Rights Crisis:’ Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Deliver Passionate Speech for Vaccine Equity

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just spent the weekend touring the Big Apple, where they made stops at the U.N. headquarters, One World Trade Center and a school in Harlem, where the Duchess of Sussex read her book, The Bench.

However, one of the biggest reasons the couple journeyed to the east coast was for the Global Citizen Live event, where they made a speech advocating for vaccine equity.

The royals walked on stage hand-in-hand, and the Duke of Sussex opened their speech by saying, “Hello and good evening, global citizens. Look at all of us here—sixty-thousand strong—together in New York City!”

He then asked the crowd, “Are we prepared to do what's necessary to end this pandemic?” As the crowd shouted, “Yes,” Markle introduced herself and said, “It is so good to be back here with all of you. Look—we know that it feels like this pandemic has been going on forever. We get it, it is a lot. And some people are just over it. But if everyone's over it, it's never going to be over. There is so much that we can do today, now, that can get us closer to ending this pandemic and that's why we're all here.”

Markle continued by thanking members of the healthcare community who have helped fight against the coronavirus. She said, “We're able to be here tonight because the most brilliant scientists, researchers, frontline workers and selfless public health leaders have risked their lives to protect our global community. They are our humanitarian heroes.”

But then the duke followed up by getting to the heart of their argument, saying, “Since this pandemic began, we've been talking to the experts about how we can do our part. This week, we sat with independent growth health leaders to further understand how we get closer to vaccine equity and ending this health crisis. But we're battling more than the virus alone...this is a human rights crisis.”

Markle explained, “Every single person on this planet has a fundamental right to get this vaccine. That's the point, but that's not happening. And while in this country and many others you can go almost anywhere and get vaccinated, billions of people around the world cannot.”

She touched on some solutions, adding, “These experts shared that how the vaccine is distributed and who it's distributed to should be left to independent international organizations who know exactly where the doses are most needed. Just think about the millions of vaccines that have been discarded this year. That's like throwing away life vests when those around you are drowning.”

Prince Harry ended with a powerful statement, saying, “My wife and I believe that where you're born should not dictate your ability to survive.”

This issue has been a priority for the couple, who also made an appearance back in May at the Global Citizen 'VAX Live' concert to share a similar sentiment. There, Markle (who had not given birth to their daughter, Lilibet, yet) spoke in a recorded clip, where she said, “We cannot rest, or truly recover, until there is fair [vaccine] distribution to every corner of the world.”

We couldn't agree more, Sussexes.

Stay up-to-date on every breaking royal family story by subscribing here.


Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Joel is the Associate Editor for News & Entertainment and has been reporting on all things pop culture for over 5 years. Before working at PureWow, he served as a Features...