Later in the day, Harry and Meghan will welcome Prince William and Kate Middleton at Frogmore Cottage for their first visit with Arch
Prince Harry left his newborn son Archie and wife Meghan Markle at home in Windsor to head to Oxford for a day of royal duty, including a visit to a special center that was once visited by his late mom Princess Diana.
The new dad, who isn’t taking paternity leave since the birth of his son last week, started at Oxford’s Children Hospital (about an hour-and-a-half west of London), where he met a familiar face — 13-year-old Mikayla, who has won a WellChild award in the past.
The prince is patron of WellChild, the charity for seriously-ill children in the U.K. Also during the visit, he chatted with children receiving treatment, and the staff who care for them and met with some students who are continuing their schoolwork while being cared for in hospital, as well as the teachers who support them.
At the hospital, Harry was handed another gift for little Archie — a huge teddy bear.
His second port of call was to OXSRAD Disability Sports and Leisure Centre, which was opened by his late mom Diana, Princess of Wales, 30 years ago. Harry gained further understanding of how it helps people with disabilities through sports and physical exercise rehabilitation sessions, fitness classes and the use of the gym facilities.
Waiting to meet Harry at the center were two women who had encountered his mother three decades prior.
Chris Hunt, 66 — who has been a fundraiser there for more than 35 years — said, “On the day I was invited and I was helping with the children’s activities. I remember her sitting at the side watching. We were doing different support games with the children.”
She said that Diana was “so calm” and “so friendly and interested in what was going on.” She said that the late princess was “smiling all the time” and added that Harry was just four at the time.
His visit Tuesday was “brilliant.” She added, “He’s just become a dad … maybe in another 30 years we’ll have Archie.”
With her was Julia Porter-Smith, 83, who recalled that Diana “wandered around everywhere and joined in everything — on the floor and everywhere else. Ballroom dancing, she did the lot” during her visit.
Porter-Smith’s late husband Alan had invited the princess to open the center. She recounted, “She was very human with people. She was just so friendly.”
And with Harry coming there is some synergy. “I’ll tell him ‘I remember your mum well.’ It’s an honor for me to be here.”
Last week, Harry opened up about how the birth of his son Archie has “given him a new focus and goal” in his life — and how fatherhood has made him feel the loss of his mother.
At Barton Neighbourhood Centre, Harry learned about the charity Thrive Teams, which aims to develop young leaders living in disadvantaged areas to bring about “positive change within their communities,” his office said. Some of the young leaders have successfully gone on to employment and further education. He was also set to visit the community food bank and café to learn more about what the service provides for local residents.