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19 May 2021

Harry and Meghan announce relief centre project for India on wedding anniversary

19 May 2021

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have used their third wedding anniversary to announce a charitable project to build a community relief centre in Covid-stricken India.

Harry and Meghan’s Archewell Foundation, in partnership with World Central Kitchen, will set up the centre in Mumbai, in response to the country’s devastating second wave of coronavirus.

A statement on the Archewell website said the purpose was “to provide relief and resilience (as well as healing and strength)” for the communities.

It will be the third in a series of four relief centres for the foundation and World Central Kitchen, following projects in Dominica and Puerto Rico.

The website added: “During future crises, these centres can be quickly activated as emergency response kitchens — or vaccination sites — and through calmer times they can serve as food distribution hubs, schools, clinics, or community gathering spaces for families.”

Mumbai is also home to Myna Mahila, an Indian organisation focused on women’s health and employment opportunities which Meghan has long supported.

The former actress visited the Myna Mahila Foundation – which supports working women in Mumbai’s urban slums and aims to breaks taboos around menstrual hygiene – in 2017, and wrote about her experience in Time magazine.

Harry and Meghan chose Myna Mahila as one of seven organisations to receive wedding donations from well-wishers ahead of their nuptials in 2018.

On Archie’s second birthday earlier this month, the pair appealed to well-wishers to donate money to pay for Covid vaccinations in disadvantaged countries.

The Archewell website said: “Today’s announcement marks the latest in Archewell Foundation and World Central Kitchen’s shared mission to support more compassionate, strong, and healthy communities.”

World Central Kitchen is a non-profit organisation founded by chef Jose Andres that helps feed communities worldwide, including in the aftermath of natural disasters.

An announcement from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday that Harry’s cousin Princess Beatrice was expecting a baby coincided with Sussexes’ anniversary.

In 2018, Harry and Meghan told their family they were expecting their first child at the wedding of Beatrice’s younger sister Princess Eugenie.

The Sussexes married in a glittering ceremony in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and are expected to be marking their milestone privately at their Californian home.

The pair are set to welcome a daughter this summer – a younger sister for son Archie.

As Harry and Meghan celebrated three years of marriage, a poll revealed more than four in 10 people think they should lose their titles.

Royal wedding (PA Archive)

A YouGov survey found 44% of 4,567 adults questioned thought the couple should no longer be a duke and duchess.

While 20% believed they should keep their titles but not use them, 17% said they should not lose their titles or stop using them and 20% did not know.

The Sussexes’ wedding heralded a new chapter for the monarchy when Meghan became the first person of mixed race to marry into the family for centuries.

But just 18 months after exchanging their vows, the duke and duchess travelled to North America with their son Archie and have never permanently returned to their UK home, going on to quit as senior working royals.

Duchess of Sussex (PA Wire)

The past few months have been a tumultuous period for the couple following a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Meghan and Harry laid bare their brief life as a working royal couple, alleging a member of the family made a racist comment about their son, and explaining the duchess had suicidal thoughts but her approaches to the monarchy for help were turned down.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in April briefly brought Harry back into the fold, and he was pictured moments after the ceremony looking at ease and chatting with his brother the Duke of Cambridge.

Harry and Meghan are set to appear in the first episode of the duke’s mental health documentary series with Oprah Winfrey on Friday.

In the Apple TV+ venture, Harry says in conversation with Winfrey: “To make that decision to receive help is not a sign of weakness. In today’s world, more than ever, it is a sign of strength.”

Footage of a young Harry during the funeral procession for his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, featured in a trailer for The Me You Can’t See.

Oprah Winfrey interviews Duke and Duchess of Sussex (PA Media)

In a separate interview Harry appeared to suggest his father and the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had failed as parents.

Speaking on the Armchair Expert podcast, the duke said he wanted to “break the cycle” of “genetic pain and suffering” for the sake of his own children.

He said of Charles: “He’s treated me the way he was treated, so how can I change that for my own kids?”

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