Meghan Markle decided not to show up at the Vax Live concert in California but her husband, Prince Harry, was warmly received and got a standing ovation from the audience.
According to royal correspondent Roya Nikkhah, Meghan Markle was "expected to attend" the event with Harry after the couple announced their involvement in the fundraiser. It's unclear why she dropped out of the program at the last minute but speculations are rife that it's due to her pregnancy. The Duchess of Sussex is expected to give birth to their second child in a matter of weeks.
Despite Meghan’s absence, however, Harry's appearance in the event was undoubtedly a success. His speech on vaccine equity and the acknowledgment of frontline workers earned thunderous applause, as videos of his appearance were shared on social media. Many of the royal fans watching Harry remarked that his connection to the public was a lot like his mother's, Princess Diana.
This would be Harry's first major public appearance since the royal pair had a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey. Suffice it to say, the American crowd welcomed the Duke of Sussex with open arms.
The Vax Live event had been pre-recorded in Los Angeles and also included celebrity performances by Jennifer Lopez, H.E.R., Foo Fighters, Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) and J Balvin. Selena Gomez hosted the concert and "geeked out" at being in the same stage as these VIPs.
Also in attendance were President Joe Biden, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, and Vice President Kamala Harris. Sean Penn, Ben Affleck, and Gayle King were in the fundraiser as well, which aimed to gather donations to buy vaccines to be distributed to impoverished nations.
Amid Harry and Meghan’s latest move, a royal expert said that the couple will be shunned by the royal family. Daily Mirror's editor Russell Myers believes that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are seen as a "distraction" and will be completely discarded as the royal family resumes its business after mourning the loss of Prince Philip.
Meanwhile, Global Citizen's Vax Live chair Hugh Evans said that they simply asked the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to become part of the fundraiser. The couple was enthusiastic to join the cause and did not need any convincing since they already believe in vaccine equity.
Harry and Meghan Markle have been working with businesses and private leaders in the U.S. to step up the vaccine drive. Evans said he's very impressed by the sincerity and commitment of the couple to ensure the success of this cause.