Watch: Harry and Meghan to celebrate as son Archie turns two
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have released a new picture of their son Archie as they asked for people to donate money toward coronavirus vaccine equity schemes on his second birthday.
The couple did not initially share any new pictures of their toddler, but posted a message on their Archewell website thanking people for previous donations and asking followers to consider giving money to ensure the vaccine is available in developing nations.
However they included a new picture of their son, with his back to the camera, about two hours after the original post was made.
They also wrote an open letter to the heads of the five COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, asking them to share the vaccines with the poorest nations.
In the image, which has been edited with a sepia tone, Archie wears jeans and a sweatshirt with Nike trainers, and looks up as he holds onto a big bunch of balloons.
Posting on their Archewell website about their son, they wrote: "We have been deeply touched over the past two years to feel the warmth and support for our family in honour of Archie’s birthday.
"Many of you donate to charities on his behalf, and mark the occasion by giving back or doing an act of service—all through the goodness of your hearts.
"You raise funds for those who need it most, and continue to do so organically and selflessly. We remain incredibly grateful."
The message added: "While some places are on the verge of healing, in so many parts of the world, communities continue to suffer. As of today, around 80 percent of the nearly one billion COVID-19 vaccine shots that have been given were administered in wealthier countries.
"While we may feel that normalcy is around the corner, we remind ourselves that in much of the world, and especially in developing countries, vaccine distribution has effectively yet to start."
The post included a link to Global Citizen, the project which Harry and Meghan co-chair and which enables people to donate to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
They added: "We cannot think of a more resonant way to honour our son’s birthday. If we all show up, with compassion for those we both know and don’t know, we can have a profound impact. Even a small contribution can have a ripple effect."
Donations are being matched by three different organisations until 16 May, meaning a $5 donation becomes $20.
As well as the post about Archie, the couple penned an open letter to the heads of Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax, who are manufacturing the vaccine, asking that they make it available more easily for poorer nations.
The letter began: "The world owes you gratitude for leading the successful development and manufacturing of safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19. This was achieved in record time, amidst a once-in-a-century global pandemic. It’s truly a testament to what can be achieved when partners work together towards a shared goal."
It continued: "As we are seeing in countries like India, the urgency to deliver doses now to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19 is only increasing. That’s why it is imperative that we ensure equitable vaccine access globally so that people are protected, economies can recover, and this global pandemic can be brought to an end everywhere."
The couple made specific requests to Moderna, who they asked to speed up their delivery schedule, and to Pfizer, who they called on to make 100 million additional doses available, on top of the current pledge of 40 million.
Harry and Meghan called on all five companies to end their opposition to public-private collaboration.
The open letter, on the Global Citizen site, can be signed by anyone.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are co-chairs of Vax Live, a concert to unite the world, which took place in Los Angeles over the weekend and was filmed to be aired in the US and the UK on 8 and 9 May.
The duke got a standing ovation when he appeared alone on stage to offer a message of support for vaccine equity.
Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was born on 6 May 2019 in the private Portland Hospital in London.
Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, have been careful about what has been shared in the public domain about their son.
The family now lives in California, where the duke and duchess bought their first home in Santa Barbara.
Meghan said she enjoyed being able to "live authentically" since stepping back from their roles as senior royals.
A glimpse into their life at home in their interview with Oprah Winfrey revealed they are keeping rescue chickens, with their hut named 'Archie's chick inn'.
She has announced her first book, called The Bench, based on a poem she wrote for Harry on his first Father's Day, about the relationship between him and his son.
The parents, who are soon to welcome a daughter, have been swift in taking legal action on behalf of their son.
Harry acted on his son's behalf when the couple took action against Splash News and Pictures, after photographs of Meghan with Archie in Canada in January 2020 appeared in newspapers and online.
They were able to settle the issue after the company went into administration.
Archie has been seen in a home video of the family on the beach, shared during the Winfrey interview, and was heard on the couple's podcast on Spotify over Christmas.
The toddler was included as a surprise for fans as his parents asked celebrity friends to send in clips of their reflections of the year in lockdown.
He wished listeners a happy new year with the help of his mother and father.
Watch: Meghan Writes Children’s Book Inspired By Prince Harry and Archie