The Duchess of Sussex made a surprise television appearance during the CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute on Sunday, Dec. 13. Seated outside in front of a floral backdrop, Markle delivered an uplifting message and spoke about the strength of the human spirit. "In a year that has been universally challenging for everyone, I'm inspired by the stories of compassion in our communities," she began. "Across the country, people have put their own needs aside to come together and support the collective well-being of those around them."
Markle reflected on the swift onset of the pandemic as it hit the United States in March. "Overnight everything seemed to change. For many families, the impact of the pandemic has been catastrophic, and far too many were faced with the heartbreaking question: How am I going to put food on the table for my family?" she said. "But in the face of this devastating reality, we also saw the power of the human spirit and the remarkable ways that communities respond in challenging times. We saw the good in people, in our neighbors and in entire communities coming together to say they would not stand by while our neighbors went hungry."
The royal mom recalled the many ways people came through for each other while facing the deadly virus. "We saw communities standing up and taking action. When kids' lunch programs came to a halt, we saw our neighbors make sure that those children received the nutrition they need," she described. "And when those who are immunocompromised or most vulnerable couldn't leave their homes, we, as a community, showed up to deliver the food they needed to their doorsteps." In April, Markle and Prince Harry volunteered and delivered meals to more than a dozen people for Easter in their new home state, California.
"We know the value of food," she said collectively, "as nourishment, as a life source, and in moments of crisis, the warmth of a meal can feel as comforting as a much-needed hug— especially in the absence of human contact due to the social distancing we're all experiencing. These moments reminded so many that they're cared for. Tonight, we are celebrating these quiet heroes, some of whom I know and others that we applaud from afar."
In concluding her brief remarks, Markle ended on an uplifting note. "These individuals stood up and made sure the most basic needs of our communities were met. They made sure that those around them did not have to suffer in isolation. They nourished their neighbors in more ways than one," she said. "And they showed us, all of us, that even in the darkest times, when we come together, we have the power to remind someone else that there is hope, and that we will be okay."
The public appearance came less than a month after Markle published a piece for The New York Times, in which she recalled suffering a miscarriage in July. In the essay, the duchess addressed the pandemic and expressed a similar sentiment to the one she shared in her speech. "We are adjusting to a new normal where faces are concealed by masks, but it's forcing us to look into one another's eyes—sometimes filled with warmth, other times with tears," she ended her essay. "For the first time, in a long time, as human beings, we are really seeing one another. Are we OK? We will be."