Meghan Markle forced to miss glitzy Beverly Hills ceremony where Prince Harry received a ‘Living Legend’ award because ‘one of their children became unwell’

Meghan Markle was forced to miss Prince Harry being honoured as a ‘living legend of aviation’ on Friday night in Los Angeles.

The Duke of Sussex, 39, took to the stage at the Beverly Hills Hilton to receive his award from actor John Travolta – but he was not accompanied by his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, who had been expected to attend.

Meghan, 42, was not present as one of their children became unwell, the PA news agency understands.

The couple live in Montecito, California, along with their two children Prince Archie, four, and two-year-old Princess Lilibet. It wasn’t confirmed which of their little ones was unwell.

Harry appeared in high spirits on Friday as he joined Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe, a 46-year-old minor German royal and cousin of outgoing Queen of Denmark, Margrethe II, and others at the awards.

Meghan Markle (pictured with her family) was forced to miss Prince Harry being honoured as a 'living legend of aviation' on Friday night in Los Angeles

Meghan Markle (pictured with her family) was forced to miss Prince Harry being honoured as a ‘living legend of aviation’ on Friday night in Los Angeles

The Duke – who did not mention his sister-in-law Kate or father Charles’ medical issues –  took a moment to remember host John Travolta‘s meeting with Princess Diana at a White House dinner for President Ronald Reagan in 1985.

Accepting the award from Travolta, the 39-year-old said: ‘I was just a one-year-old when you danced with my mum at the White House and now look at us.’ He added: ‘The only thing left to do is… not dance together but fly together.’

The Duke completed two tours of Afghanistan as a forward air controller and an Apache helicopter pilot, having flown countless training missions in the UK, US and Australia.

He served for 10 years in the military, rising to the rank of Captain, and later founded the Invictus Games – a sporting event for wounded military personnel and veterans.

On stage, Travolta asked him of his time flying for the Army: ‘What can you remember about your first flight?’ Harry quipped back: ‘It’s classified.’

Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe, who grabbed a photo with Harry at the awards, later called the moment between Harry and Travolta on-stage ‘very touching and sweet’.

‘John Travolta presented the award and he referred to the dance with his mother Princess Diana, (when) Prince Harry was one year old so he’s like, “Now I see you again under a new circumstance, on a new stage”,’ he said.

‘That was very touching and very sweet because we all remember how gorgeous the dance was of John Travolta and Princess Diana, and now Princess Diana’s son is getting an award from John Travolta. It was the cutest, most touching moment.’

The Duke of Sussex, 39, took to the stage at the Beverly Hills Hilton to receive his award from actor John Travolta - but he was not accompanied by his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, who had been expected to attend

The Duke of Sussex, 39, took to the stage at the Beverly Hills Hilton to receive his award from actor John Travolta – but he was not accompanied by his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, who had been expected to attend

In his speech, Harry went on to thank the Living Legends of Aviation awards for the ‘incredible honour’, adding that he is ‘proud to be recognised among such a dynamic and inspiring group of individuals’.

Harry takes his place alongside other aviation and aerospace ‘legends’ including Buzz Aldrin, Jeff BezosTom Cruise, Neil Armstrong, Harrison FordMorgan Freeman and Elon Musk.

He continued: ‘For me, flying has been a transcendent experience. A close encounter with magic, an invitation to both protect freedom… and to feel free, and, funny enough, an opportunity to ground oneself, without actually being grounded.

‘I find my flight training — which was over the course of three years— to be one of life’s greatest lessons. It triggered a vast array of feelings.’

He did not allude to the medical dramas for his family on the other side of the Atlantic; The Princess of Wales is part-way through a two-week stay in hospital after undergoing surgery, while King Charles is being treated for an enlarged prostate.

But Harry’s nomination has angered some top former British military officials.

Lord West, former head of the Royal Navy, said: ‘He is not a living legend of aviation. To suggest he is is pathetic. It makes the whole thing seem a bit of a nonsense if they’re willing to pick someone like Prince Harry.

‘He didn’t carry off any great exciting feat of amazing flying skill while flying for the Army. They’re just trying to get publicity. They know it will cause a stir.’

Retired officer Colonel Richard Kemp said that Harry was ‘a brave guy’ and his role in Afghanistan was ‘undoubtedly very dangerous’.

But he said that there are ‘helicopter pilots who have done much more extraordinary things in Iraq and Afghanistan, risking their lives to rescue their fellow soldiers.’

Meghan  (pictured with Harry in May 2023 in New York City), 42, was not present as one of their children became unwell, the PA news agency understands

Meghan  (pictured with Harry in May 2023 in New York City), 42, was not present as one of their children became unwell, the PA news agency understands

The Living Legends of Aviation website also praised the duke for his work with charities and organizations including Travalyst, Sentebale, African Parks and WellChild.

A statement on its website said, ‘Prince Harry is a humanitarian, military veteran, mental wellness advocate and environmentalist.

‘He has dedicated his life to advancing causes that he is passionate about and that bring about permanent change for people and places.’

Harry was inducted alongside US navy pilot Fred George and former world speed record holder Steve Hinton, as well as Lauren Sanchez – a helicopter pilot who is engaged to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

She is set to receive the Elling Halvorson Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award for her skills as a helicopter pilot and aviation businesswoman, having founded aerial filming company Black Ops Aviation in 2016.

The duke’s appearance comes as his father, the King, prepared to undergo treatment for an enlarged prostate next week, while his sister-in-law the Princess of Wales recovers from abdominal surgery in the London Clinic.

Kate is not expected to resume public duties until well into the spring.

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