Harry and Meghan accept Ripple of Hope award in New York

The star-studded gala took place as the British royal family braces for the couple's explosive Netflix series

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Prince Harry and his wife Meghan were presented with the Ripple of Hope Award on Tuesday for their racial justice and mental health work from the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organisation.

According to the body, honourees are those who have demonstrated “an unwavering commitment to social change and worked to protect and advance equity, justice, and human rights”.

Harry and Meghan were recognised alongside other honourees including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the star-studded New York gala hosted by actor Alec Baldwin.

Crowds stood in the rain outside the New York Hilton in midtown Manhattan to catch a glimpse of the couple and other celebrities as they arrived.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, wore an off-the-shoulder white gown with long sleeves, and the pair smiled as they walked the blue carpet for the event.

Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F Kennedy, and president of the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights organisation, said she was "proud" to be honouring them at the gala.

"They've stood up, they've talked about racial justice and they've talked about mental illness in a way that was incredibly brave," she told US outlet Extra.

"For Meghan to get out there on national television and normalise discussion of mental health, at this point, is incredibly important and very brave."

Other attendees included West Wing actor Bradley Whitford, Bafta winner Forest Whitaker, actress Alfre Woodard, actor Keegan-Michael Key and Van Jones, CNN host and one-time adviser of former president Barack Obama.

"I think given the world that we're living in these days, the time now is almost as important as it has ever been in history for us to be able to make an effort to have justice spread all over the place and that's what RFK Human Rights does," said Key.

Others recognised at the event include Frank Baker, co-founder and managing partner of Siris; Brian Moynihan, chair of the board and chief executive of Bank of America; and Michael Polsky, founder and chief executive of Invenergy.

The ceremony will also recognise NBA legend and US civil rights figure Bill Russell with a posthumous award.

The event was held only days before the launch of the couple’s tell-all Netflix show, which is due to begin streaming on Thursday.

The royal family is bracing itself for bombshell revelations, with Harry speaking of a “hierarchy in the family”, a “dirty game”, and warning “we know the full truth”.

Notable members of the Kennedy clan -- in pictures

Agencies contributed to this report.

Updated: December 07, 2022, 11:15 AM