Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Have a Glamorous Night Out in New York City – PEOPLE

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are back in the Big Apple for a special reason.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped out on Tuesday evening for the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award Gala in New York City. The couple was honored with the award for their work in racial justice, mental health and other social impact action through their Archewell Foundation.

Meghan stepped out in a white off-the-shoulder dress with long sleeves paired with black accessories and her hair swept back into a low bun, while Prince Harry sported a classic suit and black tie.

They couple held hands as Prince Harry held an umbrella while they made their way from the car to the blue carpet, where they posed for photos with Kerry Kennedy.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
Mike Coppola/Getty

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also attended the gala and received the Ripple of Hope Award for his courageous leadership amid the Russian invasion. Fellow 2022 laureates were Siris co-founder Frank Baker, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and Invenergy CEO Michael Polsky. The ceremony also posthumously recognized NBA legend and civil rights activist Bill Russell.

Previous Ripple of Hope winners include Dr. Anthony Fauci, Colin Kaepernick, Nancy Pelosi, former President Barack Obama and President Joe Biden.

The event was emceed by Alec Baldwin.

Kerry Kennedy previously told Spanish news outlet El Confidencial's Vanitatis magazine that Prince Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, exemplified the "moral courage" against injustice that her father famously called for in his iconic Ripple of Hope speech at the University of Cape Town in South Africa over 50 years ago when apartheid reigned.

"When my father went to South Africa in 1966, he spoke in front of a white audience and said that the problem in this generation is talking about racial justice. He also spoke of moral courage, saying that few would have the courage to question their colleagues, family and their community about the power structure they maintained," Kerry said, per a translation. "And this is what Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have done."

"They went to the oldest institution in U.K. history and told them what they were doing wrong, that they couldn't have structural racism within the institution; that they could not maintain a misunderstanding about mental health," she continued, referring to the British monarchy. "They knew that if they did this there would be consequences, that they would be ostracized, they would lose their family, their position within this structure, and that people would blame them for it. They have done it anyway because they believed they couldn't live with themselves if they didn't question this authority. I think they have been heroic in taking this step."

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Kerry Kennedy.
Mike Coppola/Getty

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Meghan and Prince Harry have visited New York City on several occasions since relocating to California in 2020.

The couple spent several days in the city in Sept. 2021, starting with a visit to One World Observatory at the World Trade Center with former Mayor Bill de Blasio, his wife Chirlane McCray, their son Dante de Blasio and Governor Kathy Hochul. During the trip, they met with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Meghan read her children's book The Bench to second-grade students at P.S. 123 Mahalia Jackson School in Harlem. The duo then appeared on stage at Global Citizen Live in Central Park, where they spoke up about the world's need for COVID-19 vaccine equity.

Most recently, they appeared at the United Nations in July, when Prince Harry gave a special address in honor of Nelson Mandela Day.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Meghan and Prince Harry's New York City outing comes following the release of two trailers previewing their Netflix docuseries, which premieres on Thursday.

In the trailer, Prince Harry says he was "terrified" by the amount of media attention that Meghan received. "I didn't want history to repeat itself," Harry said as footage showed cameras flashing — both on Meghan and Harry as well as his mother, Princess Diana.

The couple also appeared to take aim at the royal family: "There's a hierarchy of the family," Prince Harry said. "There's leaking, but there's also planting of stories."

The project comes from Oscar-nominated director Liz Garbus, whose previous features include Love, Marilyn, What Happened, Miss Simone? and Becoming Cousteau.

According to Netflix, "the series explores the clandestine days of their early courtship and the challenges that led to them feeling forced to step back from their full-time roles in the institution. With commentary from friends and family, most of whom have never spoken publicly before about what they witnessed, and historians who discuss the state of the British Commonwealth today and the royal family's relationship with the press, the series does more than illuminate one couple's love story, it paints a picture of our world and how we treat each other."

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