STANFORD (KPIX) — Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were in the Bay Area February of 2020 right before the pandemic. It was for a secret visit of sorts to meet with Stanford University’s Dr. James Doty whose work focuses on the science of compassion.

“They are one of the nicest, sweetest couples… very down to earth,” said Dr. Doty, founder of Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford Medicine.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been outspoken about issues like hate speech and online bullying. They’ve been very open sharing their own experiences.

“And as we have seen even with the death of Diana how the paparazzi is around you 24/7, it can profoundly affect your mental health and affect everything you do,” said Doty.

The couple created a non-profit called the Archewell Foundation, named after their son Archie. The Archewell Foundations purpose is to uplift and unite communities locally and globally, online and offline, one act of compassion at a time.

“Their heart is in the right place,” said Doty, who met with the couple in person.

The couple announced new partnerships between their foundation and several tech and research focused groups including Stanford University’s, Dr. Doty, whose work focuses on the science of compassion and the neuroscience of compassion.

When asked if Doty knew it was going to be Prince Harry and Meghan Markle taking interest in his Center he said, “No, not at all.”

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Doty is the founder and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism of Research and Education at Stanford School of Medicine (CCARE) and said he received an email about the couple’s interest in his work.

“In the face of the pandemic I would suggest there is a concept of this global reset where compassion is at the focus,” said Doty.

The Archwell Foundation supports CCARES mission for groundbreaking research and education on techniques for developing compassion and promoting altruism within individuals and society.

“And interestingly we know when someone is more compassionate it is actually in terms of physiology offers more benefit than being at your ideal body weight or exercise,” said Doty.

He added that being kind and compassionate actually slows down the aging process in some of the cells of our body.

He says, “Be kind. It’s good for your health.”

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle believe compassion is the defining cultural force of the 21st century.

Juliette Goodrich