Prince Harry delivered a surprise speech at this year’s Diana Awards, a charity named after and set up in memory of the late Princess Diana. Since its foundation in 1999, the organization has been honoring young people who have made an impact through their social and humanitarian work.
During the virtual event, Prince Harry told the award recipients that he is grateful for people like them who are committed to making a positive impact on the world. “I want to thank you for being part of this important moment and for being such a valuable asset to your community,” he said.
“I’m truly honored to be celebrating your work, your commitment to change making, and the vital role you’ve taken on representing a new generation of humanitarianism.”
Remembering Princess Diana
Prince Harry talked about his mother, Princess Diana, who would’ve turned 60 years old today. He said that she would be proud of these young leaders for their contributions in their communities.
“My brother and I are recognizing what would have been our mum’s 60th birthday, and she would be so proud of you all for living an authentic life with purpose and with compassion for others,” he said.
“Our mum believed that young people have the power to change the world. She believed in your strength because she saw it day in and day out. In the faces of young people exactly like you, she witnessed a boundless enthusiasm and passion, and I, too, see those same values shine through.”
Time for change
He also said that he and his wife, Meghan Markle, believe that the world is currently at a turning point for change. “Meghan and I fundamentally believe that our world is at the cusp of change—real change—for the good of all.”
“The COVID-19 crisis exposed severe inequities and imbalances around the world. We saw the disproportionate effect of this pandemic on communities of color, on women, on underserved communities, and on less wealthy countries… There is great need for your leadership and there is no greater time to be a young leader.”
The Duke of Sussex expressed his optimism about today’s young leaders and their capability to bring real change to the world. He also thanked the 2021 Diana Award recipients for the life-changing impact of their actions and for being an inspiration to others.
“I believe in you. We believe in you. And that belief in your own ability to change the world in doing the right thing is what makes you a force to be reckoned with,” he said.
“Thank you for inspiring us with your brilliance, your determination, and your compassion. Your actions hold the potential to leave a life-changing impact.”