The Duke of Sussex paid tribute to young people working to make a change across the world as he presented a Princess Diana Award via video message today.
Prince Harry, 35, led big names including Dame Emma Thompson, Liam Payne and Miranda Hart in honouring young changemakers across the world with the coveted award.
Speaking on behalf of Prince William and himself from California, where he is currently living with Meghan Markle, 38, and Archie, 1, Harry said his mother would have been ‘fighting your corner’, on what would have been Diana’s 59th birthday.
Referring to Meghan’s speech supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, Harry joined her in apologising that they hadn’t got the world to a place where young people ‘deserve to be’.
The Duke of Sussex paid tribute to young people working to make a change across the world as he presented a Princess Diana Award via video message today
Last month Meghan gave a video address to her old school in Los Angeles in which she talked about George Floyd’s murder and apologised for where the world still was
Speaking from a personal point of view, Harry said: ‘My wife said recently that our generation and the ones before us haven’t done enough to wipe the wrongs of the past. I too am sorry.
‘Sorry that we haven’t got the world to the place where you deserve it to be. Institutional racism has no place in our societies, yet it is still endemic.
‘Unconscious bias must be acknowledged without blame to create a better world for all of you. I want you to know that we are committed to being part of the solution and to being part of the change that you are all leading. Now is the time and we know that you can do it.’
Addressing all the recipients of the award who have worked to address social injustice in a surprise congratulatory video message, the Duke said: ‘I am so incredibly proud to be part of these awards as they honour the legacy of my mother and bring out the very best in people like you.
‘You are all doing such incredible work and at a time of great uncertainty, you have found the power and inspiration inside of you to make a positive mark on the world, and I love that The Diana Award is able to help you do it.
Speaking on behalf of Prince William and himself from California, where he is currently living with Meghan and Archie, Harry said his mother would have been ‘fighting your corner’, on what would have been Diana’s 59th birthday (seen in 1996 at a British Red Cross Projects visit In Angola)
‘I know that my mother has been an inspiration to many of you and I can assure you she would have been fighting your corner. Right now, we’re seeing situations around the world where division, isolation and anger are dominating as pain and trauma come to the surface.
He highlighted the work of 24-year-old James Frater from London, who is working to increase the representation of black students at university, and said: ‘I see the greatest hope in people like you and I’m confident about the worlds future and its ability to heal because it is in your hands.’
Today 184 inspirational children and young people were presented with the highest accolade a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts – The Diana Award.
The first virtual ceremony for The Diana Award took place this afternoon, on The Diana Award YouTube channel.
Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Award is given out by the charity of the same name and has the support of both her sons, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex on what would have been Princess Diana’s 59th birthday.
Congratulations: Liam Payne has surprised a 13-year-old who won a Diana Award for her social action and humanitarian efforts
The Vamps star James McVey hosted the 2020 Diana Awards, which saw support from a host of celebrities who honoured young changemakers from all over the globe
The recipients of the award have this year demonstrated their ability to inspire and mobilise their own generation to service their communities through campaigning, volunteering, fundraising, fighting injustice or overcoming extreme life challenges.
Although their causes and backgrounds are varied, what they all have in common is that they are changing their communities and the world.
‘I know you know that black lives matter’: What Meghan told the students for graduation speech
On Black Lives Matter: ‘With as diverse, vibrant and opened minded as I know the teachings at Immaculate Heart are, I know you know that black lives matter’
On the 1992 Los Angeles riots: ‘I remember the curfew and I remember rushing back home and on that drive home, seeing ash fall from the sky and smelling the smoke and seeing the smoke billow out of buildings’
On waiting to speak out: ‘I wasn’t sure what I could say to you. I wanted to say the right thing and I was really nervous that I wouldn’t or that it would get picked apart. And I realised the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing’
On African Americans killed by police: ‘George Floyd’s life mattered and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered and Philando Castile’s life mattered and Tamir Rice’s life mattered, and so did so many other people whose names we know and whose names we do not know. Stephon Clark, his life mattered’
On what her teacher once told her: ‘One of my teachers, Ms Pollia, said to me as I was leaving for a day of volunteering, ‘always remember to put other’s needs above your own fears’. And that has stuck with me throughout my entire life’
On people coming together: ‘We are seeing people stand in solidarity, we are seeing communities come together and to uplift. And you are going to be part of this movement.
The Vamps star James McVey hosted the 2020 Diana Awards, which saw support from a host of celebrities who honoured young changemakers from all over the globe.
Virtually presenting and surprising the young people for their work were The Duke of Sussex, Ade Adepitan MBE, Aisling Bea, Katie Boulter, YolanDa Brown, Miranda Hart, Steph McGovern, James McVey, Liam Payne, Will Poulter, Ashley Singh, Dan Smith – Bastille, Cel Spellman, Dame Emma Thompson DBE, Sam and Mark, Hacker the Dog.
Tessy Ojo, Chief Executive, The Diana Award, said: ‘I am truly blown away by all the young changemakers being celebrated today.
‘They are tackling some of the world’s biggest issues, from mental health and climate change, access to education and sanitation, gender equality and racial injustice, a systemic issue that has recently come to the surface and I am truly proud of how these young people from across the globe are fighting hard to create a better world for us all.
‘Beyond today’s celebration, we remained committed to working alongside these young people in rebuilding a society that works for all. We are proud of our over 20-year history of creating and championing change for young people’.
Dame Emma Thompson added: ‘I’m thrilled to be sending a huge congratulations to literally everybody. I’ve read all the case studies – what amazing work you’re all doing from knife crime, to deradicalization, to gender rights, to cancer, to food inequality.
‘You are all immensely impressive, and I send you such congratulations and such love during these strange, strange times. Your voices are the most important voices. Your voices are the future, and I salute you all with all my heart.’
Meanwhile, Liam Payne said: ‘Young people are the future of our society so for me it’s important to recognise their achievements and the contributions they’re making.
‘When we celebrate young people it puts the often-invisible social change work in the spotlight and I’m proud to be supporting The Diana Award and the young changemakers who are making the world a better place for all of us.’
Speaking in the video, Miranda Hart admitted: ‘It has been truly incredible to read the achievements of the young activists who are rightly being celebrated with a Diana Award.
‘They deserve our recognition for the difference they are already making in their young lives, inspiring others, following what is on their heart and bravely finding their voice to raise awareness of vital issues that need to be heard and need change’.
And Dan Smith of Bastille said: ‘A massive congratulations to everyone receiving a Diana Award today. Now more than ever it’s so important to celebrate social justice in young people and The Diana Award is a brilliant way of doing that’.
Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Award is given out by the charity of the same name and has the support of both her sons, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex on what would have been Princess Diana’s 59th birthday
Hacker the Dog was among those virtually presenting and surprising the young people for their work
A 19-year-old from Liverpool received an award for his services to mental health awareness