Prince Harry has made his first official appearance since landing in the UK last week in a surprise speech at the virtual Diana Award ceremony.
The Duke of Sussex delivered a speech at the award ceremony in a pre-recorded video which appears to have been filmed at his home in California.
The Diana Award is a charity set up to reflect the Princess of Wales’ belief that young people have the power to change the world with the 2021 ceremony coming in what would have been the princess’s 60th birthday.
The charity runs anti-bullying and mentoring programmes and recognises young people’s inspirational work.
In a pre-recorded video, the Duke said: ‘I’d like to start by acknowledging and celebrating the incredible young people joining us today. And wherever you are right now, I want to thank you for being part of this important moment and for being such a valuable asset to your community.
‘I’m truly honoured to be celebrating your work, your commitment to change making and the vital role that you’ve taken on representing a new generation of humanitarianism.’
Prince Harry landed in the UK on Friday ahead of the unveiling of a statue of his mother Diana the Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace this Thursday.
The Duke is expected to put aside his differences with brother William to attend the unveiling ceremony at the palace together.
Prince Harry made his first appearance since landing in the UK in a surprise speech at the virtual Diana Award ceremony, a charity which reflects his mother’s belief that young people can change the world and recognises inspiring youngsters
He continued: ‘Later this week, my brother and I are recognising what would have been our mum’s 60th birthday, and she would be so proud of you all for living authentic life with purpose and with compassion for others.
‘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 and in the faces of young people exactly like you, she witnessed a boundless enthusiasm and passion.
‘And to see those same values shine through as it has done for 21 years now, The Diana Award carries her legacy forward by putting young people at the centre of our future. And this has never been more important.’
The Duchess of Sussex has stayed in the US with their children Archie, two, and Lilibet, who was born this month.
Harry added: ‘And Meg and I fundamentally believe that our world is at the cusp of change, real change for the good of all. But the question before us is what that change will look like.
‘The Covid-19 crisis exposed severe inequities and imbalances around the world. We saw the disproportionate effect of this pandemic on communities of colour, on women, on underserved communities and on less wealthy countries.
Harry is expected to put aside his differences with brother William to attend the unveiling ceremony at the palace together
While Harry travelled to the UK on Friday, Meghan has stayed in the US with their two children. Pictured: Prince William, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, attend Commonwealth Day Service 2020
‘We’ve seen and unless we take swift action, we will continue to see a disparity in our humanitarian and moral obligation to vaccinate the world.
‘There is great need for young leadership and there is no greater time to be a young leader. 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.’
Prince Harry arrived in the UK on Friday and is staying at Frogmore Cottage where he must self isolate for five days at which point he may be allowed to leave isolation if he tests negative.
He added: ‘To all the 2021 Diana Award recipients thank you for inspiring us with your brilliance, your determination and your compassion, your actions hold the potential to leave a life changing impact. You are putting the ‘do’s’ behind the ‘say’s’, and this is the personification of our mother’s legacy.
‘To everyone else watching. I’m hopeful that today’s Award recipients have inspired you to be part of a future where humanity is cherished, where our communities are supported and uplifted, and where we are considerate and compassionate to each other, both online and off.
‘Never be afraid to do what’s right. Stand up for what you believe in and trust that when you live by truth and in service to others, people will see that just as they did with my mum.’
Prince William and Prince Harry have historically been close throughout their lives but tensions grew after Harry married American actress Meghan Markle before moving to live in the US and making bombshell claims in the Oprah interview
Relations between the two brothers (pictured in 1995 with their mother Diana) after Harry criticised his father Charles and said William and the family were trapped which Harry and Meghan also accused one unnamed royal of making a racist remark
For most of their lives, the royal brothers have been close, united by the shared trauma of losing their mother who died aged 36 in a 1997 Paris car crash when William was 15 and Harry 12.
But since Harry’s 2018 wedding to his American actress wife Meghan, relations between them have soured and an explosive interview that the couple gave chat show host Oprah Winfrey in March marked a new low.
In it, Harry, now 36, criticised his father Charles and said William, 39, and the family were trapped, while the couple accused one unnamed royal of making a racist remark.
Pictured: Princess Diana with her sons Prince William and Prince Harry during a holiday with the Spanish royal family at the Marivent Palace in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, August 1987
Biographer Robert Lacey said that in April the brothers quarrelled in the immediate aftermath of the funeral of Prince Philip, their grandmother Queen Elizabeth’s husband of more than 70 years, and there was no sign of any improvement.
‘The conflict between Diana’s two bitterly divided sons does not seem likely to end any time soon,’ he wrote in the Daily Mail, adding that friends and family were trying to forge a reconciliation.
This week’s unveiling in London of the statue, which the princes commissioned four years ago to celebrate Diana’s life, provides a rare opportunity for such a rapprochement, with Harry returning from his new home in the United States.
‘Unless one of them is going to say sorry, and I think that probably has to be Harry, I can’t see this relationship at the moment mending itself,’ royal commentator Penny Junor said.
‘My understanding is the boys are not speaking to one another, certainly not in the way brothers normally speak,’ she said.
Harry told Winfrey that their relationship was ‘space at the moment’, but hoped time would heal it.
‘I love William to bits, he’s my brother, we’ve been through hell together and we have a shared experience. But we’re on different paths,’ he said.
Thursday’s statue unveiling in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace where Diana lived, and which is now home to William and his family, will be a small event with the princes, Diana’s close family and the sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley among the few attending.
The Daily Telegraph reported that William would take his wife Kate and their three children George, Charlotte and Louis, for a private viewing of the statue before its official unveiling as they will not be present on the day.
The Diana Award recognised dozens of recipients who have achieved remarkable change and carried out inspirational work in the past year.
Among the winners were Mashal Aamir, from the University of Glasgow, who works to equip women living by the Pakistan-Afghanistan border with economic skills to increase their independence.
She continues to empower marginalised voices through her writing and collaborations, while training to be a barrister.
George Barker, 25, from the Wirral, has been recognised because he has volunteered with Sexpression:UK for the last seven years, working to improve sex education in secondary schools.
Prince Harry spoke at the virtual award ceremony which recognised dozens of young people for their extraordinary work
He has facilitated fun and interactive sessions in schools to over 300 young people, trained over 100 volunteers to deliver these classes and is empowering young people to make educated, safer choices about relationships and sex.
Tessy Ojo, Chief Executive of The Diana Award, said: ‘We warmly congratulate our new Diana Award recipients from the UK and across the world who are changemakers for their generation.
‘It is especially poignant as we mark what would have been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday. In a year that has seen young people’s lives disrupted by the Pandemic it is even more important that we honour, celebrate but also invest in young people, from across the world, who through their selfless trailblazing efforts have changed lives in their communities.
‘We know by receiving this honour they will inspire more young people to get involved in their communities and begin their own journey as active citizens.’
To view the full list of award recipients, visit the website here.