"I see my mum's legacy when I look at my own children every day," said Harry.
Prince William and Prince Harry are honoring those who are keeping their late mother Princess Diana’s legacy alive.
As part of The 2022 Diana Awards that took place virtually on Friday — which would have been Princess Diana’s 61st birthday — both royals shared heartfelt messages to this year’s recipients of the Diana Award.
The award is given to young “changemakers” — from ages nine to 25 — around the world for their “social action or humanitarian work.” According to the organization’s website, this year’s 180 recipients “have demonstrated their ability to inspire and mobilise new generations to serve their communities and create long lasting change on a global scale.”
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Prince William, 40, penned an emotional letter to the award-winners, while Prince Harry, 37, gave a touching speech on-camera during the virtual ceremony — with the two brothers reflecting on Princess Diana’s legacy, which is honored through the charity named after their late mother.
Per People, in William’s letter to the 2022 Diana Award recipients, he praised the young people for “changing the world.”
“Congratulations on receiving The Diana Award today!” he began in the letter. “You are part of an inspirational generation of young people who are changing the world through your actions, and I hugely admire your efforts.”
“Your stories are remarkable. Many of you face huge challenges in the face of difficult times, yet you are tirelessly breaking down barriers to create a better future for us all,” he added.
The Duke of Cambridge went on to call the changemakers “the personification of my mother’s legacy.”
“I know she would be so proud of you all,” he said. “I believe there’s no better way to celebrate her life and work than through recognising incredible people who dedicate so much time and effort to helping those around them.”
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Meanwhile, Harry spoke several times during the ceremony, including in a moving video message in which he paid tribute to his mother on what would have been her birthday, while honoring the 2022 Diana Award winners.
“Today, we’re reflecting on what would have been my mother’s 61st birthday. And this year is also 25 years since her passing,” Prince Harry began in his speech, referencing his mother’s tragic death in August 1997. “There isn’t a day during the past two and half decades where I haven’t thought about the mark she left not only on me and my brother, but on all of our lives.”
“I see her legacy in all of you,” he said. “I see her legacy in a Diana Award community that spans multiple generations. I see her legacy every time I meet with families, young people, and children from all corners of the world.”
The Duke of Sussex — who shares 3-year-old son Archie and 1-year-old daughter Lilibet with wife Meghan Markle — added, “I see my mum’s legacy when I look at my own children every day.”
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Prince Harry went on to call 2022 “a special year, and one where I hope we take extra time to not just remember her as she lived, but to reflect on the life she continues to lead through so many, including the young changemakers with us today.”
“My mother instilled in me, and in all of us, a drive to speak up and fight for a better world. And now, as a husband and a parent, my mother’s voice is even stronger in my life,” he shared. “All of you have helped keep her voice alive by showing the world how each small action counts, how kindness is still valued, and how our world can be better if we choose to make it so.”
Harry added, “To everybody who is part of this afternoon know that you are already making a difference, and we need you to keep making a difference. Don’t ever give up on the idea that each of you can create lasting and much-needed change. And with that, it’s my great pleasure to welcome you all and invite you to meet this year’s amazing young leaders receiving The Diana Award.”
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The father of two later told recipients to “create positive change in our world,” sharing that the young changemakers “have the power to accomplish anything,” as Diana believed.
“What if we choose to believe in the idea that one person can change the world? What if we already know that to be possible?” Prince Harry asked, adding, “If you take away one thing from today, please let it be that no matter who you are, or where you’re from, or what your background is, you can create positive change in our world.”
“My mother knew that young people have the power to accomplish anything,” he continued. “And can act beyond their years as the leaders we so desperately need right now.”
Harry added, “The rest of us — well, we haven’t made it easy for you. We know that our young people face unique challenges to their mental health and wellbeing, increasing social and economic barriers, and a world consumed by disagreement, conflict and anger. But we need to listen to you and empower you. Because you are our only way out of the mess.”
He ended his message with a touching note about Princess Diana, saying, “I know the memory I hold of my mum will never fade, because I see her spirit in each of you. So, thank you for keeping her fire alive.”
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