The Duke of Sussex sent a powerful message to the recipients of the award, who range in age from nine to 25 and have made an incredible impact through their social or humanitarian work. The Diana Award is a charity set up on behalf of the late Princess of Wales to support and empower young people who are going above and beyond in their communities.
“I am so incredibly proud to be part of these awards, as they honor the legacy of my mother,” Harry said at the beginning of his surprise appearance. “Like many of you, she never took the easy route. Or the popular one. Or the comfortable one. But she stood for something. And she stood up for people who needed it.”
“Right now, we are seeing situations around the world where division, isolation and anger dominate as pain and trauma come to the surface,” the duke said. “But I see the greatest hope in people like you.”
“My wife said recently that our generation and the ones before us haven’t done enough to right the wrongs of the past. I too am sorry,” he said. “Sorry that we haven’t got the world to the place that 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.”
Harry added that he and Meghan are committed to being part of the solution, before introducing the six people that he and Prince William chose to honour. In a #ShareTheMic moment, the duke handed over his platform to James Frater, a Diana Award recipient, who spoke about what the award meant to him.
The ceremony featured some of the global recipients and appearances from celebrities like singer Liam Payne, actor Emma Thompson and tennis player Katie Boulter, who congratulated recipients for their efforts.
Harry and Meghan Markle recently shifted their efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic to focus on the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests against police brutality sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis.
Recently, the Duchess of Sussex spoke with Althea Bernstein, the recent victim of an alleged hate crime. Bernstein, who is biracial, said that while at a stoplight last week, four white men doused her face and neck with lighter fluid and set her on fire.
Meghan connected with the 18-year-old through Michael Johnson, the CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County, Wisconsin, who was also on the call.
“Her and Meghan talked about the importance of self care and allowing herself to heal,” Johnson told local news outlet Channel 3000, adding that the duchess also spoke with Bernstein about being biracial. The Duke of Sussex also joined the call at one point and said that “young people[’s] voices matter.”