Prince William and Prince Harry hosted an awards ceremony at St James’ Palace yesterday, awarding the inaugural Legacy Award to young people, as part of ‘The Diana Award’ scheme.
The Legacy Award aims to celebrate people who continue the legacy of Diana, Princess of Wales, hence, it was an emotional ceremony for William and Harry. The award was given to 20 deserving young people, from all walks of life. The award makes up part of The Diana Award, which was established in memory of Diana, to recognise her belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better.
The Legacy Award marks the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death, and has therefore been handed to twenty 11-18 year-olds. The recipients came from the UK, Canada, the USA, India, Belize and the United Arab Emirates.
Each winner will now have access to the resources of The Diana Award, which will provide further training and support for their projects.
In a speech, The Duke of Cambridge said, “This summer marks 20 years since our mother died and she achieved so much in her life, from helping to shatter the stigma around AIDs, to fighting to ban landmines and supporting the homeless – she touched the lives of millions. The truth is though, she was taken at only 36, just slightly older than I am today.”
“Of course we can never know what our mother would have gone on to do, but in one sense Harry and I feel that our mother lives on in the countless acts of compassion and bravery that she inspires in others. That is why we are so pleased that her name is being put to good use by the Diana Award to recognise young people who are making a mark in the world around them.”
Prince Harry also spoke to the recipients saying, “You should be absolutely proud of what you’ve started and what you’ve achieved, you’re still in your teenage years – don’t stop now guys.” Harry also stated his dislike of social media.
Harry spoke for a considerable amount of time to Jemima browning, a 16 year-old, from Stutton, North Yorkshire, who has dedicated hours of her time teaching young people with disabilities to swim. She was inspired by her brother who has Down’s Syndrome.
Prince Harry told her that he had heard about her work through his friend Dave Wiseman, who happens to be an Invictus swimmer. He said, “He told me you would be Prime Minister one day!”
After the ceremony, Jemima remarked: “It doesn’t feel real, it feels really strange it feels like I don’t deserve something amazing like this! To be able to stand in front of two amazing people who are recognised across the world is just a massive honour and I can’t believe it really.”
Another recipient was 11-year-old Femi Owolade-Coombes, who was diagnosed with Tourettes and set up a computer coding and robot workshop to help children like him. His mother, Grace said, “I met Diana, she was really kind and down to earth, and a really lovely person to meet. It’s going to be a real privilege to add to her legacy, and see it go onto the next generation and inspire a whole new range of young people to do good stuff.”
The Chief Executive of The Diana Award, Tessy Ojo said, “We have a whole generation of young people who only know her as a historic figure yet they are committed to continuing her legacy, and so the legacy awards is about celebrating and shining a spotlight on those young people who embody the qualities of kindness, compassion and service to others.”
William and Harry were making their first joint appearance at a Diana Award event.