Prince Harry delivered an emotional speech on Princess Diana's birthday

He spanned topics of race, injustice and representation to commemorate his later mother's life

Harry gives speech in memory of Diana on her birthday
(Image credit: Getty)

He spanned topics of race, injustice and representation to commemorate his later mother's life

Yesterday, to mark Princess Diana's birthday, the 2020 Diana Awards ceremony took place. For the first time, the event was virtual, to make sure guests were protected against the ongoing COVID-19 virus.

But the night still saw a rather Royal roster of attendees hosting the ceremony, including Prince Harry himself. Alongside him, stars presenting awards at the ceremony included actors Miranda Hart, Dame Emma Thompson and Will Poulter. Singer and ex-One Directioner Liam Payne also made an appearance.

Established in the late royal's memory in 1999, the charity aims to empower and inspire young children and teenagers to go above and beyond to act selflessly.

Taking to the screen to personally congratulate the nominated youngsters, the Duke dialled in from his home in Los Angeles. He gave well wishes to all involved from both himself and his older brother, Prince William.

A photo posted by on

In his short speech, the Prince spanned a number of topical issues, including race, inequality, injustice and prejudice. He gave a special mention to 24-year-old James Frater, who's working to tackle underrepresentation of black students at university.

Harry shared: "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. At a time of great uncertainty, you have found the power and inspiration inside of you to make a positive mark on the world."

"I love that The Diana Award is able to help you do it. My mother has been an inspiration to many of you. She would have been fighting your corner. Like many of you, she never took the easy route, she never took the popular one, or the comfortable one. But she stood for something, and she stood up for people who needed it."

"Right now, we're seeing situations around the world where division, isolation and anger are dominating as pain and trauma come to the surface. But I see the greatest hope in people like you. I'm confident about the world's future and its ability to heal because it is in your hands."

The Duke went on to add: "My wife [Meghan] 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 - sorry that we haven't got the world to a place 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 continued: "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."

Speaking of the event, Tessy Ojo, chief executive of The Diana Award said: "The young changemakers 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. 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."

Diana would have been 59 yesterday. As a a keen people-persona and charity advocate, she always encouraged British children to go the extra mile and reach their full potential.

Keen to watch the full ceremony yourself? Head over to the Diana Award YouTube to catch it for yourself.

Ally Head
Senior Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Senior Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, nine-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She's won a BSME for her sustainability work, regularly hosts panels and presents for events like the Sustainability Awards, and is a stickler for a strong stat, too, seeing over nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.