In a special speech for the 2022 Diana Awards, Prince Harry delivered an emotional tribute to his late mother, Princess Diana, reflecting on how she would have turned 61 on Friday.
The Diana Award was established in 1999, two years after Diana, Princess of Wales’ death, and is the “most prestigious accolade” a young person ages 9-25 can receive for their social or humanitarian work, according to its website.
The 2022 awards premiered Friday — Diana’s birthday — with Harry giving the opening speech for the ceremony. Harry said there isn’t a day that goes by that he doesn’t think 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. I see her legacy in a Diana Award community that spans multiple generations,” the Duke of Sussex said. “I see her legacy every time I meet with families, young people and children from all corners of the world.”
The prince also referenced his children, saying he sees his mother’s legacy in them as well. As a husband and parent, he said Diana’s voice is “even stronger” in his life.
He called this year a “special year,” encouraging viewers to take extra time to reflect on Diana’s legacy and how it lives on through the changemakers being honored by the awards.
“My mother instilled in me and in all of us a drive to speak up and fight for a better world,” Harry said, adding, “All of you have kept 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.”
He ended his speech praising everyone involved in the ceremony and encouraging them to keep making a difference, following in the legacy of the award’s namesake.
“Don’t ever give up on the idea that each of you can create lasting and much-needed change,” he said.
Harry also returned later in the ceremony to spotlight one of the Diana Award recipients and again at the end to close the ceremony. In his closing remarks, he reflected on the legacy his generation has left for the next generation.
“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 well-being, increasing social and economic barriers and a world consumed by disagreement, conflict and anger,” he said. “But we need to listen to you and we need to empower you, because you are our only way out of the mess. While you shouldn’t alone be responsible for cleaning it up, I truly believe that you’re the ones with the capability and leadership to do so. And our role should be to invest in you and have you at the table when big decisions are being made.”
The Duke of Sussex ended by saying he sees his mother’s spirit in the changemakers, thanking them for “keeping her fire alive.”
This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY:
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