This Friday the late Princess Diana would have turned 61, so as a way of honouring his mother and everything she stood for Prince William spoke out in a letter. The Duke of Cambridge paid tribute to all the latest recipients of the Diana Award. The prestigious award, named after the late royal, celebrates people aged 9-25 for their social action and humanitarian work.
In the emotional letter to this year’s winners, William, 40, called them all “an inspiration”.
“Congratulations on receiving The Diana Award today! You are part of an inspirational generation of young people who are changing the world through your actions, and I hugely admire your efforts,” he wrote in the letter, which was written on official Kensington Palace stationery carrying his “W” royal cypher.
“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 continued.
“You truly are the personification of my mother’s legacy and I know she would be so proud of you all. 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.”
Both Prince William and Prince Harry are huge supporters of the Diana Award, being the only charity that carries their mother’s name. The award ceremony will take place virtually on Friday and will honour 180 changemakers and young philanthropists from 29 countries-including more than 20 winners from the U.S.
The charity has described them as “exceptional young people”, who are being recognized for their ability to mobilize their generation “through campaigning, volunteering, fundraising, fighting injustice or overcoming extreme life challenges.” One single trait that all of them share is that “they are changing their communities and the world.”
This August the two brothers will have another emotional anniversary to honor-25 years since Princess Diana passed away following a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997.
Tessy Ojo CBE, CEO of the Diana Award, congratulated the latest recipients in a statement: “It is especially poignant as we remember Princess Diana 25 years on. We know by receiving this honor they will inspire more young people to get involved in their communities and begin their own journey as active citizens.”
Although the relationship between the two brothers had been a bit strained in the last couple of years, the two did link up last summer to unveil a statue erected in their late mother’s memory in Kensington Palace’s Sunken Garden.
“Today, on what would have been our Mother’s 60th birthday, we remember her love, strength and character – qualities that made her a force for good around the world, changing countless lives for the better,” Prince William and Harry said in a joint statement released on July 1, 2021.
“Every day, we wish she were still with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and her legacy.”
There are more than 20 recipients of the Diana Award from the United States this year. They are: Zikora Akanegbu, 17, from Ellicott City, MD — for GenZHER; Iqra Bisma, 18 — Speak To Lead International; Alexandria Brady-Miné, 22, Tampa, Florida — The Human Projects; Calvin (Hwa Lang) Cho, 17, Irvine, CA. — The Orange Country Student Review; Brielle Diaz Withers, 16, Cornwall, NY — Be A Friend Project; Elizabeth Carson Eckhard, 23, Philadelphia and Washington DC — The Liberation Foundation; Aayush Goel, 16, Cupertina California — Apart But Not Alone; Mahi Gupta, 16, Wharton, New Jersey — World Exploration; Isabella Hanson, 16, Chadds Ford, PA — ‘I Matter’; Karly Hou, 20, Palo Alto, CA — Wave Learning Festival; Shraman Kar, 15, Louisville, KY — Community AI; Sikander (Sonny) Khan, 23, Jackson, MI – Paani; Jean Lin, 16, Camas, WA — Leaders Across the World; Nam Nguyen, 25, Chicago, MI — MeditationOrb and Crisis Counsellor; Phuc (James) Nguyen, 17, Santa Ana, CA – Fita; Arsh Pal, 19, Dubuque/Iowa — Healing through art; Shreya Patel, 16, Boston, MA – Letters Against Isolation; Priya Patel, Edison, NJ – Peer Responders; Dipro Prattoy, Ann Arbor, MI. Kanto Raveloson, San Francisco, CA; Gabrielle Roberts, 25, Hinsdale, Illinois – Code Your Chances; Rafa Sattar, 24, New York City, NY – Fera Foundation Inc; and Olivia Zhang, 16, McLean, VA –Cancer Kids First.