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Prince Harry Surprises Princess Diana Award Charity On His Late Mother's 59th Birthday

Prince Harry Surprises Princess Diana Award Charity On What Would Have Been His Mom's 59th Birthday
July 1, 2020 - 18:56 / Hayley Paskevich

In a special video he recorded for the Diana Awards, Prince Harry talked about his late mother, Princess Diana, and urged people to take action! Watch his moving address here!

Prince Harry recorded a surprise video for an awards ceremony dedicated to his mother's legacy!

As People reports, Harry's video address for the Diana Award ceremony was shared on Wednesday, July 1— the same day that would have been Princess Diana's 59th birthday!

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Harry commends the 2020 Diana Award honorees for their efforts

Harry began his address by expressing his gratitude for being involved in the Diana Award ceremony, which was held virtually. "I am so incredibly proud to be part of these awards, as they honor the legacy of my mother and bring out the very best in people like you," he said.

"You are all doing such incredible work and at a time of great uncertainty, you have found the power and inspiration inside of you to make a positive mark on the world," Harry continued. "And I love that The Diana Award is able to help you do it."

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The beautiful Princess Diana in 1996.

Harry says Princess Diana "would have been fighting your corner"

Harry then talked about how Diana's values and morals were parallel to those of the individuals receiving recognition in the virtual awards ceremony, which he said gives him hope for the future.

"I know that my mother has been an inspiration to many of you, and I can assure you she would have been fighting your corner," Harry told the Diana Award honorees. "Like many of you she didn’t take 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're seeing situations around the world where division, isolation and anger are dominating as pain and trauma come to the surface," he continued. "But I see the greatest hope in people like you, and I'm confident about the world's future and its ability to heal because it is in your hands."

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Harry also directly mentioned the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, sharing something that Meghan Markle had said about it. "My wife said recently that our generation and the ones before us haven't done enough to right the wrongs of the past," he explained.

"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 said that he himself is "committed to being part of the solution and to being part of the change that you are all leading," and that there's no better time to enact change than the present. "Now is the time and we know that you can do it," he stated.

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Harry shares story of London medical student during ceremony

Harry talked about the incredible work of one particular honoree during his virtual address— medical student James Frater, who attends King's College in London. As People reports, Frater has "worked to help conquer inequities for those of Caribbean heritage at British universities," as he found himself often being prematurely judged and dismissed in school, resulting in "hundreds of detentions."

"It took a while for me to realize this is actually happening," Frater told People about engaging with Harry at the ceremony. "If you had told me 10 years ago when I was 14, 'James, in 10 years' time, Prince Harry would know your story and your work,' I would say, 'That's impossible.' I still can’t believe it."

Frater credits four teachers for giving him mentorship and guidance, which ultimately helped him turn his life around. "Those key teachers at key moments in my life were the reason I felt I can complete school," he revealed. After receiving an Amos Bursary Scholar, Frater ultimately ended up becoming an inspirational speaker.

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Prince Harry during a visit to Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, England, 2019

Harry shows "fearlessness and boldness" of Diana, says Frater

Harry was a strong proponent of advocating for mentorship during last year's Diana Award ceremony, as People mentions. "We can all agree that racial injustice exists and has existed for a long time. It's time we acknowledge that — but what are the decisions we are doing to make to make our society more equitable?" Frater continued.

"Those are the things that Prince Harry can really help with. He's in a decision-making and change-making role in which he can make decisions happen and make things more equitable." Frater said that Harry "has a good track record of being quite firm and being very clear about what he believes in."

"The most recent demonstration of that is the fact he said because of his family he was going to step back from royal duties and move away to North America. He exhibits a lot of the characteristics of Princess Diana, in that fearlessness and boldness in standing up for what you believes in. He really believes in the education of young people."

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Prince Harry

Harry called into Diana Award ceremony from home in Los Angeles

Frater also opened up to People about the effect that systemic racism has had during his schooling. "I was never given the chance to really explain, or was overlooked in things and that really impacted my confidence," Frater explained.

"If we look at how black Caribbean boys are treated in the education systems you see a clear pattern they are often over represented in exclusion statistics and expulsion statistics and they underperform. Clearly there’s a systemic problem here."

As People mentions, Harry called into the Diana Award virtual ceremony from Los Angeles, where he currently lives with Markle and their son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. Actors Emma Thompson and Will Poulter also took part in the event, as well as singers Liam Payne and James McVey.

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Watch the full 2020 Diana Award ceremony here!