Prince Harry Condemned Institutional Racism in a Speech on Princess Diana's Birthday

"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,” the Duke of Sussex told recipients of the Diana Award. 

Prince Harry and Princess Diana
Photo: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

It’s been nearly 23 years since Princess Diana’s tragic death, but her legacy and kindness has lived on through her sons Prince William and Prince Harry.

On Wednesday, which happened to be the late Princess of Wales’s 59th birthday, Harry shared a recorded message to the recipients of the Diana Award.

"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," Harry 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. And I love that The Diana Award is able to help you do it.”

"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,” the Duke of Sussex continued. “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. 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.”

Harry also touched on the Black Lives Matter movement, echoing the sentiment his wife Meghan Markle expressed during a commencement speech she gave to graduates of her L.A. high school last month.

"My wife 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,” he told Diana Award recipients.

"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."

“I want you to know that we are committed to being part of the solution,” he promised, “and to being part of the change that you are all leading. Now is the time and we know that you can do it.”

The Diana Award, given to people between the ages of 9 and 25 for their social and humanitarian contributions, honored 180 people from around the world this year.

After Harry’s speech, he “shared the mic,” passing the virtual baton to Diana Award-winner James, 24, a medical student committed to making education more accessible to Black students.

“It’s so important that we all work — use our privileges, use our platforms, use the voice that we have — to uplift those who have been routinely shut out of opportunities, who haven’t been given the voice they deserve or the opportunities they deserve to fulfill their potentials,” Frater said in his speech.

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