Performs first duty as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador at CHOGM Youth Forum
Prince Harry, who has been appointed a Commonwealth Youth Ambassador by the Queen, took part in his first duties where he attended a youth round table and delivered a speech at the opening session of the Commonwealth Youth Forum at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centrein London.
The Prince told the young delegates, “It is you who are going to change the world.”
“My hope is to convene young leaders from across the Commonwealth to discuss how best we can make Commonwealth platforms work for you and to ensure maximum impact.”
He said he would be an ambassador to a generation that “inspires me everyday”. The Prince also joked that he is “going to try and have to keep up with" the young people in his new role.
“Both here in the UK and as I travel, my job will be to listen to you. My duty will be to ensure your ideas concerns, thoughts, and hopes are heard and my commitment will be to work with you to build better platform for your leadership and help you collaborate and form partnerships with your peers across nations.”
The theme of the Forum is to 'Powering Our Common Future’ in a bid to highlight the potential of young people within the Commonwealth – 60% of its population are under the age of 30.
“In my new role, I will work to support the Queen, my father, the Prince of Wales, and my brother, William, all of whom know that young people are the answer to the challenges today. I am here to support you, and I cannot wait to see what you’re going to achieve together.”
During his speech, Harry got cheers and applause from the audience when he mentioned his bride-to-be, who will join him on Wednesday at a Commonwealth Youth Forum reception. “I am also incredibly grateful that the woman that I am about to marry, Meghan, will be joining me in this work, which she too is hugely excited to take part in,” he added.
Bride-to-be Meghan will also attend two events at the CHOGM. She will join him at the Commonwealth Youth Forum today (Wednesday) and attend a Women's Empowerment reception tomorrow (Thursday).
Paying tribute to his grandmother, the Queen, he said: “I am particularly honoured to be speaking to a room of inspiring young leaders in my first speech as the Queen's Commonwealth Youth Ambassador.When I was reflecting on how to make the biggest impact with this new role, I turned to the ultimate source of guidance on all things Commonwealth: the words of the Queen herself.
“On the day of her 21st birthday, the then Princess Elizabeth gave an extraordinary radio address from Cape Town. With an eye on the future, and an already unflinching sense of duty, she made a commitment. She said that whether her life be long or short, it would be dedicated to the service of the people of The Commonwealth.All of us here today can be grateful that it is a long life The Queen is still enjoying. Her Majesty's commitment has meant that The Commonwealth is a thriving family of nations, a common link between nearly two and a half billion people, and a defender of democracy, justice, and peace.”
Last morning Harry and Prime Minister Theresa May greeted members of the Commonwealth Youth Council and Youth Taskforce to hear about the issues young people want championing. The forum was an opportunity for the young people of the Commonwealth to build cross-cultural connections and networks, debate the challenges faced, and agree youth-led initiatives to influence decision makers and ensure young people have a voice in its future.
Kensington Palace said: “HRH has previously undertaken a large number of official visits to Commonwealth countries, most recently to Canada and Australia with The Invictus Games, and in 2016 to seven Caribbean countries on behalf of the Queen."
In the new role, Harry will highlight and support the work and aspirations of young people across the Commonwealth's 53 member states.
Harry will work to create links between young people and youth leaders of the Commonwealth and to encourage them to use Commonwealth platforms to address the social, economic and environmental challenges of their generation.
The announcement comes days before the Queen and other members of the royal family will roll out the red carpet for Commonwealth leaders at the formal opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the Ballroom of Buckingham Palace tomorrow (Thursday).
The Windsors will be out in force, with the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke of Cambridge, Harry, the Duke of York, the Princess Royal, the Countess of Wessex, the Duke of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra attending the ceremony.