The Queen’s Young Leaders of 2016 were presented their awards from Her Majesty the Queen, during a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Thursday. Prince Harry, David Beckham, Sir Lenny Henry and former PM Sir John Major were among the personalities to pay tribute to the inspiring young people from across the Commonwealth.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prince Harry said:
“You have already been an inspiration to so many; but I hope this award will inspire you to go out and achieve even greater things in the future, empowered by the network of leaders you now sit amongst.”
David Beckham said: “I am thrilled to be here once again to help Her Majesty The Queen in congratulating a new group of inspiring young leaders. I know those who won last year are continuing to build on the opportunities the award has provided them. I look forward to following the progress of the class of 2016 and have no doubt we will be seeing a lot this year’s exceptional group of young people as they continue to make lasting change in their communities.”
And in what is a royal first, Buckingham Palace opened its doors to vlogger Alfie Deyes, who was given special access to document the occasion. Alfie said: “I’ve been reading up some of the stories of some of the people that are here today. It’s unbelievable at such a young age to accomplish so much.”
The Queen’s Young Leaders themselves expressed their excitement throughout the day. Moitshepi Matsheng from Botswana said:
“It feels so surreal. It feels amazing. I think the Queen’s Young Leaders programme has really been beneficial. I think the adventure, the knowledge, the insight in itself – really life changing!”
Josephine Nabukenya from Uganda said “Getting my award from her Majesty the Queen of England – it shows that my work has been appreciated and because of the award I’m going to do more than what I’ve been doing.”