Prince Harry spoke at the virtual ceremony for the Diana Awards, pledging to tackle institutional racism

By Stephanie Petit
July 01, 2020 12:20 PM
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Prince Harry
The Diana Award

Prince Harry is "committed to being part of the solution" and end institutional racism.

Queen Elizabeth's grandson spoke at the Diana Award's virtual ceremony on Wednesday via a video recording to praise young people making differences in their communities in the name of his late mother, Princess Diana. He also apologized for older generations not doing more to tackle unconscious bias and racism.

"My wife [Meghan Markle] said recently that our generation and the ones before us haven't done enough to right the wrongs of the past," he said. "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," he continued. "Unconscious bias must be acknowledged without blame to create a better world for all of you."

Harry said he is "committed to being part of the solution 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 — whose ceremony was held on what would have been Princess Diana’s 59th birthday — encourages Diana's belief that young people have the power to change the world and recognizes those who have kept that legacy alive.

"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. 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," he continued. "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."

Meghan Markle
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex

Meghan, 38, and Prince Harry, 35, have been talking to community leadersabout how they can both learn more and contribute to the Black Lives Matter movement in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd.

"They are holding calls with community leaders and organizations but are doing that privately as they continue to see how they can play a role. But they also want to learn and talk about it like the rest of us," a source close to the couple previously told PEOPLE.

Last month, Meghan gave an emotional surprise address during the virtual graduation ceremony of her former school, Immaculate Heart High School in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. In her speech, she told the students, “the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing.”

Meghan and Harry, who recently relocated to Los Angeles with 1-year-old son Archie, have also distributed meals for the non-profit Project Angel Food and visited Homeboy Industries, a community social justice organization working to improve the lives of formerly incarcerated and previously gang-involved people in L.A.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Samir Hussein/WireImage

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have also been working behind the scenes to support the Stop Hate for Profit Campaign, which calls on CEOs around the world to come together to temporarily pull their advertisements from Facebook, which has been criticized for years for showing all types of political ads, even those that contain lies and misinformation.

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As we've been developing Archewell, one of the areas The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been keen to address is online hate speech, and we've been working with civil rights and racial justice groups on it,” a source tells PEOPLE.