Prince Harry, who praised his royal grandmother for her leadership and advice, was also at the event alongside Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and former soccer star David Beckham.
The Queen s Young Leaders program discovers, celebrates and supports young people from across the Commonwealth who strive to make a lasting change in their communities. Sixty winners were recognized for their exceptional leadership at an awards ceremony.
Canadian Kelly Lovell, who runs a global economy youth media network called YOU Effect, told reporters the Queen was “quite vibrant.”
“She reminded me a lot of my Nana, she’s the same age and she actually is a great admirer of the Queen and she’s the one who inspired me to get involved,” she continued. “She’s been a volunteer for 50 years, so it was very surreal because I’ve always heard about the Queen from her and then to be meeting her.”
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Like Beckham, who said he had “goosebumps” heading to the palace, she felt the nerves kick in when she spoke to the Queen. “It wasn t until I actually got up and stood there and then I was a little wobbly and she asked me what I did and I explained, but it happened so quickly,” she added.
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Fellow Canadian Gunjan Mhapankar, who founded the Digital Storytelling Project to increase awareness about mental health, LGBTI+ rights and employment rights, thanked the Queen “for believing in me, for believing in us, for championing us.”
She praised “this amazing platform where we can take everything we ve learned in London back home and tell other people about this amazing program, teach other people all the learning we ve acquired and build something that can make a change.”
The young leader was also inspired by Harry. “He was really inspirational, he has some really visionary ideas and he was really excited to actually speak with us more one on one about the program and the work we re doing and see if he can come in and connect people with different partners,” she told reporters.