The Duke of Sussex has called on businesses to help the “social mobility” of future generations by letting their staff become mentors as he admitted he will forever be a role model to son Archie.
Harry said becoming a dad for the first time had made him realise he was now looked up to by another person – suggesting he will have to be an inspiration to his child.
In the keynote speech at a national youth mentoring summit, the duke urged companies and organisations in the audience to embrace mentoring, which has “the power to make society richer, happier, kinder and more aligned”.
The event was organised by the Diana Award, a charity Harry supports which honours the legacy of his mother, Diana Princess of Wales, and he described how she was a role mode “without realising the impact she would have on so many lives”.
Speaking at a venue in the City of London, the duke said: “I’m struck by a few things today, most of which is the power of the invisible role model.
“The person who may be sitting here today that doesn’t realise that someone looks up to them, that – for that person – you inspire them to be kinder, better, greater, more successful, more impactful.
“Perhaps it’s the newfound clarity I have as a father knowing that my son will always be watching what I do, mimicking my behaviour, one day maybe even following in my footsteps.
“But it’s not just my role as a father that shows me that; it’s in the people I see every day that don’t realise how inspirational they are to those watching.”
The Diana Award staged the day-long conference to raise awareness about the positive effect mentoring can have on young people – especially with issues like knife crime and youth violence a problem in parts of the UK.
As the charity launched a campaign to recruit 500 new mentors, Harry added: “Being a role model and mentor can help heal the wounds of your own past and create a better future for someone else.”
He went on to say: “That is why I am urging businesses and organisations to pledge their commitment to mentoring, to shift the scale of social mobility for generations to come and unlock a resource which can transform society.”