Harry hails inspirational young leaders at Palace awards ceremony


Prince Harry and football star David Beckham have hailed inspirational young people from across the Commonwealth as role models to others as their achievements were honoured by the Queen.

Harry described the 60 winners of the Queen's Young Leaders Awards as "an inspiration to so many" when they received medals for showing exceptional leadership in their communities.

Beckham said he hoped his children would look up to those being honoured during the Buckingham Palace ceremony.

The footballer, who attended the inaugural awards ceremony last year, said: "I want my children to be inspired by these guys, whatever they want to be, to be honest, as long as they have dreams, aspirations and what better people to look at than these young women and men."

The award recognises the exceptional leadership of young people from across the Commonwealth's member states and Harry paid his own tribute to the Queen for her role leading the nation.

During the presentation ceremony led by the Queen, he said: "I have been extremely fortunate to meet many exceptional people over the years, but none more so than Her Majesty The Queen.

"As the head of the Commonwealth, the Nation, the Armed Forces and our Family, I - like millions of others across the world - have been able to look to her for inspiration and guidance.

"The Queen, who assumed the challenge of leadership at such a young age, has shown us all the importance of selfless commitment and service. She is the example I aspire to and the standard by which I will judge my contribution."

Harry told the winners gathered in the Palace's ballroom: "The Queen's Young Leaders award recognises what you have achieved, not for yourselves, but for your communities, for your peers, and for those less fortunate.

"Your service spans a broad spectrum of fields from HIV and sexual health education, to micro finance and the recycling of hi-tech waste.

"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."

Sir Lenny Henry, who joined guests including former prime minister Sir John Major, paid tribute to outstanding young people from across the globe honoured for doing "good in their communities" by the Queen.

The comic and actor said: "It's fantastic they're from all over the Commonwealth and they've done amazing things like utilising chickens for equity and LGBT stuff and entrepreneurial stuff in their neighbourhoods."

He added: "I think young people taking matters into their own hands to do good in their communities, is a great story - why wouldn't you tell that story - and why wouldn't you reward that, it's a fantastic thing."