The Duke of Cambridge has written a foreword for the new “Future Forward” five-year plan The Diana Award charity is launching on Thursday to coincide with International Day of Youth.
According to a press release from the organization, Future Forward aims to empower children to serve as “change-makers” in their communities, especially as families continue to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Organisations like The Diana Award have never been more important in nurturing the talent of young people and working with them to change the world for the better,” wrote the 39-year-old. “Future Forward sets out The Diana Award’s blueprint for how change can be achieved, with young people at its heart.”
“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and social inequality has been felt most acutely by young people,” the press release shared. “Young people are driving positive change but their voices are still missing from the conversations about the post-pandemic recovery. On International Day of Youth, The Diana Award’s Future Forward strategy puts young people at the heart of leading change.”
On July 1, which would have been Diana’s 60th birthday, William and his younger brother Prince Harry teamed up to unveil a statue in honor of their late mother.
Diana’s three siblings joined the brothers for the private ceremony in the Sunken Garden at London’s Kensington Palace, a place the princess once found solace. It was only the second time the brothers have appeared together in public since Harry, 36, stepped aside from royal duties over a year ago.
The statue, which shows a larger-than-life Diana surrounded by three children, was commissioned by the brothers in 2017. The style of her dress is meant to evoke the final period of her life, when she gained confidence in her humanitarian work.
“Today, on what would have been our mother’s 60th birthday, we remember her love, strength and character – qualities that made her a force for good around the world, changing countless lives for the better,” William and Harry said in a joint statement. “Every day, we wish she were still with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and her legacy.”
Video released after the event showed the brothers entering the garden together before talking with family members and then pulling two ropes to remove the cover from the statue.
Links between the brothers have been painfully strained in recent months, with William defending the royal family from allegations of racism and insensitivity made by Harry and his wife Meghan Markle from their new home in Southern California.
Harry stepped back from royal duties last year and moved his family to the U.S. in search of a more peaceful existence that he could better control. William has pressed on with royal life and the never-ending demands that accompany his role as second-in-line to the throne.
The relationship became strained in March when Harry and Markle, 40, gave an interview to U.S. talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
Harry confirmed rumors that he and his brother had been growing apart, saying “the relationship is ‘space’ at the moment” — though he added that “time heals all things, hopefully.” Harry also told Winfrey, 67, that his father, Prince Charles, didn’t accept his calls for a time.
The couple revealed that before the birth of their first child, an unidentified member of the royal family had expressed concern about how dark his skin might be. Days after the broadcast, William responded to questions called out by reporters, stating that his was “very much not a racist family.”
But Diana’s memory is something that continues to unite the princes. Royal historians have noted that the brothers seek to control the way their mother is portrayed, highlighting her philanthropy and connection with the public.
Diana passed away in 1997 at age 36 from injuries she sustained in a Paris car crash.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Prince William honors late mother Princess Diana in a special way on International Day of Youth