Prince Edward stepped into the limelight, receiving well-deserved accolades for his role in hosting the 50th anniversary celebration of the Commonwealth Youth Awards with enthusiasm and joy. The 59-year-old Duke of Edinburgh graced the occasion, which took place at St. James’s Palace in London, dressed in a sharp charcoal gray suit subtly adorned with a checkered design, perfectly blending in with the esteemed guests.
The event spotlighted young leaders who are actively addressing various challenges within their communities. These awards, a tradition since 1985, are organized in collaboration with the Commonwealth Youth Council and the Commonwealth Youth Networks.
Lay Robinson, Head of Social Policy at the Commonwealth, emphasized the significance of these awards, describing them as a golden opportunity to celebrate the pivotal role played by young leaders as nation builders and partners in development. Their impactful work resonates profoundly, amplifying their influence in making positive changes within their respective communities.
Originally, Prince Harry was the representative and head of this award ceremony. However, following his decision to step back from the royal family in January 2020, Prince Edward seamlessly assumed Harry’s position, earning widespread respect and solidifying the credibility of the contestants.
This transition took place after Prince Harry and Meghan announced their departure from their royal roles, which meant they would no longer use their HRH (His or Her Royal Highness) titles since they were no longer active members of the royal family. Consequently, they relinquished their patronages and royal involvements with numerous UK charities. Prince Harry also parted ways with his honorary military appointments, which were subsequently redistributed among working members of the royal family.
During the event, Prince Edward engaged in meaningful conversations with attendees and took the stage to deliver a speech. He also had the honor of presenting Maya City with the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year award and certificate. Maya, a 20-year-old from Trinidad and Tobago, founded the Siblings and Friends Network, which provides support to individuals on the autism spectrum in her country. Prince Edward’s warm smile radiated as he handed the visibly delighted activist her well-deserved award.
This year marked a significant milestone as it was the 50th anniversary of the Commonwealth Youth Program (CP). The celebration witnessed the emergence of 20 regional finalists, each with incredible initiatives spanning environmental transformation, health, and well-being.
Prince Edward, the youngest brother of King Charles III, spent time with families enjoying activities on Port Stuart Inclusive Beach, witnessing firsthand the work of the May Murray Foundation. This charitable organization empowers people of all ages and abilities to participate in activities like swimming, surfing, or simply enjoying the beach.
During his visit, Prince Edward encountered a young boy who requested a photograph because his friend wanted to see the royal holding his Lego brick. With a friendly smile, Edward responded, “Right, okay,” and posed for the photo. He continued the light-hearted interaction, saying, “You won’t believe it’s the same one, though, will you? Are you supposed to be in this photograph as well?” The young boy replied, “You stay there, and I’ll come around,” and Edward eagerly obliged, resulting in a joyful moment captured on camera.
As he handed back the Lego brick, he advised, “He better hold on to that. Good to meet you, my friend.” This heartwarming exchange elicited laughter from the surrounding group, highlighting Prince Edward’s approachability and his ability to connect with people of all ages.
Prince Edward’s role in hosting and engaging with the Commonwealth Youth Awards exemplifies the royal family’s commitment to fostering positive change and celebrating the achievements of young leaders within the Commonwealth. His warm and approachable demeanor during the event showcases the continued dedication of the royal family to meaningful causes and interactions.