This year also marks the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death, which occurred on Aug. 31, 1997.
The Duke of Sussex remembered his late mom in a recorded video address at The Diana Awards ceremony. The charity, which was founded in 1999 and is the only one which bears Diana’s name, highlights the work of young change-makers.
“Today, we’re reflecting on what would have been my mother’s 61st birthday,” Harry says in the opening remarks of the awards.
“And this year is also 25 years since her passing. There isn’t a day during the past two and half decades where I haven’t thought about the mark she left ― not only on me and my brother ― but on all of our lives,” he said.
“I see her legacy in all of you,” the duke added. “I see her legacy in a Diana Award community that spans multiple generations. I see her legacy every time I meet with families, young people and children from all corners of the world. And I see my mom’s legacy when I look at my own children every day.”
“My mother instilled in me ― and in all of us ― a drive to speak up and fight for a better world,” Harry explained. “And now, as a husband and a parent, my mother’s voice is even stronger in my life.”
William also spoke of his mother’s legacy in a letter addressed to the 180 winners of this year’s award, who come from 29 countries.
“Congratulations on receiving The Diana Award today!” the Duke of Cambridge wrote. “You are part of an inspirational generation of young people who are changing the world through your actions, and I hugely admire your efforts.”
The royal commended recipients on their “remarkable” stories and abilities to break down barriers.
“Thank you for your compassion, bravery and absolute determination,” he added.
“You truly are the personification of my mother’s legacy and I know she would be so proud of you all,” he wrote. “I believe there’s no better way to celebrate her life and work than through recognising incredible people who dedicate so much time and effort to helping those around them.”
Last year, the brothers reunited in person on their mother’s 60th birthday to unveil a statue they commissioned to honor her legacy. The statue, which resides in the Sunken Gardens of Kensington Palace, was crafted by sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley.
The statue features three children ― though Diana had just two of her own ― to “represent the universality and generational impact of The Princess’ work,” according to Kensington Palace.
The brothers released a joint statement at the time of the unveiling to remember their mother’s “love, strength and character.”
“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,” they said.