Safe to say Queen Elizabeth’s Thursday was better than most people’s. The 90-year-old was joined by her grandson Prince Harry and soccer player David Beckham for the 2016 The Queen's Young Leaders Awards held at Buckingham Palace.
The project, which discovers, celebrates and supports exceptional young people from across the Commonwealth, ensuring a long lasting legacy for Her Majesty all over the world, recognized 60 individuals for their work that spans from HIV education, micro finance to recycling of hi-tech waste.
Prince Harry congratulated this year’s winners along with the thousands of others who were nominated at the awards reception. In a heartfelt speech, the 31-year-old praised his grandmother’s legacy, admitting that she has provided him with a benchmark for the way he intends to serve his country.
“I have been extremely fortunate to meet many exceptional people over the years, but none more so than Her Majesty The Queen,” the royal said. “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.”
Harry continued, “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.”
Prior to the award ceremony, Her Majesty and grandson met with supporters of the project, including David Beckham. The monarch beamed as she shook hands with Victoria Beckham’s husband, who has been a champion for the Queen’s Young Leaders since 2014.
Photo: Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images
The hunky athlete addressed the evening's award recipients saying, “I am thrilled to be here once again to help Her Majesty The Queen in congratulating a new group of inspiring young leaders. I know those who won last year are continuing to build on the opportunities the award has provided them. I look forward to following the progress of the class of 2016 and have no doubt we will be seeing a lot this year’s exceptional group of young people as they continue to make lasting change in their communities.”
While at the June 23 event, David also opened up about his four-year-old daughter Harper, who was intrigued by her father’s visit to the palace. He shared, ”After the school pick up today I was talking to Harper and I was like, 'I'm going to see the Queen.' She was like, 'Okay, but do you think she will be drinking tea?' So she was very inquisitive. I am so proud to be here."
Despite meeting the royals and attending Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2011 nuptials, the soccer icon admitted, “Just being here, it gives me goose bumps just driving through the gate," adding, “I’ve been here a couple of times now, and every time it is very special.”