Queen’s Young Leaders Reception 2018 At Buckingham Palace

United Kingdom | London

Celebrating exceptional people aged between 18 and 29 from across the Commonwealth, The Queen’s Young Leader Award forms part of a programme that celebrates young leaders who are taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives. The program was launched in 2014, with the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex searching the Commonwealth for eligible candidates. One of the many highlights of the programme is that annual reception that his held at Buckingham Palace. The Queen’s Young Leaders Reception 2018 was hosted by Her Majesty the Queen with His Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex delivering the speech.


Established by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in partnership with Comic Relief and the Royal Commonwealth Society, The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme further offers a one-week residential programme in the UK to all winners. This year’s winners enjoyed meeting mentors in Cambridge to visiting business giants and projects in London.

Queen's Young Leaders at Cambridge University
Residential Programme began at Cambridge University with three days of networking, interactive sessions and individual coaching with the Institute of Continuing Education. (Image courtesy of Queen's Young Leaders)

“The Commonwealth can only flourish if its ideas and ideals continue to be young and fresh and relevant to all generations”

– The Queen –

The week also included a masterclasses with the BBC Academy as well as an exclusive guided tour of the BBC World News News Room in Central London. A small group of the Queen’s Young Leaders were awarded the opportunity to attended a workshop of activities at Reprezent Radio in Brixton. Reprezent Radion is the United Kingdom’s only radio station presented exclusively by young people. Other winners enjoyed a visit at Marlborough House before heading to 10 Downing Street for an exclusive session.

Queen's Young Leaders at 10 Downing Street
After a morning at Marlborough House, this year’s cohort headed to 10 Downing Street for an exclusive session with some of the UK’s most influential political leaders.

For many winners, the most anticipated part of the programme is the awards reception at the palace. The Queen’s Young Leaders Reception 2018 started with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and was assisted by her grandson Prince Harry and his new bride the Duchess of Sussex. Prince Harry was named the organization’s Youth Ambassador only a few weeks before the recent royal wedding. The Queen’s Young Leaders Reception 2018 was hosted in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace, the winners, mentors and guests were received by Her Majesty and Their Royal Highnesses.

Queen's Young Leaders Reception 2018
Her Majesty the Queen with David Beckham
Queen's Young Leaders Reception 2018

Her Majesty the Queen looked elegant in a muted-mint floral dress with yellow, peach and pink flowers. The monarch finished off the look with her iconic three-strand pearl necklace and matching earnings with a broach. For accessories she wore white gloves with her standard black handbag with two-tone leather heels.

Queen's Young Leaders 2018
Queen's Young Leaders 2018 winners at the reception held at Buckingham Palace

The Duke of Sussex wore a classic navy suit lined with powder blue silk. His wife the Duchess of Sussex looked beautiful in a nude dress from Prada. Her Royal Highness completed the look by matching her Majesty with black heels and a black clutch. His Royal Highness Prince Harry then went on to address the guests in his speech for the Queen’s Young Leaders Reception 2018:

“Thank you Sir John Major for the introduction.

It’s an honour to be here today to recognise and celebrate this year’s Queen’s Young Leaders.

This programme was launched four years ago in honour of Her Majesty The Queen’s service to the Commonwealth and Her belief in young people as a force for positive change.

As many of you know, this is the last year of The Queen’s Young Leaders Awards, but the legacy of the programme will no doubt carry on for generations to come.

This year we are recognising the incredible work of the final group of exciting young change-makers from across 38 Commonwealth countries, who are working to improve the lives of people in their communities and beyond.

The issues all of you have chosen to take on are at the core of some of the world’s biggest challenges – from tackling stigma around mental health and promoting gender equality, to changing mind-sets and habits in order to conserve our natural world – you are all making a huge difference.

Your generation is the first that will have to deal hands-on with topics and issues that have been known about for a very long time. You are the future leaders who will need to pick up the baton on issues such as climate change, food security, equality and access to education, and improving the lives of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

The pace of change is happening so much faster than it did 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago. A more interconnected world means that any local problem can become a global problem overnight, but at the same time the technology and innovation driving this inter-connectivity means that any local solution can become a global solution just as fast.
In this rapidly changing world, it is heartening to meet so many inspiring young people gathered here today, who have already stepped up as leaders and improved the lives of so many people across the Commonwealth. You are the hope and optimism the world needs and we will all do everything that we can to support you in it.

One of the best things about The Queen’s Young Leaders coming together this week is having the chance to share the projects you’ve taken on – you are now part of a community of people trying to do good. I encourage you to nurture these new relationships, share your ideas, stay connected and keep working together. What you have achieved individually is formidable, but collectively, the possibilities are limitless.
This is not the last you will hear from me. Earlier this year, I was honoured to have been named The Queen’s Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, and I am committed to supporting the legacy of The Queen’s Young Leaders and the 1.4 billion Commonwealth youth.

I guess you can say you’re stuck with me. I, together with my wife Meghan, look forward to convening young people from around The Commonwealth to hear your ideas, work with you to build platforms for you to collaborate and form partnerships, and continue to meet with many of you as we travel around in our work on behalf of The Royal Family. We look forward to meeting many of you this evening – but we also hope to see you in action in your home countries someday too.

The complete network of Queen’s Young Leaders has now been established, forming a powerful group of 240 young people from across 53 Commonwealth countries that will connect, collaborate and change lives together for years to come. I can’t wait to see all that you will do to change the world!

Thank you and good luck.”

For more information on the Queen’s Youth Leaders programme visit the QYL website here.

Images courtesy of Buckingham Palace 

Martin Jones

Royal Editor

With over 30 years in the field, Martin Jones is considered as one of the world's leading Royal Commentators. He and his team report on the latest news, announcements and events from various Royal Families all across the world.

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