Queen Silvia and Princess Madeleine of Sweden attended the first virtual World Childhood Foundation Gala on Thursday, 19 November. This year, it took the form of a one-hour live stream due to COVID-19.
The annual ThankYou Gala is usually held in New York City but had to be moved online due to the pandemic. It is held to raise funds for the World Childhood Foundation’s work in combating violence and sexual abuse in children.
The gala began with a welcome speech by the Queen, who founded the foundation in 1999. She highlighted how the pandemic has had an impact on children in regards to sexual abuse and exploitation; she said: “COVID-19 has dramatically changed our lives. But also our understandings: In the beginning, many people believed that COVID was not dangerous to children.
“Unfortunately, we have learned that it is dangerous for children, but in a different sense. Isolation at home and spending more time online has significantly increased their vulnerability to sexual abuse and exploitation, both in their homes and online.“
The 2020 Childhood ThankYou Award was presented to Jennifer Fox for her film The Tale. Fox is a survivor of child abuse, and the movie is the story of her childhood. The Tale was filmed to shed light on the universal problem of child exploitation and sexual abuse.
Swedish artists, Zara Larsson and Seinabo Sey provided entertainment during the evening while various celebrities also filmed video greetings for the evening. Russell Crowe, Bryan Cranston, Forest Whitaker, Julia Stiles and Romero Britto also spoke via video before Princess Madeleine concluded the evening with her closing remarks.
“By joining us tonight and generously contributing to our cause, you have expressed your solidarity with the most vulnerable children. You have shown that there are many ways in which we all can contribute to ending violence against children,” the Princess, who resides in Florida with her family, said.
She continued: “More than half of the children in the world are exposed to violence – many of them sexual violence, and this is why Childhood’s work is so important to prevent and end this terrible action.
“So I want to thank you all for spending this evening with Childhood and for caring about the children.”
The ThankYou Gala has an online auction that lasts until 4 December. More information can be found here.