The Duke of Cambridge surprised a group of anti-bullying ambassadors working on behalf of The Diana Award Friday morning, joining them on a video call to talk about their experiences.
William hopped onto the call with teenagers Rose Agnew, Jude Bedford, Paige Keen, and Isabel Broderick, and Tessy Ojo, The Diana Award’s CEO as Anti-Bullying Week ends to learn more about the work they do and how they became involved as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors.
“Obviously there’s nothing I can do to change my skin colour, and knowing that there’s people who, from the minute that I was born, essentially hated me just for that reason. Makes you feel so powerless,” Rose told the Duke.
“Now that we have the Anti-Bullying Ambassador programme in school, it’s really empowering and I think there should be Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in every school because if I could have had that peer to peer mentoring that we now can offer, my life would have been so, so different.”
According to The Diana Award’s website, even though the UK has largely been on lockdown this year, 46% of young people reported that they had been bullied in the past 12 months.
“We know from our research that mental health and wellbeing is the biggest concern with many feeling isolated from their friends,” Ojo said in a statement. “Paige, Rose, Jude and Isabel are passionate about tackling bullying and have continued to overcome barriers during lockdown to support their peers.
“We can’t be together in person for Anti-Bullying Week this year, but this surprise video meeting with The Duke of Cambridge has further motivated these young Anti-Bullying Ambassadors to continue with their work standing up to all forms of bullying.”
William praised the teens’ work, saying, “It’s just horrible and it’s very moving to hear you guys talk about how you want to help others and make sure that doesn’t happen to anyone else.
“That is the most important thing, that you realise this isn’t going to beat you and you want to make sure that others are not going to go through the same torment that you guys have gone through.
“But I’m just so sorry that you’ve experienced these circumstances and these bullies. It’s heartbreaking to hear how much of an impact it’s had on your schooling, your life, and things like that.”
The Diana Award was founded in the memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, and is the only charity set up in her name. The charity’s mission is to “foster, develop and inspire positive change in the lives of young people,” providing support through mentoring and anti-bullying programmes, and awards young people for influential work they do every year.