Prince Harry opened up about the remarkable influence his mother, Princess Diana, has had on his life during an appearance at the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit on Tuesday (Oct. 31). Calling her his “ideal role model,” the 33-year-old explained why his mother connected with so many people around the world.
“I think she had a lot in common with everybody but also she certainly listened,” he shared, adding, “In a very, very short space of time she was like a vacuum going around, sucking up all the information, all the criticism, all the issues, all the positives and negatives from everybody, then putting her name and her platform toward the bigger issues that had never been talked about.”
As a former member of the British Army, Harry credited his military service for helping him better understand his life of privilege, “Not only was I surrounded by normal people on a day-to-day basis, but it was a grounding moment for me as well, wearing the same uniform as all the people I was serving with,” he said. “My understanding of service and duty was given to by my service in the military.”
The royal also praised the younger generation for constantly inspiring him to do better, saying they have turned him “into an optimist.” Today’s young people are “the best connected, the most passionate I think we’ve ever had,” said Harry, adding, “What we need to do is we need to create a platform so they can be heard, because they have the solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems.”
Mrs. Obama and Prince Harry surprised approximately 20 students at Hyde Park Academy, a high school across from the future site of the Obama Presidential Center on the South Side of Chicago. The warm and wide-ranging conversation, lasting over an hour, covered how the Obama Presidential Center will showcase the South Side of Chicago for a global audience, the importance of young people staying inspired and hopeful, and the transformative power of students using their voices to change the world. Prince Harry is on a short visit to Chicago where he will speak at the Obama Foundation Summit later.
Prior to Tuesday night’s panel discussion, Harry teamed up with Michelle Obama to surprise students at Hyde Park Academy. During the hour-long visit, the duo chatted with the future leaders about staying positive in the face of adversity and the "transformative power of students using their voices to change the world."