It was a very fitting engagement for the couple who share a passion for the Commonwealth and plan to use their roles to visit member nations, strengthen links and support young people. In fact, Prince Harry has just returned from Lesotho, where he opened a school on behalf of Sentebale, a charity he co-founded with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho. In April, Harry was appointed a Commonwealth Youth Ambassador by his grandmother, he also became patron of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust.
In 2014 a search was launched by William and Harry to find exceptional young people to receive the first ever Queen’s Young Leaders Awards. Hundreds of applications flooded in from incredible young people all dedicated to making lasting change in their community and beyond. Each year from 2014 to 2018, 60 exceptional young people were selected to receive a Queen’s Young Leaders Award and become ‘Queen’s Young Leaders’ – one for every year that the Queen had served as Head of the Commonwealth at the time of her Diamond Jubilee. Guided by the values of the Commonwealth Charter, the goal of the programme is to enable young people to step up as leaders and improve the lives of people across the Commonwealth.
The Queen's Young Leaders Programme, now in its fourth and final year, celebrates the achievements of exciting young change-makers from across the Commonwealth. This year's cohort, from across 38 countries, are working to improve the lives of people across a diverse range of issues including supporting people living with mental health problems, access to education, promoting gender equality, food scarcity and climate change.
The Queen was 26 years old when she became Head of the Commonwealth. The programme was launched in honour of Her Majesty's lifetime of service to the Commonwealth – a global network of 53 countries and 2.4 billion people, of whom 60% are under 30 years old.
During a speech, Prince Harry said: "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."
More from Harry's speech:
'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.'
The Queen presents young leaders with their medals.
Royal reporter Hannah Furness revealed Meghan met one of the recipients during her trip to India last year: "The Duchess, then Meghan Markle, has previously worked with a Queen's Young Leader winner of 2017, Suhani Jalota: founder of the Myna Mahila Foundation, one of the charity's on the couple's wedding gift list." The visit prompted Meghan to pen a powerful piece for Time about the the stigmatization of menstrual health. Below, Meghan chats with one of the winners.
The royals sat for official photos.
During the reception, Meghan chatted with leaders and heard about causes they are passionate about.
Harry and Meghan enjoyed meeting the leaders.
A terrific photo of the newlyweds.
Guests at the reception included the Chairman of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Sir John Major, Sir Lenny Henry, David Beckham, Nicola Adams, Caspar Lee, Neelam Gill, Ore Oduba and Tina Daheley.
Harry kept tight lipped when asked about the honeymoon. Emily Nash writes:
They were asked if they went to Namibia on honeymoon and Harry said they didn’t - but he wasn’t going to tell anyone where they did go with us around to report it!
Ahead of their Autumn tour, Harry and Meghan met Queen’s Young Leaders from Australia, New Zealand and Tonga.
Although it's the final year of the Queen's Young Leaders programme, the journey has just begun.
'Over the next 18 months, the Queen’s Young Leaders Programme will continue to champion the initiatives being undertaken by award winners and Highly Commended Runners-Up, support their networks and share their stories. A £200,000 Legacy Fund, open to all 240 Queen’s Young Leaders and 282 Highly Commended Runners-Up, to apply for grants to help elevate their work and enable them to work together to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing the Commonwealth will also open in September 2018.
The young Leaders form a unique, dedicated and powerful group of young people from 53 Commonwealth countries who are connecting, collaborating and changing lives together – and they will continue to do so for years to come.'
You can view a video of the ceremony below.
The Duchess was effortlessly regal in a bespoke Prada ensemble for the awards. The pale pink suit features a peplum effect top, a thin waist belt, button detailing and an asymmetrical skirt.
Meghan's gorgeous shoes are the Aquazzura Deneuve Bow Pointy Toe pumps (with thanks to Japanese Ginger).
Made in Italy, the stiletto heels are described as "A pert bow perched at the back ties together the chic detailing of a pointy-toe pump featuring side cutouts and a super slim stiletto." They retail for $750 at Nordstrom.
The Duchess carried her Prada Saffiano Clutch.
Meghan accessorised with a silver cross bracelet.
We have an extended post this evening, sharing details regarding Harry and Meghan's Dublin itinerary for 10-11 July. It promises to be a fascinating two days which will see the couple focus on "meeting the people of Dublin and visiting organisations which are central to Irish life." It will mark Meghan's first overseas visit as a member of the royal family. Their mission is to bolster Anglo-Irish relations in the lead up to Brexit.
Engagements will include a Gaelic sports festival at Croke Park, the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association. The Duke and Duchess will also attend a summer garden party at the British Ambassador's residence, where they will meet people from across Ireland's arts, sports, military and social enterprise sectors. I expect we'll see the Duchess in a summery evening dress for the event.
The Duke and Duchess will learn about Ireland's culture and heritage, including a visit to Trinity College, where they will see the Book of Kells, one of Ireland's greatest cultural treasures.
The Duke and Duchess will also have a moment for reflection at the Famine Memorial, before visiting EPIC, the Irish Emigration Museum, telling the story of the 10 million Irish people who have emigrated across the world.
The couple will learn more about the bright future of Ireland during their time in Dublin, with a visit to DogPatch Labs, a co-working space for technology start-ups. Here, The Duke and Duchess will meet children and young people taking part in free coding workshops, and will also have the opportunity to talk to female tech entrepreneurs. We expect to see at least a couple of walkabouts during the visit. Additionally, they will meet President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
It's shaping up to be a very exciting trip!