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- Duke of Sussex
It's been almost exactly three months since the Queen sat alone in the pews of St George’s Chapel, Windsor during the funeral of her husband of 73 years. But, despite her grief following Prince Philip’s death, the 95-year-old monarch has thrown herself back into her duties.
The Queen joined a video call on Monday with young leaders from across the Commonwealth to discuss the work they have been doing with the support of the organization The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT). Looking summery in a turquoise and white flowered dress, the monarch listened as four leaders from around the world told their inspirational stories.
The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust was launched in 2018 and aims to champion and connect young leaders across the world. The Queen is Patron, and Prince Harry and Meghan used to be President and Vice-President respectively, with the expectation that they would play a big role within the Commonwealth. However, once it became clear that the Sussexes would not be returning to royal duties, they were unable to keep their official positions with the organization.
“With the QCT grant, a total of 130 plus women who were experiencing violence were assisted with prompt, quality care and services for their safety and mental wellbeing,” Safaath Ahmed, who founded Maldives NGO Women and Democracy told the the Queen during Monday's video call. The discussion also featured two time cancer survivor Brad Gudger who founded the charity Alike, which connects young people with cancer via an app to help combat loneliness, as well as Jean d’Amour Mutoni who runs a center in Kigali, Rwanda which helps combat youth unemployment, and Jubilante Cutting who founded the Guyana Animation Network (GAN).
“We recognize that in some parts of the Commonwealth, particularly in the Caribbean, young people still do not have access to quality education, resources and role models,” Jubilante Cutting said during the call. “Thank you to you ma’am for your continued encouragement to young people and your support to QCT which has enabled GAN to continue its activities during the pandemic.” Commenting on some artwork by the young people behind Jubilante, the Queen said, “It’s very good, isn’t it. Good background for you.”
It was during a video call with the QCT in July 2020 that Harry attracted attention for making comments about the Commonwealth needing to acknowledge the past before it can move forward. “So many people have done such an incredible job of acknowledging the past and trying to right those wrongs, but I think we all acknowledge there is so much more still to do,” he said. His comments came following the QCT’s decision to start a conversation about how colonization and injustices of the past should shape the future of the organization.
In a statement in February this year, when it was announced Harry and Meghan would not be continuing in their roles, the QCT said they had been “very lucky to have had the keen support and encouragement of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”
“They have enabled us to make fast progress and have helped us to take the organisation to readiness for its next phase. We are glad that they remain in our circle of supporters,” the statement read.
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