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Prince William surprised four young anti-bullying ambassadors from The Diana Award by taking part in a video call with them to mark Anti-Bullying Week. As the Duke of Cambridge himself revealed to the public, Tessy Ojo, the chief executive of the charity, did not tell the youngsters who they were about to speak to ahead of the virtual event.
Upon appearing on the screen, Prince William was met with surprised screams of joy and smiles from the youngsters.
Joking, he apologised to the teenagers in case their expectations for the secret guests hadn’t been met.
He said: “It’s always good when Tessy doesn’t tell you who you are going to meet, there could be all sorts of expectations…
“So I’m sorry if this is a little bit different to who you might have thought you were going to see.”
Despite the light-hearted joke at the beginning of the call, the Duke of Cambridge delved into the topic of bullying with the teenagers.
William heard from them how bullying has remained a persistent issue for many young people despite schools being closed for several months due to the pandemic.
The bullying, they said, has simply moved online and continues to be experienced by many children and teenagers.
The four anti-bullying ambassadors who joined William in the call were Rose Agnew, 14, from Warwick, Jude Bedford, 16, from Cambridge, Paige Keen, 14, from Norwich, and Isabel Broderick, 15, from the West Midlands.
Rose said her first-hand experience with bullying pushed her to became an anti-bullying ambassador.
She said: “I joined The Diana Award and applied because I know what it’s like to be bullied and that’s a feeling that I want to try and prevent as many people from having as possible.
“When people hate you for a factor that you can’t control and that you can’t change, it just makes you feel so powerless.
“Obviously, there is nothing I can do to change my skin colour.
“And knowing that there are people that from the minute I was born essentially hated me just for that reason, definitely when I was younger, I found that really hard to deal with.
“I think there should be anti-bullying ambassadors in every school because if I had had in Year 8 a girl who knew what I had been through and could have offered me advice and could have made me feel that I wasn’t alone, if I could have had that peer-to-peer mentoring that now we can offer, my life would have been so so different.
“And you know my grades wouldn’t have been as impacted and I personally wouldn’t have been impacted.”
After hearing from the teenagers, Prince William praised them for being inspiring.
He said: “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.
“Clearly, you guys have all taken this on and beaten it, which is fantastic.
“Because it can – and, sadly it does – get on top of too many people and some of them can’t come through it.”
The Diana Award is a charity founded in the wake of Princess Diana’s death to carry on her legacy with young people.
Over the past decades it has trained more than 35,000 youngsters as anti-bullying ambassadors to support victims.
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