Prince Harry makes surprise appearance at the virtual Diana Award ceremony after arriving back in the U.K.

By Heather Cichowski

Prince Harry paid sweet tribute to Princess Diana as he made a surprise virtual appearance at the Diana Award ceremony on June 28, four days after he arrived back in the U.K. for the unveiling the late Princess of Wales's statue later this week.

The Duke of Sussex participated in the awards in what appeared to be a pre-recorded speech recorded at his Montecito home, according to HELLO! UK. He thanked the recipients of this year's prizes for continuing Diana's legacy and helping make the world a better place.

"I'd like to start by acknowledging and celebrating the incredible young people joining us today," the Duke of Sussex began his speech. "And wherever you are right now, I want to thank you for being part of this important moment and for being such a valuable asset to your community."

The dad of two said the effects of COVID-19 have been wide-ranging over the last 16 months, and connected the different the 2021 Diana Award winners have made during the pandemic.

"I'm truly honoured to be celebrating your work, your commitment to change-making and the vital role that you've taken on representing a new generation of humanitarianism."

The Diana Award supports the late People Princess's legacy. The Princess of Wales believed young people have the power to change the world. Harry spoke about his mother's passion for making our planet a better place, and also spoke about how he and Prince William will honour Diana later this week with a statue unveiling at Kensington Palace.

"Our mum believed that young people have the power to change the world," Harry said. "She believed in your strength because she saw it day in and day out and in the faces of young people exactly like you, she witnessed a boundless enthusiasm and passion.

Prince William and Prince Harry present an award to Faith Dickinson from Ontario at the Diana Award at St James's Palace on May 18, 2017. Photo: © Paul Grover - WPA Pool/ Getty Images

"And I, too, see those same values shine through. As it has done for 21 years now, the Diana Award carries her legacy forward by putting young people at the centre of our future. And this has never been more important.

"Never be afraid to do what's right. Stand up for what you believe in and trust that when you live by truth and in service to others, people will see that just as they did with my mum."

In the video, the duke was clad in a navy blazer with a white collared shirt underneath. The speech was shot in front of the corner of a room with ochre walls. A floral arrangement and a dark wooden door leading to an area with a plant could just be seen.

The Duke of Sussex travelled from Los Angeles to London's Heathrow Airport last week. He has reportedly been quarantining at Frogmore Cottage, his and Duchess Meghan's U.K. home in Windsor. His cousin Princess Eugenie, her husband Jack Brooksbank and their baby boy August are living there at the moment. It is said the house has been divided in two so Harry can quarantine separately from the younger Princess of York and her family.

MORE: Prince Harry arrives back in the U.K. ahead of unveiling of Princess Diana statue

The unveiling of Diana's statue will take place in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace on July 1, on what would have been the Princess of Wales's 60th birthday.

Some of Diana's family members will attend, along with sculptor Ian-Rank Broadley and garden designer Pip Morrison. It is likely that Diana's sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes, and her brother Charles Spencer will attend.

The Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace was one of Princess Diana's favourite places. Photo: © Samir Hussein/WireImage

The Duchess of Sussex, has remained in the United States with her and Harry's newborn daughter Lilibet Diana and two-year-old son, Archie.

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