Published 9 July 2014

This programme is called The Queen's Young Leaders for a reason: you are leaders now, not in the future, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

The Duke of Cambridge

Thank you, Harry and Sir John.

Harry and I both have had the privilege of observing great leaders from our time in the Armed Forces and from among the charities which we support.

In our short time, we have observed that leadership expresses itself in many different ways: for some, leadership is about being at the front of a charge, a campaign to change something for the better.  For others, leadership is gentler and more affiliative.  Some leaders are born to lead; others have leadership thrust upon them.

But two traits unite all leaders: one is a clear purpose, a determination not to be detracted or to give up; the second is to know that you don't have all the answers and to learn.

The Queen's Young Leaders Programme is intended to do what I have just described to find young leaders, like you, who have determination, and to equip them with the tools to succeed.

The Commonwealth is uniquely placed to do this work, as it reaches 53 countries and embraces a range of leadership styles.  Fifty three societies have the chance to learn from one another.  I must say, in some ways, Harry and I envy those who have a chance to be part of this enormously exciting programme.

I will finish with one small word of advice:  all of you here are proven leaders already.  You may sometimes hear the phrase 'future' leaders instead of 'young' leaders.  This programme is called The Queen's Young Leaders for a reason:  you are leaders now, not in the future, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

The Queen, who has given her name to this programme and who became Head of the Commonwealth at the young age of 25 knows better than almost anyone what leadership and commitment is all about.

Please help us to get word out to every part of the Commonwealth to find the next generation of trailblazers.  The search is on for The Queen’s Young Leaders.