Prince Charles believes the COVID-19 pandemic has made life ‘infinitely worse’ for teens.
The 73-year-old royal spoke of how a ‘terrible’ health crisis has prevented young people from connecting with their friends, ‘cut them off from trust-building issues’ and ‘deprived’ them of the ‘social experience’ that other generations thought was provided, so urged the nation to “believe in our young people so they can begin to believe in themselves.”
Speaking at the Prince’s Trust Awards at the Theater Royal Drury Lane in London, he said: “Of course we are here today after a terrible pandemic that has affected education, employment, families and childhood.
“We still don’t know the extent of the destruction in the long term, but we do know that many still experience isolation and loneliness, and that more and more young people around the world are growing up with fear of the future.
“Listening to young people, I know that the journey from childhood to adulthood, from school to work, can be an unsettling and hectic time, even for those in the best of circumstances.
“But the pitfalls of that journey have become infinitely worse for many today — they are separated from their high school friends, cut off from trust-building issues, and deprived of the social experience we all took for granted.”
This year’s awards will be televised for the first time, on ITV on Thursday (26/05/22), and Charles joked about how he could be a “commercial break without realizing” in the final cut.
The ceremony was hosted by Saturday Night Takeaway stars Ant and Dec for the tenth time, and the duo joked that Charles always looks disappointed when he sees them and says, “Oh no, not you again.”
Dec joked, “His Royal Highness’ classic bow.”
And when the prince took the stage, he joked: “Welcome to Ant and Dec Tuesday afternoon.”
Charles “never ceases to be moved” by how each of the young award winners “overcame the toughest obstacles.”
He added, “I can’t tell you how proud I am of them all.”