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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make surprise calls to young people

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle put on a united front in their garden today as they appeared in a video about working with young people to improve the digital world.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex surprised US recipients of the first Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund (RTYPF) grants with phone calls to congratulate them.

Harry, 38, also referenced the couple’s children Archie, four, and Lilibet, two, saying: ‘Thank you for doing everything that you do. Our kids especially are incredibly grateful.’ Meghan, 41, then added with a laugh: ‘They don’t know it yet, but they will!’

The clip was released by the RTYPF rather than the couple, but features professional footage of them speaking at their £12million mansion in Montecito, California. 

The Duke was dressed smart casually with brown chinos and a white shirt, while his wife – who turns 42 this Friday – wore a $189 camel sleeveless top and matching $162 skirt from Malibu brand Bleusalt, which she paired with minimalist gold earrings.

The couple’s Archewell Foundation is a founding member of the RTYPF, which is designed to help those working within the ‘responsible technology movement’.

Harry and Meghan speak to recipients of Responsible Technology Youth Power Fund grants
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are seen making the phone calls from their Montecito garden
Harry and Meghan put on a united front for the calls made to recipients of the new fund
The couple sit together in the garden of their £12million mansion in Montecito, California
Harry, 38, references the couple’s children Archie, four, and Lilibet, two, during one of the calls

Some 26 youth-led initiatives will receive a total of $2million in grants ranging from $25,000 and $200,000, based on the stage of the organisation and its needs.

The money, which will help efforts including ensuring the responsible use of artificial intelligence, has been provided by sponsors including the Archewell Foundation.

Sam Hiner, executive director of the Young People’s Alliance Education Fund, was among those to receive a phone call from the couple.

He told People magazine: ‘What I appreciated is that sometimes it feels like we’re not as recognized for the advocacy we do as young people.

‘I really appreciated that they saw the importance of the work that we were doing and were speaking to the importance of young people getting engaged in the democratic process.’

Trisha Prabhu from the organisation Rethink Citizens told the couple: ‘It was like young people were empowered and emboldened to say things to me online that they would never say to me in person.

‘And so my vision was, can we actually stop the cyber bullying at the source with the cyber bully via a behavioural approach that actually teaches young people to pause and rethink.’

And Harry responded: ‘This is amazing. This is exactly why we do what we do. This is exactly why the Youth Power Fund was created.’

Tazin Khan Norelius, founder of Cyber Collective, was also congratulated by the couple who said they were ‘really proud of the work’ her group was doing.

Meghan also asked Ms Norelius to pass on a message to her father, who was an inspiration behind the organisation for which she is now chief executive.

Ms Norelius told People: ‘She said, ‘Tell Baba I say hi!’ Which was really sweet. The impetus of me starting this organization, one of the reasons was because dad got hacked.

‘When I was able to share that story, I think that maybe resonated with them, and they congratulated me. When I told my dad, he was just so excited about it.’

In a statement reported by Town and Country magazine, RTYPF co-founder Emma Leiken said today: ‘Societies globally are wrestling with major issues like the youth mental health crisis and the decay of our information environment.

‘What and who can we trust online? Can online spaces be truly safe and affirm wellbeing? And what new systems can we create with, instead of for, young people?

‘These questions touch on issues ranging from platform accountability to cybersecurity, privacy, digital literacy, data equity, algorithmic bias, and digital well-being and that’s what this fund’s grantees will tackle.’

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