Prince Harry Calls Princess Diana His ''Ideal Role Model'' at Obama Foundation Summit

Royal had a candid conversation with Mellody Hobson at the first night of the Obamas' inaugural summit in Chicago

By Meg Swertlow Nov 01, 2017 12:50 AMTags

The globe-trotting Prince Harry hit up Chicago on Tuesday for the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit put on by his good pal, former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama.

The event's YouTube page explains, "Some of the world's most thoughtful and passionate civic leaders will take the stage and lay out the challenges we face, along with the opportunities we have for engagement and transformation."

For Prince Harry's segment on the first night of the two-day event, he had a candid conversation with Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments, LLC, on ways that youth can be the drivers of community engagement and development.

In the sit-down, the 33-year-old also spoke openly and honestly about how he's trying to use his immense privilege to help others, as well as speak about the impact that his mother, the late Princess Diana, had on his being of service to others. 

Prince Harry at the 2017 Invictus Games
JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images

During the conversation, Mellody asked the service-oriented royal why Harry thought his mother was referred to as the "People's Princess."

"I think she had a lot in common with everybody but also she certainly listened in a very, very short space of time," said the prince. "In society we suffer from this illusion or this reality where some problems get so big that nobody wants to get involved. She was the one that changed that."

The complimentary son also added, "I will always look up to her as being my ideal role model."

The Brit, who said he'd attended his first "proper royal engagement" at age 4 or 5, also spoke about his charity with brother Prince William and sister-in-law's charity, Royal Foundation.

During the conversation, Harry was also asked about what inspires him, he answered, "The younger generation of the world has turned me into an optimist...they have the solutions to some of the world's biggest problems."

Harry, who is dating American actress Meghan Markle, added, "We have to listen to the younger generation because they are the cure to some of the world's biggest problems—they are the cure of many communities as well."

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle: Romance Rewind
JIM YOUNG/AFP/Getty Images

Earlier in the day, the 44th president gave an opening session speech in which he asked the crowd of people at the summit for a number of things, including to be open minded to meeting new people, and to not ask him and his wife for selfies, so that he can have an actual conversation with the attendees, and most importantly to "have fun." 

The summit features around 500 speakers and performers, with grassroots leaders participating alongside big names such as the royal, Common, Jose AndresLin-Manuel Miranda and Chance the Rapper.


In addition to session at the summit, the royal and former first lady made a surprise visit to 20 students at the Hyde Park Academy, a high school across from the future Obama Presidential Center.

"Mrs. Obama and Prince Harry surprised approximately 20 students at Hyde Park Academy, a high school across from the future site of the Obama Presidential Center on the South Side of Chicago," said Caroline Adler Morales, Mrs. Obama’s Communications Director, in a statement.

The principal of Hyde Park Academy spoke to E! News about the surprise hour-long stop by and said the unknowing students were pretty pumped about the .

"[The students] were extremely surprised and excited. We didn't tell them beforehand because we didn't know if we were going to be able to make the visit happen with their schedules but when they showed up we had already started the meeting with the Obama Foundation representatives and the presidential senate which will be located across the street from the school," said Principal Ross. "One of the students was in mid-sentence when they walked in and they just screamed so they were extremely, extremely excited!"

"More than a building or a museum, the Obama Foundation will be a living, working center for civic engagement. The Foundation believes in every person's ability to create positive change in their local community or anywhere in the world," according to a press release.

"The Foundation's initiatives inspire and empower people with the skills and tools they need to do just that—to change their world—and train and connect the next generation of civic leaders and active citizens. During this two-day immersive event, five hundred plus rising and established community leaders will come together to exchange ideas, explore creative solutions to common problems, and experience civic art, technology, and music from around the world."