A 24-year-old volunteer said she hopes her MBE will lead to other young Britons being recognised for the work they do in their communities.
Amelia Collins-Patel, from Thurnby, Leicestershire, became one of the youngest people to be made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) when she was named in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours aged just 22.
On Tuesday she was finally presented with the honour for her voluntary service to children and young people, which saw her arranging conversations between people in the community to prevent them from feeling lonely or anxious during the pandemic.
A ceremony at Windsor Castle saw Miss Collins-Patel and dozens of others receive honours from the Duke of Cambridge.
Speaking about her MBE, she told the PA news agency: “It feels exciting but also there is some pressure with it. Hopefully it’s paving the way for more young people to be able to get nominated and to get recognised for the amazing work they’re doing.
“I’ve not done anything huge, it’s a day to day thing I’ve done, and I’ve just continued doing that from the age of six.”
Miss Collins-Patel added it was “very exciting” to meet William as he was “the person she wanted to meet.”
“I know how much passion he’s got for people that are making a difference,” she said.
“For me, he’s always someone who has inspired me as he’s going to be king one day and he’s spent so much time getting to know what it’s like for people like us.
“To hear his passion directly from him was so inspirational, it’s just encouraged me to go ‘Ok, what can I do next?'”
She also noted William’s previous campaigning about mental health, alongside the Duchess of Cambridge and his brother, the Duke of Sussex.
Mental health has been at the forefront of William and Kate’s royal duties for a number of years, with the couple previously launching the Heads Together initiative alongside Harry.
Miss Collins-Patel said: “He was just really happy that I’m continuing the legacy that they started, and has really encouraged me to continue making that difference, because, as he said, it’s my generation and those younger than me who have got to spearhead it and pave the way going forward.”