Prince Harry and Michelle Obama surprised approximately 20 students today at Hyde Park Academy, a high school on Chicago’s South Side, which is located across from the future site of the Obama Presidential Center.
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“The warm and wide-ranging conversation, lasting over an hour, covered how the Obama Presidential Center will showcase the South Side of Chicago for a global audience, the importance of young people staying inspired and hopeful, and the transformative power of students using their voices to change the world,” Caroline Adler Morales, the former first lady’s communications director, said in a statement provided to ABC News.
Prince Harry has joined former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama for the Inaugural Summit of the Obama Foundation today in Chicago, Illinois. During a discussion panel at the event this evening, Harry opened up about how he came to understand his role of public service.
"What happened to my mother put me a step back," Harry said. "How could someone like her, who did so much ... be treated that way?"
Harry went on to say that his time in the military helped him understand the concepts of "service and duty." He added that he now wants to use his platform to "normalize the discussion of mental health."
At the event, the prince shared the stage with a young representative from the Chicago-based mentoring program After School Matters, and a young leader from the Full Effect mentorship program in Nottingham, England, that Harry works with publicly and privately to provide opportunities and prevent young people from engaging in crime.
The high school is across from the future site of the Obama Presidential Center on the South Side of the city. pic.twitter.com/jjSav1neEQ— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) October 31, 2017
The warm and wide-ranging conversation, lasting over an hour, covered how the Center will showcase the South Side of Chicago to the world. pic.twitter.com/84lQfvF9iH— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) October 31, 2017
They spoke about the importance of young people staying inspired and the power of students using their voices to change the world. pic.twitter.com/Ah1unCjBn2— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) October 31, 2017
Michelle Obama wanted to highlight some of the future leaders at Hyde Park Academy who are inspiring their generation and will participate in the Obama Foundation’s work.
The public high school serves a predominantly African-American population in the area and focuses on career preparation and college advancement. Barack Obama visited Hyde Park Academy in 2013 to meet with students involved in their "Becoming a Man program."
The Obamas have created a warm friendship with Harry and were early supporters of Harry's Invictus Games, and he has repaid the favor supporting the Obamas at the Inaugural Summit for the Obama Foundation. Barack Obama joined Harry last month in Toronto, Canada, with former Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden.
The former first lady headlined the opening ceremony at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando with Harry.
The Obamas visited the U.K. for a state visit in 2011 and Prince William, Princess Kate and Harry reciprocated by inviting the president and first lady to Kensington Palace in April 2016, showcasing their enduring friendship. The Obamas also met Prince George for the first time during a dinner where the Obamas challenged Harry, which resulted in the viral video of the Queen Elizabeth and Harry responding to the Obamas' tweet.
Harry welcomed Barack Obama back in May of this year during the former president's most recent European visit. In addition to Barack Obama offering his condolences for the latest terror attack, they discussed "a range of shared interests including support for veterans, mental health, conservation, empowering young people and the work of their respective foundations," Kensington Palace said in a statement.
Harry and William both made visits to the White House during the Obama administration. Michelle Obama and Jill Biden pitched in, joining Harry to announce the U.S. launch of the Invictus Games in October 2015 with the first lady teasing Harry about his heartthrob status and asking Harry if the U.K. was ready to "bring it" to the Invictus Games.