Liam Payne took a night off parenting duty as he attended a prestigious awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace, while his girlfriend Cheryl stayed at home with their newborn son Bear. The One Direction singer had the honour of meeting the Queen at the Queen's Young Leaders Awards, which celebrates young people aged between 18 and 29 who are dedicated to changing their communities for the better.
Liam, 23, joined a host of celebrities including Mo Farah and YouTube star Caspar Lee as they were introduced to Her Majesty at a reception in the palace State apartments. "It was an honour to be invited," the singer later said. "Obviously the Queen's Young Leaders – there are some inspirational young people in there doing some great things. Not only do we get to meet the Queen and say hi, these people have done some of the best things in their communities at such a young age, you know, setting an example. It's great."
Liam Payne was among the lucky few who met the Queen
Liam also took to Instagram to share a photo from their meeting, writing: "An absolute honour to meet the Queen today on such a fantastic occasion. Privileged to share the room with such inspirational @queensyoungleaders, hear their stories and how they are helping to rebuild and preserve a sometimes broken world."
At the ceremony, the Queen presented two young people from the UK with a Queen's Young Leaders Award. Alex Holmes, from Milton Keynes, was honoured for his commitment to ending bullying in schools while Usman Ali, from Glasgow, was praised for his work to improve employment opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The One Direction singer said it was an "honour" to be invited
Prince Harry, who launched the awards programme with his brother Prince William in 2014, gave a speech during the evening, praising the talented young winners. "We often hear and read so much about the challenges people are facing in every corner of the world – all of which is brought vividly to life through digital and social media," said Harry. "We are better connected than ever before – this can make the world seem a faster, more complex, and challenging place. And too often it can make us all feel pessimistic about the future.
"But that's not what I see. At home and abroad, I see people – especially young people – doing incredible things. Young people are using this technology more than ever to be a force for good and positive change in their communities. They are creative and innovative, and most importantly, they are committed to making the world a better, more optimistic, and compassionate place."
Prince Harry gave a speech during the awards ceremony
The programme was set up to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Each year, 60 young people have been selected to receive a Queen's Young Leaders Award and become Queen's Young Leaders – one for every year that the Queen had served as head of the Commonwealth at the time of her Diamond Jubilee. Past winners have included young people campaigning on a variety of issues, from cancer awareness in Botswana to organic farming in Cameroon.