Orygen Global's Maddison O'Gradey-Lee the first Australian to win prestigious Diana Legacy Award

Orygen Global's Maddison O'Gradey-Lee the first Australian to win prestigious Diana Legacy Award

28 March 2024

Image: PA/AAP [Arthur Edwards] Prince William presents Maddison with her award at a ceremony in London on March 14.

Orygen’s Maddison O’Gradey-Lee has become the first Australian to win the coveted Legacy Award, presented by Prince William in honour of his late mother, Diana Princess of Wales.

After receiving The Diana Award in 2022, Maddison has now become the only Australian to win the exclusive Legacy Award since the award’s inception 25 years ago.

Described as “the most prestigious accolade a young person can receive for their social action or humanitarian work”, 26-year-old Maddison was recognised with the Legacy Award for her mental health advocacy work, including as the co-founder of Orygen’s Global Youth Mental Health Fellowship.

  • Read about the Diana Legacy Award here
  • Read about Maddison’s story here

Maddison received the award from the Prince of Wales at a ceremony at the Science Museum in London on March 14. Prince Harry attended via video call.

“It was such a surreal experience, I feel incredibly privileged to have been a part of it,” she said.

“Getting to meet Princes William and Harry, and be able to speak with them about my work and what it would have meant to their mother is something I’ll never forget."


Maddison said she spoke with Prince Harry specifically about Orygen’s Fellowship program.

“We talked about our mental health advocacy work and what we do in the fellowship, as well as what he sees as his mother’s legacy.”

At the ceremony, Prince William said this Legacy Award was particularly special as it marks the 25th anniversary year of The Diana Award, “a charity set up to reflect my mother's belief that young people can change the world”.

“I know that she would have been honoured to see a charity in her name doing such inspirational work to uplift young people from all corners of the globe,” he said.

Orygen’s Fellowship program is for young people aged 18 to 30 from Australia or any ASEAN country who are passionate about youth mental health and want to create change in the mental health landscape in their respective countries. The ASEAN-Australia Fellowship began as the program Maddison co-founded, the Global Youth Mental Health Advocacy Fellowship, was conducted in 2021 and 2022.

It was established to build the capacity, skills and voices of young people to create positive change in mental health awareness, policy and systems reform. The program also supports participants to further develop their youth mental health project plan designed around the needs of their communities. The current program runs for five months and is comprised of weekly online sessions and additional mentoring opportunities, plus an annual international conference.

Read Maddison’s interview with The Australian Women’s Weekly here.