updated 07/10/2014 AT 12:00 PM ET
•originally published 07/10/2014 AT 5:10 PM ET
As he approaches one year as a father, Prince William says marriage and parenthood has been the “silver lining” in a life touched by tragedy – the loss of mom Princess Diana, who died in a car crash when William was just 15.
The prince, 32, spoke Wednesday at Buckingham Palace to a group of young leaders, including brothers Rob and Paul Forkan of London. The Forkan brothers were also teenagers when their parents perished in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
The Forkans decided to honor their parents by building orphanages in emerging nations, funded by selling flip-flops made by their company, Gandys.
Rob, now 26, told reporters how William had shown his compassion: “He said he lost his mum at 15 but there was always a silver lining and you should dust yourself off and carry on.”
“He applauded what we had done and said keep up the good work,” he continued. “He’s got his own family now – that was his silver lining.”
Among the guests at Wednesday’s event were young leaders and celebrities like comedy actress Jennifer Saunders and singer Joss Stone.