Among those to receive an honour was TV interpreter Alex Duguid, who has spent the past three decades helping broadcasters communicate with deaf audiences, becoming the British Sign Language (BSL) face of ITV’s Emmerdale and Coronation Street.
In a special touch, Prince William awarded Duguid with an MBE – the third highest ranking Order of the British Empire award – using BSL.
The royal signed, “Congratulations, Alex,” as seen in a video shared by Kensington Palace, to which the honouree responded, “Thank you” by signing.
In the caption for the video, the palace praised Duguid for his contribution to the deaf community, writing: “He is an example of how profoundly deaf people can have an impact on their community, their peers and their country. He is passionate about BSL and the need to promote and protect it.
“Alex has spent the past thirty years giving up his time raising hundreds of thousands of pounds towards community projects benefitting South Tyneside’s deaf community, and teaching BSL classes through the organisation Signature, helping hundreds of people communicate with deaf people.”
Social media users have praised Prince William for trying to use sign language during the presentation.
“Well done, Prince William! Did you all know his Mum Princess Diana learned sign language as patron of the British Deaf Association?” one Twitter user wrote.
Another commented: “How wonderful of Prince William to take the time to learn sign language. That is how a royal with integrity acts. So incredibly thoughtful.”
While a third person wrote: “This made me so emotional. A video of Prince William using sign language, will show this to my niece. I'll never understand why sign language isn't mandatory in school. Thank you.”
The investiture ceremony came just one day after Prince William joined Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and Prince Harry to discuss the announcement that Harry and Meghan Markle were planning on stepping down as senior royals.
This is great to see the Duke took time to learn to sign something that would mean so much to Alex— gareth pennington (@gazpen)January 14, 2020
Following the meeting, the Queen released a rare statement saying the discussion had been “very constructive”.
“My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family,” the statement read.
“Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the royal family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.”
On Monday, Harry and William also issued a joint statement about a "false story" in a UK newspaper.
The brothers said: “Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between The Duke of Sussex and The Duke of Cambridge.
“For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful."