X Factor supremo Simon Cowell told The Prince of Wales that meeting young people helped by The Prince's Trust charity made him "proud to be British".
Cowell echoed the words of veteran rock star Rod Stewart and his wife Penny Lancaster-Stewart as they praised the achievements of disadvantaged young people helped by the charity at a star-studded ceremony in London's Leicester Square.
The singer and TV star were joined by famous faces including actor Kevin Spacey, former Arsenal footballer Thierry Henry and Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell for The Prince's Trust & Samsung Celebrate Success Awards, which pay tribute to young people who have coped with issues such as drug addiction, abuse and homelessness.
Speaking before the ceremony at the Odeon cinema, Cowell said The Prince's work with the charity was "fantastic". He said: "I admire what they are doing and I think they do a great job. It is great for the country and great for the kids."
The awards, held in front of a 1,600-strong audience, were given to young people in seven categories, presented by Ant and Dec.
Educational achiever of the year was Greig Watson, from Scotland; the breakthrough award went to Natalie Coffey, from Northern Ireland; the community impact award was won by Hemel Hempstead team three; Kerry Harkins, from the West Midlands, won the enterprise award; Michael Tyler won the flying start award; and Emma Reilly was named young ambassador of the year.
The main award, the young achiever of the year, was won by Joel Fields, from Birmingham.
The 18-year-old overcame a violent childhood that saw him put into care at seven and feeling unable connect with anyone to gain a job at Marks & Spencer after taking part in a Prince's Trust employability programme, running a customer services department.
Speaking after receiving his award, Joel said: "When so many doors were closed, the Prince's Trust gave me an opportunity to show what I can do.
I am going to follow every single dream I have."
During the ceremony, which included performances from Brit award winner James Bay and singer-songwriter Ella Henderson, stars paid their own tributes to the young people's achievements.
Arsenal legend Henry - who looked bashful after a star-struck young woman shouted that his suit was "amazing" - called them all "heroes", while Stewart and his wife, both long-term ambassadors of the charity, said seeing the achievements of the young people made them "very proud to be British".
House Of Cards star Kevin Spacey added: "I have been an ambassador for the Prince's Trust since the very first awards a very long time ago and I am very pleased to be back again today."
Introducing one of the awards, Cowell said: "One of the earlier winners said, 'You have got to believe in yourself', but you've also got to have an arm around you to do that."
The Prince of Wales (centre front) poses for a photo with the winners at the Prince's Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards
Following the presentations The Prince, whose charity, founded almost 40 years ago, has helped more than 800,000 vulnerable youngsters, jokingly thanked Cowell for providing what he thought was the X Factor set, saying it was "about the nearest I am going to get to it", and Ant and Dec for their "remarkable, sparkling wit and repartee" to the event.
He joked: "It is quite interesting to think that they were actually born at the same time that I started the trust, which really must be only 20 years ago, I suspect."
His Royal Highness said: "My trust supports 58,000 disadvantaged young people every year to overcome, literally, unimaginable odds, as we have heard something about this afternoon.
"Personally I couldn't be more proud that since 1976 we have supported some 828,000 vulnerable young people to turn their lives around.
"However, on a day like this it is important not to forget the hundreds of thousands of young people out there who urgently need our help."
Among the other stars at the event were TV presenters Gok Wan and Gaby Roslin, former England rugby captain Lewis Moody, musicians Labrinth and former JLS star Oritse Williams, X Factor stars Ben Haenow and Fleur East and The Only Way Is Essex star Sam Faiers.
The Prince's Trust helps give disadvantaged young people the skills and confidence to find a job, with three quarters of them moving into work, training or education.
Samsung has supported the charity since 2012, providing "digital classrooms" and working on technology initiatives.
A speech by HRH The Prince of Wales at the annual Prince's Trust Celebrate Success Awards, 2015
Published on 12th March 2015
President, Ladies and Gentlemen, Simon Cowell!
I want to thank Simon for providing what I think is the X-Factor set here it's about the nearest I'm going to be to it I suspect! But it is really incredibly generous of him; as it is of Ant and Dec for giving up all their precious time, once again, I think it’s the fourth time. It really is unbelievable of them to do it and bring their remarkable sparking wit and repartee, totally unscripted, it makes the whole difference. Not only that, but it's quite interesting to think that they were actually born at the same time that I started the Trust, which really must have been only 20 years ago! Anyway, it is wonderful of them to do that and all the celebrity ambassadors, and so many others who've been involved in this Celebrate Success programme for so long.
I'm also so glad to welcome the President of Malta because she, for some amazing reason, has taken a great interest in what my Trust can do, so now I'm hope my new Prince's Trust International can help in Malta and also respond to all sorts of other requests from around the world for the kind of experience that the Trust has. So many people are now beginning to realise that maybe it can offer something, particularly for so many high levels of youth unemployment in different parts of the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen, my Trust, as I hope some of you know, supports 58,000 disadvantaged young people every year to overcome literally unimaginable odds, as we've heard something about this afternoon, and personally I couldn't be more proud that si ...