Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai meets with Queen Elizabeth at palace

Malala meets the queen

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    Malala meets the queen

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Story highlights

  • Malala Yousafzai chats with Queen Elizabeth II at a Buckingham Palace reception
  • The teenage education campaigner released her memoir last week and won an award
  • Malala met President Barack Obama a week ago at the White House
  • She was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament

Pakistani girls' education campaigner Malala Yousafzai, who has found international fame since being shot by Taliban militants last year, met with another icon Friday: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, invited the young activist to a reception at Buckingham Palace, where they met and chatted for a short time.

Malala, who was accompanied by her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, presented the Queen with a copy of her newly published memoir, titled "I am Malala."

"It's nice to meet you and it's a great honor coming here, and I wanted to present you my book," Malala said.

Queen Elizabeth responded, "That's very kind of you. Thank you very much indeed."

Malala said she hoped the two could work together to make sure all children receive an education, not just in Pakistan, but in the United Kingdom, too.

"I hope that we will all work together for the education of every child, and especially in this country as well, because I have heard about many children that cannot go to school," she said. "So I hope that we will continue our work on youth empowerment."

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In his inimitable fashion, the Queen's husband, Prince Philip, made a joke about children and education when meeting Malala at the palace.

"It's one thing about children going to school," he said, "they go to school because their parents don't want them in the house."

In an interview with CNN last week, Malala joked that she was going "because it's the order of the Queen, it's the command."

Malala has been based in Britain since she was rushed there for major surgery after the Taliban shot her in the head in her native Pakistan because of her efforts to promote girls' education.

Malala: Accolades, applause and a grim milestone

It's been a busy few days for the 16-year-old.

Last Friday, as the world marked the International Day of the Girl, she met U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House.

Pakistan's educational challenges

Undaunted by the occasion, she challenged the President over U.S. drone strikes in her homeland, saying that they risk "fueling terrorism" and that U.S. efforts would be better focused on promoting education, according to a statement she released. The U.S. government has said strikes by the unmanned aircraft are a necessary part of the fight against militant groups, including the Taliban.

A day earlier, Malala won the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, awarded by the European Parliament.

Parliament President Martin Schulz called her a "brave advocate for education" who "reminds us of our duty toward children and especially girls."

Malala's memoir, which recounts her experiences after she was shot and her determination not to be intimidated by extremists, was released October 8.

There had been speculation that she might also be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last Friday, but it went instead to the world's chemical weapons watchdog.

Why Malala's bravery inspires us

Malala's activism started after the Taliban banned girls from schools in Pakistan's Swat Valley in 2009. She anonymously blogged for the BBC in opposition to that order and became an open advocate for girls' education.

In 2011, Malala told CNN, "I have the right of education. I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk."

A year later, at age 15, she was riding the bus home from school when a Taliban gunman climbed aboard and shot her in the head. She nearly died.

Since then, Malala has recovered and continued advocating for girls' education, despite ongoing death threats from the Taliban.

      Malala's battle

    • A copy of the memoirs of Pakistani child activist Malala Yousafzai is pictured in a bookstore in Islamabad on October 8, 2013. Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai tells of the moment she was shot by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' education in her new autobiography out on October 8, amid speculation that she may be about to become the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Co-written with British journalist Christina Lamb, 'I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban' tells of the 16-year-old's terror as two gunmen boarded her schoolbus on October 9, 2012 and shot her in the head.

      The teen blogger simply wanted an education. But she became a symbol of defiance against militants, empowering young women worldwide.
    • Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani advocate for girls education who was shot in the head by the Taliban, sits before she speaks at the United Nations (UN) Youth Assembly on July 12, 2013 in New York City.

      More than three million girls are out of school in Pakistan, while spending on education has decreased to 2.3 percent of GDP in 2010.
    • Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani advocate for girls education who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012, officially opens The Library of Birmingham in Birmingham, central England, on September 3, 2013.

      The Pakistani Taliban issues a new death threat against Malala, who turns the other cheek.
    • Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai was able to stand up and communicate on Friday, October 19.

      Hundreds of messages from around the world were received by CNN for Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani teen activist attacked by the Taliban.
    • Pakistani NGOs activists carry placards as they shout slogans at an event on International Human Rights Day in Lahore on December 10, 2012.

      Pakistan has a new heroine and a new cause -- a girl's right to education. Now the government vows to get every child into school by end 2015.