"While my mother didn't live to see the success of today’s treatments, I feel immense pride in being able to continue her advocacy with you,” he said.
Prince Harry has paid tribute to his mother, Princess Diana, and her legacy in the fight against HIV and AIDS. In a letter, released by the Terrence Higgins Trust, a leading HIV and sexual health charity in the UK, Harry marked the charity’s 40th anniversary, praising its efforts in revolutionizing the fight against the diseases.
Harry highlighted his mother’s empathy and her demonstration of the power of connection in the face of fear, despite growing up in a world where HIV was "likely a death sentence." He wrote, “Yet, in the midst of all that uncertainty, she led with empathy, finding the humanity in all around her and demonstrating the power of connection in the face of fear."
He pledged to continue her advocacy and help England become the first country to end new HIV diagnoses by 2030, encouraging testing, smashing stigmas of silence and donating to the trust, per PEOPLE. "While my mother did not live to see the success of today’s treatments, I feel immense pride in being able to continue her advocacy with you,” he added.
The Duke of Sussex's letter was released ahead of the charity’s flagship fundraiser, The Auction at Christie's, which raises funds to support those affected by HIV and poor sexual health.
Today, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex has released a message in honour of 40 years of Terrence Higgins Trust.— Terrence Higgins Trust (@THTorguk) March 6, 2023
The message appears in the catalogue for our flagship fundraising event, The Auction at Christie's, which takes place this evening. pic.twitter.com/Z3Mj7jsn0V
The Terrence Higgins Trust was established in honor of Terrence "Terry" Higgins, one of the first people to die in the UK of an AIDS-related illness. The charity has grown into the largest voluntary sector providing HIV and sexual health services across the UK, while also working to empower those living with HIV and eradicate discrimination in the most at-risk communities.
Prince Harry has followed in Princess Diana's footsteps by putting the fight against the stigma of HIV and AIDS at the center of his public work. He previously supported the Terrence Higgins Trust by handing out self-testing kits at a pop-up shop, bringing Meghan Markle to the organization's AIDS Day charity fair in 2017 and teaming up with rugby player Gareth Thomas, who revealed he was living with HIV, for a kickoff event for National HIV Testing Week in 2019.
In further work to destigmatize HIV, Prince Harry has taken two HIV tests in public (including one with Rihanna) and established the charity, Sentebale, to help children affected by HIV and AIDS in Lesotho, Africa, which has one of the highest rates of HIV in the world.
The letter also comes amid reports that Prince Harry and Meghan have received their invitation to King Charles III's coronation on May 6. Whether they'll head to the UK for the crowning ceremony, however, remains unclear. A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed that Prince Harry had recently received email correspondence from His Majesty's office regarding the coronation, but an immediate decision on whether they'll attend won't be disclosed at this time.
Relations between the Sussexes and the Royal Family have remained strained following the release of Prince Harry's memoir Spare, published in January. In an interview with ITV's Tom Bradby, Harry said of the coronation, "There's a lot that can happen between now and then," adding, "the door is always open. The ball is in their court."
Prince Harry has been vocal about his struggles with mental health and the importance of seeking help. His advocacy for the HIV and AIDS community is just one of many causes he has championed throughout his public work, including support for veterans, sustainable tourism, and conservation efforts.
Cover Image Source: (L) Getty Images/Dean Mouhtaropoulos (R) Getty Images/Hulton Archive