Prince Harry shares personal photos from his summer conservation work in Africa

Prince Harry shares personal photos from his summer conservation work in Africa

I am splitting up the remainder of Prince Harry‘s royal tour of South Africa into two posts. One is about his visits and speeches, and one is about the personal photos he released during the tour. This post is about the photos Harry released.

To coincide with his official visit to South Africa Wildlife College near Kruger National Park, Harry released a series of photos and videos from his time working on conservation this summer in Africa and wrote a caption for each.


For the above photo, Harry wrote:

    “After a very long day in Kruger National Park, with five rhinos sent to new homes and three elephants freed from their collars – like this sedated female – I decided to take a moment.
    “I know how lucky I am to have these experiences, but hearing stories from people on the ground about how bad the situation really is, upset and frustrated me. How can it be that 30,000 elephants were slaughtered last year alone? None of them had names, so do we not care? And for what? Their tusks? Seeing huge carcasses of rhinos and elephants scattered across Africa, with their horns and tusks missing is a pointless waste of beauty.”


Harry wrote of this photo:

    “I was working with Dr. Mark Jago and Dr. Pete Morkel in Namibia. Some countries are de-horning small populations of rhino to deter poachers from shooting them. It is a short-term solution and surely no substitute for professional and well-trained rangers protecting these highly sought-after animals. De-horning has to be done every two years for it to be effective and can only realistically be done with small populations in open bush. My initial task each time was to monitor the heart rate and oxygen levels and help stabilise them as quickly as possible. My responsibilities then grew to taking blood and tissue samples and the de-horning itself.”

To learn more, visit Save the Rhino.

The below photo and caption might be disturbing.


This story behind the above photo:

    “By this point many people will have heard of ‘Hope’, a young female black rhino that was brutally wounded by poachers in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. This was the second operation to try to save this animal’s life.
    “Some poachers use a dart gun and tranquilize the animal so as to not have to fire a shot that would be heard. They then hack their face off while the animal is paralysed before running off with the horn. Local communities saw her stumbling through the bush and then alerted the authorities. Thanks to Dr William Fowlds and his team, Hope survived and is making a speedy recovery. I stared into her eyes while operating on her and thought at first that it would have been better and fairer to put her down rather than put her through the pain. Afterwards I was told of another female called Thandi who was in a similar state in 2012. She now has a baby calf called Thembi.”

To find out more, visit Wilderness Foundation.


The above photo is of a healed Thandi and her calf, Thembi.


Harry captioned this photo:

    “This was the second time Zawadi, a female black rhino, met someone from my family. My brother William fed her three years ago in Kent just before she left under a translocation project to Tanzania where she now lives in a sanctuary. Thanks to the passion and stubbornness of Tony Fitzjohn OBE and his amazing rangers, she and many others are living it up in the bush and their numbers are growing. She goes nuts for carrots and I loved being able to send William this photo.”

To find out more, visit Tusk Trust.


    “These baby rhinos are at an orphanage because their mothers were killed by poachers. I can’t say where this is for obvious reasons. But I spent an afternoon with Petronel Nieuwoubt who runs the orphanage. The youngest rhino was called Don. He was just two months old when he was found in Kruger National Park. Petronel has students and volunteers from all over the world come to look after these orphans. They pay for this experience and that money is used for milk, food, fencing and rangers for security.”

To find out more, visit Care for Wild.

With the caption:

    “Trying to stop a three tonne rhino with a rope and a blindfold isn’t easy! Especially in this harsh terrain in Botswana. Mapp Ives and Kai Collins, with the help of Botswana Defence Force and the government, are doing everything they can to protect their newly reintroduced rhino population. This sometimes means having to sedate them to check on how they’re doing.”

To find out more, visit Rhino Conservation Botswana.

Not everyone was thrilled about these photos. Royal photographer, James Whatling, said of these photos, “That’ll be a kick in the teeth for the photographers that have spent time and money travelling to SA with Harry.”

I understand why there would be frustration whenever a royal releases photos on social media like this because it causes the royal photographer’s photos to be used less and they therefore get paid less. But at the same time I think it is great that Harry was able to put his own captions to the photos and talk about his experience with his conservation work over the summer so that he is calling attention to the cause.

I know a few of us commented that Harry’s summer trip seemed like more for personal gain than any actual charitable effort, so his releasing these photos and videos and calling attention to the issue in my opinion is a good thing. The timing may be off, though. Harry’s already on a tour and there are already a ton of photos of him doing the wildlife conservation thing. If he had released these photos right after he returned from his summer work, I think that would have been a better time to release the photos and videos. For one, it would have called attention to the issue twice (once in September when he got back, and once now in December during his tour), and it would have not caused any unneeded issues with the royal photographers considering they are already really annoyed with the way William and Kate are handling things and the last thing Harry needs is to have the reporters and photographers annoyed at him the way they are annoyed at William and Kate.

So I agree the timing of the release of these photos may have been off, but overall I think this was a great thing. We (or at least I) want a more personal touch from the royals and Harry gave me that by talking about his personal experiences with his work. Harry is continuing to shine and the release of these photos with these captions just builds on his goodwill in my mind.

Photos: ©Prince Harry

38 thoughts on “Prince Harry shares personal photos from his summer conservation work in Africa

  1. I read all of these and saw the videos when they came out. I think that’s actually really advocacy work and I really like that there was a different and relevant foundation for each post.

    It was really great, and really sad, to hear not how bad the situation has gotten, what’s being done not just through a write up in an article but words for Harry. He really is serious about this and it shows.

    You’ve been commenting about their use of social media. I saw these on Instagram. This would be a great way of using and also incorporating a more personal touch to their social media accounts.

    1. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. I think that Harry is really working at getting the message across – and pictures like these speak a strong language. That they are accompanied by captions are even better!

      The difference between Harry’s and William’s efforts in wildlife conservation is glaring! William gives a speech at a gala once in a while whilst Harry is visiting the “trenches” and conveying the brutal reality of poaching through visuals, which have a much bigger impact. I think that while we know stuff like this, being confronted visually with the reality of this kind of butchery brings the message home in a very effective manner.

      Harry is really so much better at utilizing the media platform that comes with the interest in his person – and I wonder if he works with a PR person (and actually listens!). If Will is really passionate about this cause and actually wants to effect change, then he ought to take a few pointers from his brothers. I do however, miss a discussion of poaching as a socio-economic problem, i.e. poachers do this to put food on the table. The root of the problem is the fact that there is a market for these things, a market based in superstition.

      1. William seems to make it about him whereas Harry seems to make it about the people out there really doing the defending of these animals.

        Re being confronted with the butchery, I knew that poaching was bad and what they do to the animals is horrible, but reading Harry’s description of the face hacking really got to me. I think this was really smart on his part.

        Re poaching as a socio-economic problem: Harry did touch on the supply/demand aspect in terms of why people continue to buy these animals products, but he could have hit it harder. I think no matter what William or Harry preach it will take changing the way the buyers think about these products to stop the poaching. If people think a rhino horn is going to cure some illness they have, no amount of “Think about the children” is going to stop them from purchasing a rhino horn. They need a proper education and to let go of the archaic idea that a rhino horn is going to cure an illness. If we stop the buyer’s demand for these products we will stop the sellers demand for them and stop the poaching.

        1. I agree. Harry’s captions hammer home the poaching issue so well. It was brutal to read some of the things. Still, what a deeply caring man he is to roll up his sleeves and get so involved. He has it rings around William. I don’t doubt William’s interest in his causes, it’s just that some people don’t have the ability to really throw themselves so deeply into the things they are passionate about. Harry often praises his brother. How I would love to hear William compliment Harry more. He needs his brother so much. I really wish he’d connect with Harry more.

          1. Yes, it would be lovely to hear William actually saying something nice about his brother. Those passive-aggressive jibs of his are increasingly tiresome.

    2. Yes, Harry and his team did a good job with these photos, the commentary, and the links to relevant charities/foundations. And I think Harry’s commentary really did show that he takes this issue seriously and it isn’t just fluff work for him.

      I do think this was a fantastic use of social media. As I said in my post, I understand where Whatling is coming from and maybe the timing could have been better, but I do think this was a great way for Harry to share his personal experience and a great use of social media.

      1. One thing the way they handled the commentary with the links really shows up W&K’s team as we rarely see that kind of thing with the few and far between statements we get from them on their charities. Actually more with Kate.

      2. Someone upthread asked whether Harry works with a PR team separate from WK’s team, and so I remind everyone that Harry’s ELF used to work in PR. Don’t know what his job was, but he was employed by RLM Finsbury, a company that is very well respected in the PR world. If you notice, Harry’s public communications as far as getting the message out for his causes, improved exponentially when he appointed ELF.

        Jason, whilst billed as a crisis manager, doesn’t appear to understand the art of PR. His use of social media is so lacking that i’m convinced it’s left to the day’s intern who has been kept in the dark on everything so they don’t know what to post.

        ELF has guided Harry’s public communications from the lows of Vegas to this. Meanwhile, I genuinely thing Jason has not been a value-add to the Cambridges’ PR even as I acknowledge that he is working with clay.

        There are ways to make your charges seem hardworking and or knowledgeable with no input from said charges. Especially now that social media is here to stay.

        The way these pictures have been presented and captioned, nevermind the timing, has done so much for Harry and he could have been sitting in a cabana sipping mai tais for all we know.

        When William discusses any of his own projects, or issues he is allegedly passionate about, you never have the sense that he knows anything about what he is talking about, cares or even why he is passionate about topic under discussion. Invoking his mother or the children simply derails the conversation away from what should be discussed. And that becomes the focus of the conversation. Ditto Kate.

        There is no follow up or information that could help the public learn more about the subject.

        It’s such amateur city with William and Kate that i’m often surprised that they have a professional PR person on staff.

  2. I know that there is always a press pack travelling with each royal tour or trip and in days passed we looked to them to see what that royal was doing. They need saleable photos to earn a living, I understand that. But at the same time I can understand the royal wanting to tell their story too. They need to find a happy medium , both sides need to give a little? William / Kate don’t really seem to understand they need to cooperate and the trip to Wales was an excellent example. It seems that when possible W/K would stand with their backs to the photographers, apart from the golden boy, Tashs boyfriend , it seems

    1. I think a happy medium would have been releasing these photos earlier, as I mentioned in the post. Because while I really liked seeing these photos and getting Harry’s commentary about them, I understand where Whatling was coming from. I still think Harry has a much better understanding and cooperation with the media than W&K do. The royal photographers continue to complain about Kate never giving any eye contact to the camera, but I’ve noticed that Harry has turned and waved to the cameras before. So I think Harry is a bit more open in that way.

        1. Can I give a nod to Arthur Edwards about being a good sport about the paint palm? It was done in good fun by Harry while in NZ and Arthur was a good sport. He’s a veteran royal photographer so Harry has probably had him (and his camera) around for a long time. Harry did say “You know what that’s for” after he did it, which intrigued me. If it was a photo that didn’t go down well then Harry got a wee bit of payback but it was done so nicely on both sides.
          Getting back to the whole press core thing, Charles and Diana (Diana especially) would travel with the press and I’ve seen photos of Diana on planes chatting with them. It could be she was a nice well mannered women but it did ensure we only got to see great photos of her!

          1. I hope Edwards didn’t do anything negative which made Harry make that comment. I thought it was more in jest when I saw the video, rather than as some for of payback (like for a bad photo or something). Like, maybe the two had been joking around behind the scenes or on the plane or something and the handprint was a carry over from that.

            Re Diana chatting to the photographers on the plane. That is a smart idea. Make nice with them so they are more willing to paint you in a positive light. Too bad W&K don’t realize that.

    2. Agree, Cathy. Harry’s photos, his captions, really made this issue come home to many. He really has strong feelings about this issue and more people can be reached by his words, than by the words, of others. Sad, but true. Besides, he really threw himself into this work. You can tell how much it meant to him. Why deny him a voice? I know he has to walk a fine line when dealing with the media, but I really think the message he penned and the photos will impact many people in a positive way. ,

  3. I don’t understand the complaint about these photos. I’ve always had the impression that Harry’s summer trip was private. Why would he bring royal photogs to that trip to take photos of him? Besides it’s not like he’s using personal photos of him for his current trip. Aren’t the ones we see taken by the photogs? The photos above was taken during an entirely different trip. He was sharing an experience, like how some people post photos on social media whenever they go on vacation and stuff.

    1. I agree, he seems to be giving them a lot of access on this tour so I don’t get why the release of photos from his private summer trip should cause a problem. If anything it shows how very real this situation is and can maybe make people think a bit more about it.

      if they want to whine about something they need to get on William and Kate.

      1. I just think it may have been better to space out the two sets of photos (Harry’s personal ones from the summer trip, and the photographer’s ones from the current trip). That’s all.

    2. I’m am not saying that Harry should have brought a photographer along on his summer trip. And I don’t think Whatling was saying that either.

      What Whatling was saying was that Harry’s personal photos of a different trop would be used by the papers/media during the current trip now that he released them and he released them at a time when the royal photographers were trying to sell their photos of the current trip. It think that’s what he was commenting on.

      For me, I was saying that it might have been better to release the photos from the previous trip closer to when he actually took that trip, and let the photos from his current trip promote the current trip. I was saying that it might have been better to space out the sets of photos. That’s all.

  4. Maybe he didn’t intend to release these but did it in retaliation of the Charlotte photos usurping him last weekend? Tit for tat. These show Harry in a very positive way – maybe, just maybe, he’s starting to fight back against W&K rather than be downtrodden all the time. Enough of playing 2nd fiddle? They couldn’t let him have his SA tour without snatching his attention away.

    Just a thought.

    1. That is an interesting point; I had not thought of it that way. That could totally be true.

  5. The pictures and commentary are powerful. I would have liked them closer to his initial trip. However it packs a punch. Harry is putting thoughts, action, and commitment to work.Harry is much more savvy. For me, thesee pictures convey a better message than a glitzy ball.

    Beautiful and poignant post, KMR. I’m ready to join Harry on these missions.

    1. I’m sure Harry would love to have you accompany him on his Africa trips. He clearly loves Africa and I think a trip to Lesotho will be near the top of the agenda once he marries.

      I, too, think it may have been better to have these photos released closer to the actual trip they come from, especially since he’s already there giving a speech about poaching during the current trip. It would have called attention to the issue twice instead of once.

      1. I studied in Ghana and can say that the land and the people impact you for life.

        On the other hand, it might be smart. He went, documented it, and now publishing pictures. It might help the long game.

        1. Wow! Your time in Ghana must have been really special!

          I was wondering if Harry had a bit of a fight about releasing the pictures and video of the rhinos which had been attacked by poachers?

          Did he have to go through quite a bit of protocol to get the green light to release them? If so then that would explain the delay in releasing them?

    2. rhiannon, I understand your love for Harry. He is 180 degrees from W&K. He gets better all the time. He walks the walk in everything he touches. He isn’t a statement commenting about the world he wishes to leave for his future children. Nothing he says and does sounds hollow.

  6. I agree with all of you that it would have been better had these pictures been released earlier, for a variety of reasons. First, they are overshadowing the tour he is currently on and the photos from that tour. Secondly, quite a few people thought his trip to Africa this past summer was really nothing more than a glorified vacation, if he had released these photos shortly after he returned it would have done a lot to quell that criticism.

    The other thought I had about these photos and the trip in general is it must have pissed William off to no end. As a husband, father, helicopter pilot and heir to the heir, he no longer has the freedom he once had to take these types of trips to Africa. I wonder if his envy of his brother’s freedom is behind some of the snarky and unkind remarks he makes about Harry? I wonder if there was a possibility of him accompanying Harry on this trip and Kate put her nude pump shod foot down and said “No way Mister”. I can only imagine that as the brothers get older and William’s royal responsibilities increase, we will probably see a lot more of the snarky comments from William about Harry but I believe that Harry will continue to do his best to support his brother and make sure he shines above all others, Harry seems to me to be that kind of guy.

    1. What you have to remember is that William has no-get-up-and-go unless Harry is enjoying himself. Then William wants what Harry has. When they were little, Diana often used the tactic of Harry enjoying the fruits of whatever pursuits in order to motivate William into doing anything.

      William has had 10yrs, and many gap years to do whatever he wanted. During that same time, Harry was in the military. Perhaps William didn’t see or realise that he had the freedom to pursue anything because Harry was locked into his military role and therefore William didn’t look critically at the possibilities of his position. Harry is now free to explore meanwhiletime ran out for William.

      However, even with time constraints, William still manages to do what HE wants to do whilst brazenly giving interviews where he says he doesn’t know what royal work is or can be. This is a man with no vision whatsoever, who simply waits to be handed a role with instructions how to proceed because he can’t and won’t think to do it himself. Unless his brother gets there first. It’s the younger showing the elder.

      William can only look on and sulk and possibly blame everybody and his status for his lack of get-up-and-go. As an example, when he left the RAF, he had a whole year to spend time in Africa like Harry. Instead he sat at home and attended one conference on the subject which turned into a PR nightmare since he was caught heading to a hunt in Spain on the eve of the conference. Even though he was a father already, Kate told the world that he was barely around for the first months of the baby’s life, so would have easily taken up a month or two in Africa.

      Or how about the Cambridge course that was supposed to teach him about how to manage the duchy? Estate management has elements of conservation. You’d think he would extrapolate that to his conservation passion.

      The urban legend that William is constrained by his position, status and family life has been shown not to be true time and time again when he suddenly desires something.

      He just has no application and can only look at Harry’s efforts and complain when he has shown no effort to help himself.

    1. Me too! His mother didn’t like blood sports. Since Harry seems so much like his mother, I wish this would be something he puts in his past and keeps it there.

  7. Everything Prince Harry does seem to impact others in a powerful and positive way.
    All I can say is, this man is tireless in pursuing causes he is interested in. He uses his voice to impact others in a positive way.

    He really rolled up his sleeves, didn’t he? I think the world is a better place because some people really do walk the walk and not just talk the talk. Every person who has a passionate cause like he does, can and will make a difference by throwing themselves into their efforts whole heartedly.

    BTW, Rhiannon, where and what did you study in Ghana? You have had a most interesting life!

  8. I think it is a deliberate ploy to control the narrative by KP – more folks are going to be interested in Harry’s personal album then the images of the royal press. It’s a calculated move to get the public used to being fed information straight from the source. Just like Kate taking her own pictures and releasing on twitter. They have complete control – What and When information is projected.

    1. “more folks are going to be interested in Harry’s personal album then the images of the royal press”

      Which is one of the reasons Whatling made that comment, I’m sure.

      The thing about the “calculated move to get the public used to being fed information straight from the source” is that if the source, KP, decides to ever stop releasing information, the public will be pissed even more because they got used to being giving information by KP. So if that is KP’s strategy, it could backfire on them in the long run.

      1. Controlling the narrative is always the goal of any corporation/business. They want you to see Harry hugging elephants in Africa – they don’t want you to see Harry shooting deer at Sandringham. It screws up their narrative. KP operates similar to the way that North Korea projects the images it wants the people to see. The family is rarely in public areas where it does not have control of the situation. It is interesting that we recently got an instagram shot of Kate out with her mother and sister for dinner – we haven’t seen a picture like that since Bucklebury where she and William were seen leaving the restaurant before she got sick and announced her pregnancy. I suspect Kate gets out more then we realize – someone was just interested enough and sly enough to take a photo without anyone noticing and posted it.

        1. Were people bringing up photos of Harry hunting? I didn’t see that being brought up during this tour. The tour, photos of him with kids and animals, and talking about his mother was the focus. KP didn’t need to shift focus since the focus was seemingly already where they wanted it.

          Oh for sure Kate and William go out far more than is photographed.

        2. I’m sure you’re right: Kate gets out when she wants to and on her terms. Actually, her ‘lucky’ life is all on her terms. Pity it doesn’t work for many others who foot the bill. The Instagram pic was just a coincidence of a woman taking a photo of her friend, and Kate and co just happened to be seated nearby.

          Harry’s photos and commentary are compelling, as Rhiannon observes. There is much more immediacy hearing a first-hand account. As for KP release dates, controlling how and what information gets out is a fool’s errand these days. People will see, photograph, write and post whatever they want and when on any number of platforms they desire. The sniveling British media might be whipped into submission but KP needs to understand that the Royal Family and its hangers-on exist due to the public’s grace and favor which can be withdrawn.

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