Prince Harry held a concert at Kensington Palace yesterday, June 28, in aid of Sentebale to help raise funds and awareness of the challenges faced by young people affected by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Harry even flew in The Basotho Youth Choir – a choir of young children from Lesotho – to sing in front of the 3,000-strong crowd. Coldplay and Joss Stone, among others, performed.
Harry gave a speech talking about his first visit to Lesotho when he was 19, and the fight against HIV/AIDS. I’m only quoting part of his speech, you can read the full transcript here.
“My friend Prince Seeiso and I founded Sentebale to do what we could to support the young people of Lesotho – to empower a generation with knowledge and understanding so they can give their country an alternative, brighter future.
“Sentebale, meaning forget me not in Sesotho, has helped tens of thousands of children in just over a decade. We focus on, not just making sure children with HIV, get the medical treatment they need, but the emotional support and empowering knowledge that is so vital for their long-term health and prosperity. And we put that warmth, optimism, and courage that I first saw in Lesotho as a teenager, into everything we do.
“Now, I know you’ve come here tonight to see some of the best entertainers on the planet. But I want to take this moment to give you something to think about… If you have been moved by the stories that you’ve heard, please commit to taking a little bit of time to learn about the fight against HIV in places like Lesotho, throughout Africa, and here in the UK as well.
“This is a topic that has drifted from the headlines, but remains an urgent challenge. In southern Africa, the epidemic remains the biggest killer of adolescents. Here in the UK, more people have the virus than ever before.
“What we know is that HIV is a virus that thrives off silence and feeds on stigma. Every single one of us has a responsibility to educate ourselves. To do what we can to speak out and stamp out the silence, ignorance, and fear that the virus needs to win.
“We must follow the example of the young people of Lesotho, and meet one of the great challenges of our generation with optimism, energy, and openness. That’s what tonight is all about. When people come together for a purpose we can achieve extraordinary things.”
Earlier in the day on June 28, KP issued a press release about Harry’s future plans to work in the fight against HIV/AIDS:
“Prince Harry will begin a new series of engagements and meetings designed to shine a spotlight on the ongoing need for action in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Building on his decade of experience in supporting young people with HIV in Lesotho through his charity Sentebale, The Prince is now determined to help his generation understand that the battle against the disease has not yet been won and still needs fighting. He hopes to convene leading figures in this sector and support their vital work in ensuring that everyone – and young people in particular – get the help they deserve to lead healthy and successful lives.
“In the UK more people are living with HIV than ever before with thousands of new people being diagnosed with the virus every year. In places like Southern Africa, HIV is the biggest killer of adolescents and represents a very real threat to the success of an entire generation. His Royal Highness wants to expand his own knowledge of the challenges and opportunities in the fight against the virus around the world. This will see him tackling topics including testing, treatment, and prevention as well as anti-stigma efforts that were famously championed by his mother Diana, Princess of Wales. Prince Harry believes that greater public awareness of the innovations in both testing and treatment for HIV can help save lives and he wants to do his part.”
In July, Harry will meet with doctors and nurses who are caring for patients in South London – which is home to one of the highest concentrations of HIV-positive people in Europe – and will visit an innovative sexual health service that encourages regular testing for HIV and outreach to the partners of newly diagnosed patients.
Also in July, Harry will travel to Durban, South Africa as Patron of Sentebale for the 2016 International AIDS Conference to meet leaders in the field and to speak to the assembled delegates.
This sounds great, and it’s good to see Harry actually scheduling visits rather than just talking about “ending the stigma”. I’m still waiting for something to come from that Heads Together thing William, Kate, and Harry launched earlier this year. I think Kate forgot that her Big Cause for this year is children’s mental health because she hasn’t done anything associated with children’s mental health since she launched Heads Together with William and Harry back on May 16.
Above: Joss Stone with The Basotho Youth Choir. Below: Chris Martin of Coldplay.
Prince Harry greets Chris Martin on stage.
Harry and Prince Seeiso.
Harry and another Ginger dude.
Several members of Prince Harry’s family also attended the concert and were spotted in the crowd.
Princess Beatrice in a red trench coat.
Peter Phillips, Princess Eugenie, and Mike Tindall. There was rain, hence the poncho on Eugenie.
Autumn Phillips and Peter.