Prince Harry Honors Princess Diana on World AIDS Day as He Follows Her Footsteps in Charity

Gracious Egedegbe
Dec 02, 2021
05:30 P.M.
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Prince Harry paid tribute to his late mom Princess Diana on World AIDS Day with an urgent letter he wrote on her behalf to mark the occasion. 

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Prince Harry shared a close bond with his late mom Princess Diana, even after her death. Hence, he is greatly influenced by her to this day. 

Princess Diana was known for her charitable works, and Harry has followed in her footsteps. On World AIDS Day, the Duke of Sussex wrote an urgent letter on his mom's behalf. 

| Photo: Getty Images

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DIANA WOULD BE GRATEFUL

In Prince Harry's letter to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Ms. Winnie Byanyima on World AIDS Day, he thanked them on behalf of his mother. 

Harry was grateful to the scientific and medical community for fighting against AIDS, which was very close to his late mom's heart. 

Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a red jacket, visits Atlantic College, 1985, Llantwit Major, United Kingdom. | Photo: Getty Images

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He used the opportunity of the celebration to recognize the 40 years that have shaped many people's lives, honor those who have died, and reaffirm a commitment to a scientific community that has worked tirelessly against AIDS. He also said

"My mother would be deeply grateful for everything you stand for and have accomplished. We all share that gratitude, so thank you."

Harry also drew a parallel between the leading AIDS activists worldwide and the continued call for equity in distributing COVID-19 vaccines globally. 

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Harry said vaccinating tests people's moral character and added that the world was experiencing a spectacular failure in terms of global vaccine equity. He also said

"Similar to the AIDS crisis, we've yet again revealed over the past year, that the value of life depends on whether you were born and/or live in a rich nation, or a developing country."

Harry said the world's voiceless majority needs to be heard now more than ever, and the onus was on the world's leaders to end the pandemic. The Duke of Sussex also beckoned medical experts and leaders to fight for vaccine equity.

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PRINCESS DIANA'S CHARITABLE WORKS

In Princess Diana's lifetime, she changed people's attitudes to AIDS. In the mid-1980s, the world was terrified of HIV/AIDS because of a lack of understanding and information about the disease.

However, Princess Diana changed people's attitudes toward the disease with charity and incredible humanity. 

Harry disclosed that he drank heavily then, not because he enjoyed doing it but because he was trying to mask the pain of his mom's death.

Diana Princess of Wales at a dinner given by President Mitterand in November, 1988 at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France during the Royal Tour of France.Diana wore a dress designed by Victor Edelstein. | Photo: Getty Images

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In April 1987, Diana opened the United Kingdom's first purpose-built HIV/AIDS unit that exclusively cared for people infected with the disease. The facility was built at London Middlesex Hospital. 

Diana did not stop at that. She also shook the hands of a man infected with the virus in front of the world's media, wearing no gloves. It was a photo that showed what made her a royal icon.

Princess Diana at the Footscray Park in Melbourne, Australia on January 27, 1988. | Photo: Getty Images

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Diana's singular gesture showed that HIV/AIDS needed compassion and understanding and not fear and ignorance. 

Besides her fight against HIV/AIDS, Diana was also known for numerous other charitable works. For example, she was known for being a prodigious fundraiser and was linked to over 100 charities at a particular time. 

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Diana cut ties with most of these charities after divorcing Prince Charles in 1996, but she remained the patron of six until she died in August 1997. 

After her death, there was an initial funding shortfall for her charities, but they eventually received grants from the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. 

Besides HIV/AIDS, some of Diana's biggest humanitarian causes included her advocacy against landmines, Leprosy Mission England, and advocacy for Centrepoint, a charity that helped get young and homeless people off the street, and many more. 

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HARRY FOLLOWING MOM'S FOOTSTEPS

Prince Harry has followed in his mom's exemplary footsteps by carrying out multiple charitable works alongside his wife, Meghan Markle. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have engaged in several charities. Through their Archewell Foundation, the royal couple works with World Central Kitchen to build Community Relief Centers in the Caribbean. 

During their son Archie's second birthday in May 2021, Harry and Meghan celebrated by requesting anyone willing to make donations in Archie's honor toward healthcare in underserved communities. 

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The couple's Archewell Foundation is also in a multi-year partnership with Procter & Gamble that focuses on gender equality, more inclusive online spaces, and resilience and impact through sport. 

Some of the couple's other charitable endeavors, donations, and partnerships include Books for All, The Loveland Foundation, Center for Humane Technology, UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, Women for Afghan Women, and Center for Compassion Altruism Research And Education, Stanford Medicine.

Diana, Princess Of Wales, Sitting On The Steps Outside Her Country Home, Highgrove. | Photos: Getty Images

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HOW HARRY COPED WITH MOM'S DEATH

During AppleTV+ docuseries "The Me You Can't See, which Harry co-created with Oprah Winfrey, he opened up about his mom's death in 1997 and how he struggled to share his grief with the world. 

Harry shared the trauma he experienced during Diana's funeral. He revealed that what he remembered the most from that day was the sound of the horse's hooves going along the mall, the red brick road. 

Harry disclosed that he and his older brother Prince William were in shock at that point. The Duke said it felt like he was outside his body as he was walking and doing what he was expected to do. 

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Diana, Princess of Wales with her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, at the piano in Kensington Palace. | Photo: Getty Images

Diana died in a car crash in Paris. Harry was 12 at the time, while William was 15. The royal siblings joined their dad, Prince Charles, and Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, walking solemnly behind her casket. 

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Harry said he was very angry with what happened to his mom and the fact that there was no justice at all. 

During the docuseries, Harry also told Winfrey that being aged 28 to 32 was a nightmare in his life because he suffered panic attacks and severe anxiety. Also, he was over the place mentally. 

Prince Charles and Princess Diana, of Wales, Princes William and Prince Harry at The VJ Day 50Th Anniversary Celebrations, London. | Photo: Getty Images

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He revealed he was willing to drink, take drugs, or try things that made him feel less like he was feeling then. Harry disclosed that he drank heavily then, not because he enjoyed doing it but because he was trying to mask the pain of his mom's death. 

During the interview, Harry admitted that he had much of his mom in him, which one cannot argue with given how he has taken to charity and continues to chart his life course. 

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