A big part of the royal job description is philanthropy, and Prince Harry is no stranger to excelling in that field. So his appearance at last night’s Sentebale fundraising concert was no surprise. What we didn’t know is that his charity work actually has a special connection to his mother.
You’ll recall that Sentebale is the Duke of Sussex’s organization, a joint effort with Lesotho’s Prince Seeiso that works to support the mental health and well-being of children and young people affected by HIV and AIDS in Lesotho, Botswana and Malawi. The nonprofit provides educational and social support, through activities like monthly clubs at local health-care facilities and weeklong residential camps.
The concert featured performances by singer-songwriter Rita Ora and spoken-word poet George the Poet (George Mpanga), among others. Proceeds from the event—which, according to People, drew 3,000 attendees—will go to Sentebale’s causes.
But in an Instagram post about the concert, the @sussexroyal account revealed that Sentebale is actually a way for Prince Harry to honor the legacy of Princess Diana. The caption explained, “The charity is one way in which both princes are able to keep their mothers’ legacy alive. Sentebale means ‘Forget me not’ in Sesotho.”
What’s more, the charity actually continues a philanthropic cause that was close to Diana’s heart. She was an instrumental force in changing the public perception of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s, when the disease was newly discovered and there was not much public awareness about it. Working to remove the stigma surround the disease, Diana opened Britain’s first AIDS ward at Middlesex hospital in 1987, and made frequent visits to patients across the globe in her lifetime. At the time of her death, she was called the “foremost ambassador for AIDS awareness on the planet” by the head of the U.K.’s National AIDS Trust.
Prince Harry’s work, which builds on her mission, is a touching way to remember his mom. We feel confident that Diana would be proud.