Prince Harry is speaking out about grief and carrying on Princess Diana’s legacy by fighting AIDS, saying he regrets “not ever talking about” his mother’s death, reported BBC News. The Princess of Wales died tragically in a Paris car crash in 1997 when Prince Harry was only 12-years-old.
Now 31, the British Royal spoke out about the topic while hosting an event for the mental health charity Heads Together, where he opened up to former Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand and also spoke to BBC Breakfast about losing his mother at such a young age.
“It is OK to suffer, but as long as you talk about it. It is not a weakness. Weakness is having a problem and not recognizing it and not solving that problem.”
Prince Harry reportedly formed Heads Together along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as part of an effort to bring leading mental health charities together and shed light on the fact that anyone can suffer from mental health issues.
“Whether you’re a member of the royal family, whether you’re a soldier, whether you’re a sport star. It doesn’t really matter. Everyone can suffer.”
According to CNN, the recent Heads Together event with Prince Harry was held at Kensington Palace and was also attended by a number of sports stars, including Ferdinand, Dame Kelly Holmes, and Iwan Thomas. The gathering centered around discovering new ways to encourage those who might be suffering with grief or depression to come forward and seek help for their mental health issues.
Ferdinand, who lost his wife suddenly in 2015, said he valued the candidness Prince Harry demonstrated in talking about his regrets, saying that it gave him strength and insight into learning how to help his three children cope with the loss of their mother, Vogue reported.
“He’s gone through different stages in his life that my kids are going to be going towards,” Ferdinand said. “So to get some of his experiences is very rewarding for me and very educational in many ways.”
Prince Harry has also gained attention recently for his work to end the AIDS epidemic, a move many see as one that closely follows in Diana’s footsteps, reported CNN.
“When my mother held the hand of a man dying of AIDS in an East London Hospital, no one would have imagined that just over a quarter of a century later, treatment would exist that could see HIV-positive people live full, healthy loving lives,” Prince Harry stated last Thursday at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa.
Prince Harry also continues to fight the stigma surrounding today’s ongoing AIDS epidemic, which is particularly alarming among teenagers. He joined Sir Elton John on stage last week in Durban to praise the work of leaders like Nelson Mandela and his own mother for their work to fight the disease.
“We now face a new risk, a risk of complacency.”
Prince Harry’s words echoed the sentiments of activists, other world leaders, and scientists who spoke at the conference, even as the level of international funding for ongoing AIDS research and development has declined rapidly in recent years, along with money for treatment and prevention programs. The prince reportedly is most concerned about the plight of adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 in sub-Saharan Africa, who currently face AIDS as a leading cause of death. According to CNN, the disease is also the second-leading cause of death globally for children in this age group.
“Children living with HIV grapple with severe medical, emotional and social challenges all at once,” Prince Harry said. “It is all too common for a 12-year-old boy or girl to be forced out to work so they can provide for their brothers and sisters having lost one or two parents.”
Sir Elton John praised Harry for his ability to relate to young people at the conference in Durban, thereby carrying on Princess Diana’s determination to “make the world a better place.”
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