Prince Harry pays emotional speech in memory of his mother Princess Diana’s work on HIV AIDS
Prince Harry has paid an emotional tribute to his mother’s legacy.
Speaking at the Attitude Awards, he collected a posthumous award on behalf of his late mother, Princess Diana.
The Prince has followed in his mother’s footsteps by campaigning on HIV/AIDS issues, while he has also praised the “amazing” work of a transgender children’s charity.
Buckingham Palace confirmed that the Prince collected “a posthumous Attitude Legacy Award on behalf of Diana, Princess of Wales, at the Attitude Awards at the Roundhouse” last night.
In a moving speech about his mother’s legacy, Prince Harry said: “In April 1987, my mother was only 25 years old.
“She was still finding her way in public life, but she already felt a responsibility to shine her spotlight on the people and issues that were often ignored.
“She knew that AIDS was one of the things that many wanted to ignore and seemed like a hopeless challenge.
“She knew that the misunderstanding of this relatively new disease was creating a dangerous situation when mixed with homophobia,” he said.
— Attitude (@AttitudeMag) October 12, 2017
“She knew exactly what she was doing…” he opened up.
“She was using her position of princess of Wales – the most famous woman in the world – to challenge everyone to educate themselves; to find their compassion; and to reach out to those who need help instead of pushing them away.”
His mother was named the recipient of the Attitude Legacy Award at the ceremony, 20 years on from her tragic death in 1997.
Many in the gay community held a special affinity with the Princess, in part due to her work during the AIDS crisis.
During the AIDS crisis Princess Diana made many visits both officially and unofficially – and famously shook hands with a patient at the height of HIV stigma.
The charity named in her honour, The Diana Award, also works to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
The Prince has adopted HIV as one of his key campaigning issues, visiting a number of HIV clinics, attending the International AIDS Conference in South Africa, and speaking about his late mother’s work on the issue.
Last year the Prince made headlines by taking a HIV test himself in a Facebook Live video earlier this month, in an appeal for more people to get tested.
The Prince said of his mother: “She started very punchy [on AIDS].
“She smashed the stigma around HIV on more than one occasion. It had a huge impact, and a huge impact on my life as well.”
Prince Harry added: “I don’t consciously channel myself down certain avenues specifically because I think my mum would be proud. But she sure as hell would be proud of me, hopefully, that I’m doing it.”
He explained: “If you’re not going to get tested for yourself and you’re not going to go and get tested for your loved ones that you could possibly infect, then… I don’t know if it’s a selfish thing to say or not, but if you respect what my mother stood for, go and get tested for her.
“It’s 20 years next year since she died, and 30 years ago she was in this hospital [HIV clinic Mildmay] and she did something that no-one else had ever done before.
“If she were still here today, she would probably get tested every month, just to prove a point.”
The Prince added that it was important for him as a straight man to take on the issue, to bust early misconceptions about HIV/AIDS being an exclusively ‘gay’ disease.
He said: “The issue itself needs a straight guy, mid-30s, to come in and try and normalise it. Once again, I’m fortunate enough to be in this position in order to make a difference.
The royal continued: “There’s so much stigma simply around a name or an acronym. It’s 2016 for god’s sake, we need to start rethinking this.
“Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. When you spell it out, you suddenly go, ‘it’s not actually that terrifying at all’.
“If you speak to someone who’s suffering from [AIDS], of course it’s terrifying because it can kill you, but the point I’m trying to make is, if you can’t even say the word without cringing or worrying or freaking out about it, how the hell are we going to help everybody and solve this problem before it gets too big?
“I think most people would admit that they’ve had sex without a condom, and there is always a moment, the next day probably, when you think to yourself, ‘I need to go and get a checkup’.”
“Let’s start in the UK, lead by example, and then help everybody else.”
Earlier this week he Prince praised the work of Mermaids, a charity which works to support transgender children.
The Royal Family maintained a historic silence on LGBT rights, but Prince Harry and his brother Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, have busted the stigma over the past few years.