Campaigner: Princess Diana speaks at an Aids event in 1991
Princes William and Harry have followed in their late mother’s footsteps by pledging their support for one of the country’s leading HIV charities. In a letter congratulating the Terrence Higgins Trust on its 30th anniversary, they called on a generation to ‘pick up the sword and continue the fight’ against HIV. Their mother Diana, Princess of Wales, fostered close ties with HIV charities, and opened the first specialist Aids hospital ward in England at Middlesex Hospital. ‘Our generation has never known a world without HIV,’ William and Harry wrote. ‘We have grown up knowing of the devastating impact this virus has on lives, on families, on communities. We know, too, that HIV can be treated and the lives of sufferers extended by many years. However, there is still a stigma, which blights sufferers of the disease, even today. ‘Our generation must pick up the sword and continue the fight. There is still no cure or vaccine.’
‘However, we know it is possible to prevent HIV from spreading further in the future. ‘Terrence Higgins Trust will be to the fore in this, and for that reason, and because our mother believed so passionately in the work of the trust, we wholeheartedly congratulate you on 30 years of selfless service to others.’ A photograph of William and Harry with Diana, by John Swannell, will go under the hammer at the charity’s 30th anniversary auction at Christie’s on March 21.
Princes William and Harry pictured raising money for Sentebale - a charity set up by Prince Harry partly to help HIV victims in Botswana
Terry Higgins died of an Aids-related illness in London in 1982, aged 37. That year, three of his friends founded the charity in his name. It is now the UK’s largest HIV and sexual health charity. Its chief executive, Sir Nick Partridge, said: ‘We are incredibly honoured to have this message of support from their Royal Highnesses. ‘It’s wonderful to see the princes inspiring their generation... the way their mother inspired mine.’