Dinner speech by Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex Sentebale ISPS Handa Polo Cup 2022:
“Thank you, Dan, for the kind introduction.
Good evening everyone! We are delighted to be back in Aspen on behalf of Sentebale, supporting our vital work with children and young people across Southern Africa whose lives have been affected by extreme poverty, inequality, and HIV/AIDS.
I want to give a special thanks to our title sponsor and partner, ISPS Handa, whose commitment and support of our work started back in 2014. Midori is an avid supporter of our work and we are so grateful for Dr Handa’s belief in our mission.
Thank you also to Royal Salute for your continued support, you’ve been with us for many years and the Sentebale Polo Cup wouldn’t be the same without you. It really is amazing how far Malcolm and others will travel for your whiskey!
Thank you to The St. Regis, for your exceptional hospitality and enduring partnership; and to the U.S. Polo Assn. who truly embody what ‘polo for good’ is all about. Special thanks from Sentebale to Michael Prince for your support too.
Finally, I especially want to thank Melissa and Marc Ganzi for being the most incredible hosts – and friends – of Sentebale. Thank you to everyone who has played their part in making this year’s event possible – those of you who have given up your time to play, and those of you from our charity team who have come all this way to ensure a smooth and successful event.
Before I continue, I’d like to take a minute to acknowledge a great loss to our polo community. Many of you know by now that our friend Chevy died unexpectedly and tragically earlier this week. Many of you played with him, and I remember taking the field with him back in 2019 at the Royal Charity Polo Cup.
Chevy was taken far too young. He was accomplished both on and off the pitch as the former captain of the England Under-21 team, as a brilliant leader in the healthcare industry, and as a renowned philanthropist who played a vital role in getting Malaysians vaccinated during the pandemic. He and his wife are expecting a baby soon and were planning to take some time to celebrate their family’s joy after this week. Whatever support you can give Chevy’s wife I know will be so well received.
I found a quote that Chevy gave a number of years back that I wanted to share with you. He said, “Some people are simply just happy with what they’re doing. But personally, I believe I’m here in this world to do something that’s hopefully beneficial. I want to leave behind a legacy – a good and positive one.”
Let’s make sure his words stay with us and guide us, not just for this week, but every day as part of our busy lives
My dear friend Prince Seeiso and I founded Sentebale 16 years ago in honour of our mothers, with a mission to support many of the most vulnerable young people on the planet – and to give them care and help them thrive.
In Sesotho, the language of the Basotho – the word Sentebale means “forget-me-not”. Next week is the 25th anniversary of my mother’s death, and she most certainly will never be forgotten. I want it to be a day filled with memories of her incredible work and love for the way she did it. I want it to be a day to share the spirit of my mum with my family, with my children, who I wish could have met her.
Every day, I hope to do her proud. She was tireless in her work to support and destigmatise those experiencing HIV/AIDS. Fittingly, her favourite flowers were “forget-me-nots”.
I hope we can remember my mother’s legacy by recommitting to those we serve, whoever and wherever that may be. For Sentebale, our commitment is to ending HIV and providing meaningful care and support for the children and young people whose lives have been affected by this disease. Because they too will never be forgotten.
We do this holistically, by promoting social-emotional wellbeing, community health services, youth education, and skill-building. Every day, when we see the smiles of the children we serve, we know that the work can’t stop. This is the next generation.
Today, Sentebale operates in Lesotho and Botswana, which have the second and fourth highest HIV infection rates globally. But we’re making huge progress, largely because we listen to and partner with their youth. In Lesotho, we’re meeting UNAIDS targets, and now over 90 percent of people living with HIV know their status, 90 percent of those who know their status are enrolled in treatment, and 90 percent of those in treatment have a suppressed viral load.
In Botswana, rates of adult HIV prevalence have been halved in the last 20 years and, in what the World Health Organization has called a ‘remarkable achievement’, the country is on its way to becoming the first African country to eliminate mother-to-child transmissions of HIV. This is huge!
Botswana and Lesotho show that the virtual elimination of HIV is within sight, and is possible to eradicate.
These gains are remarkable, and are largely owed to the determination and resilience of the Basotho and Botswana people and their communities.
Yet, the fight is not over and we cannot falter now, especially after the past two-and-half years.
During the pandemic, children and their families have had to navigate the hardship of two global health crises – COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS – which have left the communities we serve with a number of complex social challenges to tackle. High levels of unemployment, children dropping out of school, a rise in teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence, and more.
The funds raised from this event will go a long way towards bringing care, hope, and opportunity to the children and families who need it most.
At Sentebale we strive to break generational cycles of trauma and stigma every day. By educating and empowering young people to know their status and to know they can live long, healthy lives while on medication, we aim to end HIV once and for all.
By being here today, you are a part of our journey. So, we thank you. I thank you. And if she were here, I know my mother would thank you too.
Before we eat, I would like to introduce “We Are The Future,” a song and music video created by three inspiring young Basotho artists. It is their story, and their message, that I leave you with tonight.”