Prince follows mom’s example
Harry opens up his heart to orphans at new Lesotho HIV centre
few adults left in the kingdom to care for them.
In an emotional speech at the Mamohato Children’s Centre, Harry talked of how he fell in love with the children of Lesotho, known as the “kingdom in the sky”, when he visited during his gap year travels after leaving Eton.
He said: “Eleven years ago I made my first visit to Lesotho... As we travelled the country I was... struck by the many children I met whose lives had been shattered by the loss of a parent and in some cases both.
“I couldn’t believe that so many children had been robbed of their childhoods by extreme poverty and the ravages of HIV and AIDS. Behind those smiles it was clear they desperately needed care, attention and above all, love.”
He continued: “Although our situations couldn’t have been more different, I felt an overwhelming connection to many of the children I met.
“They were far younger than me, and of course, their situation was a great deal more challenging than my own.
“Nonetheless, we shared a similar feeling of loss, having a loved one, in my case a parent, snatched away so suddenly. I, like them, knew there would always be a gaping hole that could never be filled.
“For so many of the chil- dren in Lesotho, that situation was compounded by the harsh environment and extreme poverty they faced. At the age of just eight or nine taking on the responsibility of caring for brothers and sisters there was simply no time for being a child anymore.”
Those experiences inspired him to set up Setebale with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho. The charity’s name, in memory of his late mother, Princess Diana, means “forget me not”.
The Mamohato Children’s Centre, built by the charity at a cost of £2 million, will provide 1 500 vulnerable young children each year with residential camps where they can learn to manage their condition and go on to enjoy productive lives in a country where there is still a huge stigma around the disease.
Speaking after their meeting, Mutsu said: “I feel very happy, very excited. I’m very comfortable around Harry, he is very comfortable around me. We click. He said to me I’ve grown up.”
Mutsu said he had no idea of his family background – when or how he was orphaned – but described the orphanage as his “home”.
He said of the new centre: “This is a wonderful place for children living with HIV and disabilities. It’s meant to help all the children in need. We are very grateful and thankful for this.”
Harry, meanwhile, was clearly enjoying seeing the fruits of his labour in the flesh, dancing and chatting with many of the children the centre will help.
In a photography workshop, the royal joker couldn’t help but lark for the camera as the children took Polaroids of him, donning a pair of silly sunglasses.
Earlier in the day the prince, who has thinning hair, had mulled whether he should wear a hat, presumably to protect his head and pale skin.
And in a speech Lesotho’s monarch, King Letsie III, referred to Harry’s single status as he said he would love to introduce him one day as “Prince Harry and...”
“But we’ll have to wait a few years for that,” the King joked, prompting the royal bachelor to snort with laughter.
The prince has named parts of the new Mamohato Children’s Centre in memory of his late mother, and also his beloved childhood nanny Olga Powell.
Diana will live on in the dining hall, chosen because it is where the children being helped by the centre will come together three times a day.
In the room, one wall is painted with a tree, with leaves featuring the names of donors including Sir Elton John and husband David Furnish and their two young sons Elijah and Zachary. – Daily Mail
FORGET ME NOT: Britain’s Prince Harry and Lesotho’s Prince Seeiso during a visit to the Mamohato Children’s Centre in Thaba Bosiu, Lesotho, this week. Prince Harry is in the country on behalf of Sentebale, the charity he founded with Prince Seeiso, in memory of their mothers.