Britain’s pin-up Princes, William and Harry, have been asked to be ambassadors for the country’s leading HIV charity, Terrence Higgins Trust (THT).
The organization was started when Terry Higgins became one of the first to die of AIDS in the UK three decades ago. It was founded by his partner Rupert Whitaker and their friends.
Now the gay-run charity is celebrating its 30th anniversary. And William, Duke of Cambridge and his playboy brother Prince Harry have sent a message of support.
In response, the charity has said it would love them to become ‘ambassadors’ for THT.
They are following in the footsteps of their mother, Princess Diana, who was one of the trust’s early celebrity supporters. Her willingness to meet and hold hands with those suffering from AIDS changed public attitudes to both the virus and the royal family.
In a letter from William and Harry, released today, they specifically talk about their mother: ‘The fight against HIV started 30 years ago. 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.
‘Terrence Higgins Trust will be 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.’
They praise THT for fighting the spread of the virus, helping people who are HIV-positive and offering advice.
The princes add: ‘Our generation has never known a world without HIV. 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.’
Sir Nick Partridge, chief executive of THT, said: ‘We are incredibly honored to have this message of support.
‘In the 30 years since Terry Higgins’ friends founded our charity we’ve achieved so much but the fight against HIV is far from over. It’s wonderful to see the princes inspiring their generation to take up the cause the way their mother inspired mine.’