Since graduating from Eton College last summer, Prince Harry has spent an eventful “gap year” club-hopping in London, ranching in Australia and, for two months last winter, working with AIDS orphans in Lesotho. While there, Harry gave a rare interview to Britain’s ITN for a documentary that will also air on ABC’s Primetime Live this fall. For the first time, Harry, 20, spoke at length about the legacy of his mother, Princess Diana, the bad rap he believes she has received from the media, and his desire to use his position to help others.
On continuing Diana’s AIDS work:
I have a lot of my mother in me. I just think she’d want us to do this, me and my brother. And obviously it is not as easy for William as it is for me. I have more time on my hands to be able to help.
On reminding the world what his mother achieved:
It has been a long time now—not for me, but for most people—since she died. But the stuff that’s come out [about her] has been bad. There [have] been all these tapes. Luckily I have been out here [in Africa] so I haven’t really heard about it. But I feel bad because my father and brother have been taking the stick instead. It is a shame that after all the good she’s done, even this far on people can’t bring out the good in her…. Bad news sells, simple as that.
Visiting a Lesotho shelter for abused children, Harry befriended Liketso, a 10-month-old girl who had been raped. When he returned later, he found her in much better spirits:
[When I first met Liketso] she was nothing, she was just lying there, just looking at the ceiling. She couldn’t even cry. She could barely be fed either. It was horrible, there was no laughing, no crying, just completely emotionless. It was almost as if she knew what had happened. You can see it in her face, she almost knows what has happened to her. Hopefully if I can I would like to try and support her in her growing up, with her education.
At an orphanage in Lesotho, Harry was filmed building a security fence and responded to critics who have said his work is a PR ploy to play down his party-boy image:
I’ve always been like this. This is my side that no one gets to see. I am not going to take a camera everywhere I go with me when I am trying to help out in different countries. I am who I am. Though I believe I am no one special, I can do things The fact that all the press came meant that we got [donations of] £2,000 ($3,600) which paid for the whole fence, which was perfect, [because] it means all the children were safe inside the orphanage.
On coping with media attention:
I’d love to let it wash over me. I can’t. I don’t think anyone can. It is hard. But I am not out here for a sympathy vote…. William and I try to be normal. It’s very difficult, but we are who we are. I feel that now I am getting to the age where I can make the most of that [celebrity]. I always wanted to go to an AIDS country to carry on my mother’s legacy as much as I can. I don’t want to take over from her, because I never will. I don’t think anyone can. But I want to try and carry it on to make her proud.