Prince Harry and Coldplay Rock out at Kensington Palace Charity Concert to Fight HIV: 'We Can Achieve Extraordinary Things'

"Every single one of us has a responsibility to educate ourselves," Prince Harry told the crowd

Photo: Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock

Prince Harry was ready to rock for a good cause on Tuesday night when Coldplay headlined a gig in the prince’s backyard!

The first-ever concert on the East Lawn of Kensington Palace was organized to help raise funds for Harry’s charity, Sentebale, and to bring awareness to the challenges faced by young people affected by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.

Before Coldplay took the stage, Prince Harry gave a heartfelt speech to the crowd of 3,000 people.

“What we know is that HIV is a virus that thrives off silence and feeds on stigma,” he told the crowd. “Every single one of us has a responsibility to educate ourselves. To do what we can to speak out and stamp out the silence..and fear. “We must follow the example of Lesotho and meet one of the great challenges of our generation with optimism, energy and openness.”

“That’s what tonight is about. When people come together for a purpose we can achieve extraordinary things,” he continued.

The prince founded Sentebale – which means “forget me not” in Sesotho – in 2006 with Prince Seeiso after his 2004 gap year visit to Lesotho, where one in three children have lost a parent to AIDS-related illness.

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Earlier in the day, Kensington Palace announced that Prince Harry will begin a new series of engagements and meetings designed to shine a spotlight on the ongoing need for action in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

In addition to Coldplay, the event also featured Grammy winner Joss Stone, the Basotho Youth Choir, George Mpanga (a newly-named ambassador for the charity who goes by the name of George the Poet) and African-Norwegian singing and songwriting duo Nico and Vinz. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie were also in attendance, as were Peter and Autumn Phillips.

Chris Martin joked that they band had rehearsed for the gig at a secluded farm – referencing last weekend s iconic Glastonbury Festival.

He also quipped that Queen Victoria (whose statue sits at the end of the palace gardens) actually preferred younger men and was a Belieber!

“This evening will make such a difference to the children of Lesotho,” Prince Seeiso said when he took the stage on the rainy evening. “May I pay tribute to my co-conspirator Prince Harry. He has become a brother and a friend and in the true African tradition has been given a Basotho name of Mohale – it means a warrior.

“To you, my dear friend and brother Harry, I wish to pay a very special tribute. You came to Lesotho as a young man and today you stand tall and proud and are walking among the giants. You are making a difference. That is a testimony to the mother that we so love, that is Princess Diana. You in her footsteps have gone beyond the call of duty and gone to those dark corners and reached out your hand to the most vulnerable children of Aftica and in particular, Lesotho. Harry got up and went to Lesotho and said to the children of Lesotho, ‘I am part of you.’ ”

Tickets for the royal’s charity concert sold out in an hour last month. The money raised from the event will go towards running monthly clubs, caregiver days and residential weeklong camps at the new Mamohato Children’s Centre, which Harry opened in November.

“HIV is a big problem there and it has always been a feature of Uganda social life and for a lot of people in our community, even over here in the U.K. I thought it was a shame that there was still such a stigma attached to it,” George the Poet told PEOPLE in May.

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“For Prince Harry to be championing it through Sentebale, carrying the torch that his mum lit, is inspirational to me, it’s beautiful. It was a no brainer when they got in touch,” he added.

Stone also praised Harry and brother Prince William’s humanitarian efforts, telling reporters ahead of the concert, “I’ve come into contact with Harry and William for years now. And we as a country have watched them grow and do lovely things. All of us should be proud of them and they represent who we are. Thank God they are the way they are.”

Stone, who had a playful moment with Harry during rehearsals on Monday, added, “He’s a fun human being. He’s quite sweet and soft too. I’m very proud of him – he’s just a lovely guy.”

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