Prince Harry co-founded the Sentebale charity to help children affected by HIV in Africa

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Prince Harry is back in the saddle — and giving to a cause close to his heart!

During a surprise appearance at a polo match benefiting Sentebale on Thursday in Aspen, Colorado, the Duke of Sussex announced that he has committed $1.5 million of the proceeds from his forthcoming memoir to the charity.

"This is one of several donations I plan to make to charitable organizations and I'm grateful to be able to give back in this way for the children and communities who gravely need it," he said in a statement.

Harry co-founded Sentebale in 2006 with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho to help children affected by HIV in Africa. "Sentebale is grateful for his personal contribution, which will allow the organization to continue operating at full scale and continue providing critical services to at-risk youth in Southern Africa," the charity said in a statement.

Britain Royals, London, United Kingdom - 26 Jul 2018
Credit: Matt Dunham/AP/Shutterstock

Harry affirmed, "The Sentebale Polo Cup is critical to securing the funds needed to advance this important mission, and I'm thrilled to be able to support Sentebale, both in person and financially through a separate charitable donation to meet this immediate need."

He also noted, "Our refocussed mission at Sentebale is about addressing the most-immediate needs of vulnerable children in Southern Africa, helping them access vital health services, receive necessary care, and build skills to be more resilient and self-sufficient in the future."

Sentebale Ambassador Nacho Figueras joined the prince in Colorado, posting after the match on his Instagram: "How lucky I am to be able to ride along with you in your mission of making the world a better place for people not as fortunate as us. It is your commitment and passion to give back that is my inspiration. It was so great spending a couple of days with you my friend."

Meghan Markle did not attend Thursday's match (which featured extensive COVID safety protocols), instead staying home in Montecito, California, with their two young children: 2-year-old Archie Harrison and Lilibet Diana, born June 4.

Prince Harry, 36, has made a point to participate in the charity event in recent years. Just weeks after Archie was born in 2019, Queen Elizabeth's grandson traveled to Rome for his first night away from his son for the event.

In 2018, Meghan supported Prince Harry from the sidelines — and celebrated with a congratulatory smooch after handing over the trophy.

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Sentebale has widened its work from out of the mountain kingdom to Botswana and Malawi over the years. The charity has said that despite great progress made worldwide in combatting the AIDS epidemic, HIV remains one of the leading causes of death for adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa, where three out of four new HIV infections among 15–19-year-olds are among young women. Stigma is a major factor preventing youth from knowing their HIV status and accessing lifesaving treatment and care.