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Prince Harry Inherits His Mother's Mantle as HIV Activist

HBO Premieres Revealing Film on Princess Diana

Prince Harry and Prince William share never-before-seen photos and memories on their mother, including tales of her HIV activism work. 

One of the most poignant looks inside the life of Princess Diana is premiering on HBO. Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy celebrates the late Princess’s activism, family, and memories on the 20th anniversary of her death. 

The 65-minute film includes never-before-seen photographs of Diana, taken from an album she had assembled, according to HBO. Prince William and Prince Harry open up like they never have before about life with mom, her activism — including early work towards de-stigmatizing HIV and educating the world on the importance of testing — as well as how they’re following in her footsteps in that regard.

“It’s one thing doing a documentary like this and it’s another thing standing front of all of you guys and explaining about something very personal to you,” William said. “Nevertheless, I think it’s very important that I’m here to do that. We feel hopefully this film will provide the other side from her close family friends that you might not have heard from before, from those who knew her best, and from those who want to protect her memory and want to remind people of the person that she was: The warmth, the humor, and what she was like as a mother, which probably hasn’t come across before in many other pieces from other people.”

At one moment, Harry discusses the last conversation he ever had with Diana was very short: “And if I’d known that that was the last time I was going to speak to my mother the things that I would – the things I would have said to her,” he said, adding: “There’s not a day that William and I don’t wish that she was still around, and we wonder what kind of a mother she would be now, and what kind of a public role she would have, and what a difference she would be making.”

In 2016, over two million people watched Prince Harry get tested for HIV on Facebook Live to both encourage people to get tested as well as support the Terrence Higgins Trust, the largest non-profit organization for supporting HIV-positive people in Europe. Since Harry got tested, orders of the rapid HIV test increased by 5,000 percent. 

During the earliest years of the HIV epidemic, Princes Diana publicly acknowledged people living with the virus despite the ongoing stigma and misinformation many had at that time.

On her historic visit to the Mildmay Hospital in East London, which has since become Europe’s leading specialist treating patients for HIV-related illnesses, Diana kissed a patient dying of AIDS complications. The act prompted a wider conversation on contraction, which led to a de-stigmatizing effect in many parts of the world. 

Diana’s brother Charles Spencer, Elton John, and Rihanna all make an appearance in the film. 

Our Mother Diana: Her Life and Legacy airs tonight, July 24, on HBO at 10pm PST. 

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David Artavia