The Duke of Sussex is fifth in line to the throne and the younger son of The Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales. He spent ten years working in the Armed Forces, ending operational duties in 2015. During his service, he conducted two tours of duty to Afghanistan with the British Army.
As announced in January, The Duke and Duchess have stepped back as senior members of The Royal Family. They are balancing their time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour their duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and their patronages. Frogmore Cottage in the UK remains their family home.
Supporting the welfare of servicemen and women
Having served in the British Army for ten years, The Duke of Sussex is passionate about promoting the welfare of those who are serving or who have served their country in the Armed Forces.
He has campaigned to raise awareness of the ongoing challenges facing service personnel making the transition to civilian life. In particular, he has worked to bring wider public attention to the support that wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women need through their entire rehabilitation process. That includes long-term support for each person and their family for both physical and mental injuries.
His work in this area has seen The Duke take part in a number of projects and initiatives, including volunteering with the Army’s Personnel Recovery Unit in London, trekking with wounded servicemen and women to the South Pole and in the Arctic, supporting a number of adventure challenges through his Endeavour Fund, and organising the Invictus Games.
The Invictus Games
The Invictus Games is an international adaptive sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, both serving and veteran. The Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect of all those who serve their country. The first Invictus Games were held in London in 2014 followed by Orlando, Florida in May 2016, Toronto, Canada in September 2017 and Sydney Australia in October 2018. The next games are scheduled to be held in The Hague in 2021, followed by Dusseldorf, Germany in September 2023.
Sport for social development
The Duke believes that every child should be given the opportunity to fulfil their potential, regardless of their background or situation. Through a programme of public and private visits, he regularly supports projects that enable children from disadvantaged backgrounds to build their skills and confidence.
The Duke of Sussex is a keen sportsman and sees the potential to use sport in the engagement and education of children and young people. Alongside his brother, The Duke of Cambridge and sister-in-law, The Duchess of Cambridge, he has worked with The Royal Foundation to build a model that improves the availability and quality of sports coaching in schools and communities. The “Coach Core” programme helps train young people as professional sports coaches while they are still in education. It also aims to improve the quality and availability of sports coaching and mentoring in inner city schools whilst creating employment at a time when many young people are facing long term unemployment.
Through his work with younger people, many of whom fall out of mainstream education, The Duke believes in the importance of mentoring schemes. He has visited many projects around the world that highlight the positive impact of children’s mentoring opportunities. In the UK, he is closely involved with a programme based in Nottingham that works with young people to deter them from becoming involved in youth violence and gang-related activities. The programme trains a group of young people as youth leaders, providing them with formal qualifications and apprenticeships in mentoring and leadership, while at the same time supporting primary school children, who are at most risk of becoming involved in youth violence, by working with their schools and families.
Supporting children living with HIV /AIDS
In 2006, The Duke of Sussex jointly founded Sentebale, a charity to help orphans in Lesotho, southern Africa. Having visited the small African nation after completing his school education, he was moved by the plight of children orphaned by the AIDS pandemic which has devastated the country. Together with his great friend Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, he set up Sentebale to offer long-term support to community organisations working with children and young people, and in particular to those working with orphans.
Sentebale is a word that people in Lesotho use when they say goodbye to each other: it means ‘forget me not’. It was chosen as the name of the new charity because the two Princes see its work as a memorial to the charity work of their own mothers, and because its aim as an organisation is to ensure that Lesotho, and the current plight of its children, is not forgotten.
In 2016, His Royal Highness underwent a public HIV test at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital to raise awareness and promote how easy it is to get tested, as part of his on-going efforts to eradicate stigmas associated with HIV/AIDS.
His Royal Highness attended the 2016 International AIDS Conference in Durban, where he spoke of how “HIV remains among the most pressing and urgent of global challenges” and the importance of educating and empowering young people in the fight against the virus.
Having visited southern Africa a number of times, The Duke has taken a deep personal interest in frontline conservation projects that work to protect Africa’s natural heritage and support both wildlife and local communities. On leaving the Army in 2015, he spent three months working on number of such projects in Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa and Botswana.
During that time he worked closely with conservation experts to learn about environmental education programmes and also spent time with a team of rangers in Kruger National Park, South
Africa, who are the first to respond to reports of poaching attacks on Elephant and Rhino. The Duke is President of African Parks and Patron of Rhino Conservation Botswana.
In 2017 The Duke of Sussex spearheaded the Heads Together mental health campaign with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, leading a coalition of eight mental health charity partners to change the national conversation on mental health. The campaign aimed to build on existing progress nationwide in tackling stigma, raising awareness, and providing vital help for people with mental health problems.The team of charities covered a wide range of mental health issues that are close to their passions. They were: Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families; Best Beginnings; CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably; Contact (a military mental health coalition); Mind; Place2Be; The Mix; YoungMinds. Heads Together was privileged to be the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year giving the campaign a positive platform to raise funds for the charity partners and to start millions of conversations about mental wellbeing.