It didn’t involve leaked photos or a tabloid’s scoop, but the world still learned something intimately private about Prince Harry on Monday.
To celebrate World AIDS Day, and help put an end to the stigma surrounding the disease, Harry agreed to unveil a secret as part of his “Feel No Shame” campaign. Backed by Sentebale, which was co-founded by the prince, the initiative hopes that by getting celebrities and advocates alike to open up, more people will come forward about their HIV status.
The jocular royal’s reveal showed a subdued side the public rarely sees.
“I get incredibly nervous before public speaking no matter how big the crowd or the audience,” Harry said in a video posted to YouTube, “and despite the fact that I laugh and joke all the time I get incredibly nervous, if not anxious actually, before going into rooms full of people when I’m wearing a suit.”
For Harry, who typically works to keep his private life under wraps, sharing his own vulnerabilities was worthwhile if it meant getting people to pay attention to the AIDS crisis where he focuses his efforts.
Sentebale works with underserved children in Lesotho where more than 37,000 children under 14 live with HIV, according to the organization. Yet, despite the prevalence of the issue, many kids are reluctant to come forward about their status because of the heavy stigma they face.
To protect these children and to encourage them to get the help they need, Sentebale’s Mamohato Network and Camps educates kids about HIV, encourages them to inform their peers and connects them with lifesaving treatments.
Throughout the day, Harry will be joined by a number of celebrities, including actress Gemma Arterton, singer Nicole Scherzinger, in sharing their secrets to help break the stigma.
“We are turning this World Aids Day into a day in which no-one should feel any shame about their secrets,” he said in a statement. "Together, we can tackle the stigma surrounding HIV and give the young people carrying it the childhood they deserve. The childhood so many of us take for granted."
Find out more about how you can support the campaign here and tweet your secret with the hashtag #FeelNoShame to get involved.