Prince Harry in Lesotho

July 23, 2008 | By Chris Jackson | News

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Chris Jackson/Getty Images 

Prince Harry is rapidly becoming my favourite member of the Royal Family to photograph.  It all started a few weeks ago during a trip the young Royal made to Cardiff – the first full day of official engagements he has made.  His natural manner and ‘court jester’ approach certainly wooed the Welsh crowd and made for a great set of pictures.

So, it was with a sense of excitement I set off on my first trip to Lesotho to photograph two days of the Prince working with his charity Sentebale (meaning ‘Forget-me-not’) in some of the more deprived areas of the mountainous African principality.  Sentebale was founded by Prince Seeiso from the Lesotho Royal family and Harry in response to the plight of the neediest of Lesotho’s people – its orphans and vulnerable children.  

Lesotho is a country in desperate need of help, many of the adults have been wiped out by HIV/AIDS leaving a generation of over 380,000 orphans struggling to fend for themselves. With only a couple of days work and no pools there was a fairly relaxed approach to this trip. However this didn’t last very long as many of the press realised that there was no wireless in the hotel and none in the nearby town.  With no way to send pictures, a trip across the border to

South Africa would be the only was of getting their images out (a good hour away after taking into account the busy border crossing).  Luckily this would be one of the first occasions my satellite phone would actually not just be a dead weight in my bag and I could file from location giving me a head start on some of the other photographers!

During the first night’s briefing, Harry sat at the back listening intently to the head of Sentebale, Harper Brown, explain the ethos behind the charity to a group of jetlagged journalists and photographers.  Afterwards, in the hotel bar, it was a relaxed evening with a beer, talking about the up-coming couple of days. 

The next couple of days were fairly chaotic – we photographed Harry helping build a school for physically and mentally disabled children as well as taking part in a football match with the charity ‘Kick for Life’ run by an inspirational character called Pete Fleming. The charity runs HIV testing days using football as a means to communicate and bring children to the testing centres.  The story of Kick for Life and the history behind the charity was fascinating and it amazed me that someone with such obvious entrepreneurial skills would dedicate himself solely to such selfless work.  

A few weeks before I was due to leave for Lesotho I got in contact with Sentebale and arranged for them to take me around a few of the projects the charity was working on – I figured it would be a good opportunity to go into a bit more depth on the story with some images that would compliment the set I would take of Harry.

Harper Brown was kind enough to try and organise a trip for me up into the mountains to see some of the more affected children (unfortunately the helicopter had to turn around due to bad weather) as well as a trip to visit an orphanage of 124 children run by an awe inspiring woman, Sister Giselle.  Sister Giselle gave me a tour of the orphanage which Sentebale helps support.  A bakery and chicken coop help make it a project that works towards sustaining itself and the classrooms ensure the children receive the best possible education, it was a great example of the work the charity is doing. I also visited street children who rely on the help of projects Sentebale supports, the sub zero temperatures at night make Lesotho an inhospitable place for the homeless.  Using the images I photographed and audio of some of the orphans singing I was able to record material for a multimedia piece which the Getty Images Multimedia team have subsequently put together.

Despite a 24-hour delay getting home and the inevitable African bug, the trip produced some memorable images and certainly showed the passion Prince Harry feels for his work in this tiny African country.  With his recent tour of duty in Afghanistan and the professionalism and flair he has adopted towards his royal duties he certainly seems to be shaking off the image of the ‘Playboy Prince’.

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  • Bedd Gelert

    Never mind Prince Harry, I want the FULL LOWDOWN on the Vintage festival !

    It looks a blast and the pictures are amazing !

    When is the calendar coming out ?