Prince Harry reaffirmed his life’s commitment to charity work on Wednesday, during a sports summit appearance in Tokyo, Japan.
Harry told attendees of the ISPS (International Sports Promotion Society) Sports Values Summit—Special Edition that he finds fulfilment in giving back to others. The prince added that his life would always be dedicated to charity.
“I’ve been involved in many charities for most of my life, and I get a huge amount of fulfilment giving back to as many people as possible,” Harry said, per U.K. newspaper The Daily Telegraph. “My life is charity—always has been, always will be.”
The highlighting of his lifelong dedication to charity work comes as the prince has faced a number of setbacks in another aspect of his post-working royal life—his career in the entertainment industry.
Over the past year, the prince’s popularity has taken a dramatic hit on either side of the Atlantic, following critical reactions to his Netflix docuseries and memoir releases. The royal has also faced a number of industry knocks, including a split with podcast partner Spotify. This led to Harry and wife, Meghan Markle, being labeled “f****** grifters” by a Netflix executive, and a failure to secure a Primetime Emmy nomination for the Harry & Meghan docuseries.
In the wake of the Emmy setback, an entertainment expert told Newsweek that Harry “must become a royal again” to rehabilitate his image and reengage his fanbase, helping to generate positive media attention.
Harry’s notable rededication to his charity work during the Tokyo summit could be seen as a way of reminding the public that he has not ceased to work for the public good since leaving the monarchy in 2020.
After leaving Britain, citing issues with the British media and deteriorating relationships with the royal family, Harry and Meghan created their Archewell Foundation, which acts as the hub for their private philanthropic work.
Since its inception in October 2020, the foundation has been a conduit for Harry’s work with mental health, conservation, climate change and social causes, as well as Meghan’s with the empowerment of young women and marginalized voices.
The couple made clear that, though they had left the monarchy, which sees members of the working royal family take up charity and social work full time, they were not turning their backs on a life of service.
In 2021, Buckingham Palace announced that, after a year’s grace period, Harry and Meghan would not return to their roles within the monarchy. A statement read: “The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of the Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service.
“While all are saddened by their decision, the Duke and Duchess remain much-loved members of the family,” the statement added.
To this, the couple’s spokesperson highlighted their dedication to their chosen causes, hitting back at the “life of public service” comment from the palace.
“As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the U.K. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organisations they have represented regardless of official role,” the spokesperson said, adding: “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.”
Harry’s visit to Japan was made in his capacity as a co-founder of the African-focused youth HIV and AIDS charity, Sentebale. The organization was founded in 2006 with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, the South African country. The name “sentebale” means “forget-me-not” in the Sesotho language spoken in Lesotho.
The name is a tribute to the princes’ late mothers, Princess Diana and Queen ‘Mamohato, who both worked for HIV and AIDS causes during their lifetimes.
Harry’s attendance at the ISPS Sports Values Summit—Special Edition at Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center in Japan saw him take part in discussions around how sport can be used as a tool to encourage and impact global change.
ISPS (International Sports Promotion Society) is a core sponsor of the Sentebale Polo Cup, which takes place in a different city around the world each year to raise money for the charity.
After leaving Japan, Harry will arrive in Singapore to play in the 2023 match at the Singapore Polo Club. Since 2010, the event has raised over $14 million to support Sentebale’s work with children and young people affected by poverty, inequality and HIV/AIDS in southern Africa.
James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek’s royal reporter, based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek‘s .
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