Prince Harry Says 'Africa's in My Soul' as He Discusses Desire to 'Give Back' During Surprise Panel Appearance in Miami

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Duke of Sussex recalled his first visit to Africa, where his Sentebale charity focuses on giving the younger generation a "better future"

<p>Jason Koerner/Getty</p> Alix Lebec, Prince Harry and Dr. Sophie Chandauka speak at Sentebale panel in Miami on April 11, 2024

Jason Koerner/Getty

Alix Lebec, Prince Harry and Dr. Sophie Chandauka speak at Sentebale panel in Miami on April 11, 2024

Prince Harry is sharing why Africa means so much to him.

On April 11, the Duke of Sussex, 39, participated in a panel discussion titled "Potential is Waiting" at the South Beach restaurant Zaytinya in the Ritz Carlton Hotel. The panel focused on strategies for distributing capital to support the next generation in southern Africa. Prince Harry co-founded the charity Sentebale with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho in 2006 to help children and young people affected by poverty, inequality and HIV/AIDS in Lesotho and Botswana.

"Africa's in my heart, and Africa's in my soul," Prince Harry said at the event. "I first went there when I was 12, 13 years old, and after so many years, I wanted to give back to it because it had given me so much. The vast open space, the cultures, the community, the people, the wildlife, just the freedom was a huge piece of why I loved Africa so much."

<p>Jason Koerner/Getty</p> Alix Lebec, Prince Harry and Dr. Sophie Chandauka speak at Sentebale panel in Miami on April 11, 2024

Jason Koerner/Getty

Alix Lebec, Prince Harry and Dr. Sophie Chandauka speak at Sentebale panel in Miami on April 11, 2024

Sentebale translates to “forget-me-not” in the country's national language. Forget-me-nots were also the favorite flower of Harry's mother, Princess Diana.

"It's really focused on ensuring that the younger generation are quite literally not forgotten," he said, sharing that both Prince Seeiso's mother, Mamohato, and his mother, Diana, had a strong focus on both HIV/AIDS and improving life for young people.

"At the heart of Sentebale, what we've always believed, is that every single young person should have a chance at a better future," the Duke of Sussex said.

King Charles’ younger son was joined at the event by executives from Sentebale, Google.org, finance and philanthropy firm Lebec and the José Andrés Group, which owns Zaytinya. Prince Harry and Meghan’s Archewell Foundation has partnered with Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen since 2020, teaming up to build a series of Community Relief Centers for activation as service kitchens during and after moments of crisis.

<p>Jason Koerner/Getty</p> Prince Harry joins Sentebale panel in Miami on April 11, 2024

Jason Koerner/Getty

Prince Harry joins Sentebale panel in Miami on April 11, 2024

Related: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Connection to Africa — from Their Third Date to Tour with Archie

The intimate discussion was hosted by Lebec and Sentebale, focusing on how "capital can be creatively dispersed to help youth thrive and address critical global challenges — from Miami to Latin America, to Africa, which has the youngest and fastest growing population in the world," a statement said. The release further revealed that the Sentebale is exploring opportunities to work with other operators to scale its core initiatives in southern Africa, "focused on health, wealth creation, climate resilience and the next generation."

"Our youth advocates are just one example of the incredible potential we see in the young people we work with… It is important and a huge privilege to connect with such esteemed voices here in the U.S. to discuss how we can collectively support the next generation in solutions for change in the Global South," Sentebale Chair Dr. Sophie Chandauka MBE, who spoke at the panel, said in a statement.

Throughout the years, Prince Harry has made both public and private trips to Africa. He’s helped with conservation work, especially with rhinos and elephants, in addition to getting to know its people and their struggles.

<p>Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage</p> Prince Harry visits Liwonde National Park in Malawi on September 30, 2019

Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Prince Harry visits Liwonde National Park in Malawi on September 30, 2019

The continent also played a major role in his love story with Meghan Markle. The couple visited Botswana early in their relationship in the summer of 2016 after just two dates in London.

“I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana. We camped out with each other under the stars. She came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic,” Harry said after their engagement. “So then we were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure that we had a chance to know each other.”

They've returned on several occasions, including a royal tour with their son Prince Archie in 2019.

<p>Jason Koerner/Getty</p> Delfina Blaquier and Nacho Figueras attend a Sentebale panel in Miami on April 11, 2024

Jason Koerner/Getty

Delfina Blaquier and Nacho Figueras attend a Sentebale panel in Miami on April 11, 2024

Related: Mindy Kaling Poses Alongside Prince Harry at BetterUp Summit: 'Met My Friend's Husband'

Prince Harry was joined at the panel by his friend Nacho Figueras, who was accompanied by his wife, Delfina Blaquier.

The event also preceded some Sentebale polo plans for Harry! The Duke of Sussex is set to saddle up for the Royal Salute Polo Challenge benefitting Sentebale on April 12 with Figueras, Sentebale ambassador and Argentine polo player.

Figueras, 47, previously told PEOPLE that Prince Harry’s passion for Sentebale’s work has made an impression on him since they met in 2007.

"From day one, I saw how committed he was to his charity," Figueras exclusively told PEOPLE at the Sentebale Polo Cup in Aspen, Colorado in August 2022. "Fast forward 15 years, I've been to Lesotho with him a few times, and I've seen what great work the charity does and how important it is for a lot of kids, how committed he is, how much he really cares about it."

<p>Jason Koerner/Getty</p> Nacho Figueras and Dr. Sophie Chandauka at Sentebale panel in Miami on April 11, 2024

Jason Koerner/Getty

Nacho Figueras and Dr. Sophie Chandauka at Sentebale panel in Miami on April 11, 2024

Prince Harry’s panel in Miami came the same day it was announced that he has a polo-related show in the works with Netflix. On April 11, Deadline reported that Harry and Meghan’s Archewell Productions company has two new nonfiction series in the "early stages" of production with the streamer. The programs are part of the ongoing multi-year deal the couple signed with Netflix in 2020.

The polo show will take viewers into the world of professional polo, which is nicknamed "the sport of kings" — a longtime passion for Harry. The program will be shot primarily at the U.S. Open Polo Championship in Wellington, Florida at the USPA National Polo Center and chronicle the dedication necessary to succeed in the sport.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are both set to serve as executive producers for the yet-untitled series, which will be produced by Boardwalk Pictures with showrunner Miloš Balać, co-executive producer of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney's Welcome to Wrexham on FX.

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

Meanwhile, a series curated by Meghan, 42, will highlight the fun of cooking, gardening, entertaining and friendship. The Duchess of Sussex is set to serve as an executive producer for the project, under showrunner Leah Hariton, who produced Selena Gomez's cooking series Selena + Chef.

Titles and premiere dates for both series are expected in the coming months, taking viewers into Harry and Meghan’s individual passions.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.