Prince William has offered a message of support for Welsh rugby legend Gareth Thomas following the athlete’s reveal that he has been living with HIV.
In a video shared to Twitter, Thomas, 45, announced his “secret” to the world after implying that he’d been blackmailed into doing so.
“I want to share my secret with you. Why? Because it’s mine to tell you. Not the evils that make my life hell, threatening to tell you before I do,” he said, growing emotional. “And because I believe in you, and I trust you. I am living with HIV. Now you have that information, that makes me extremely vulnerable, but it does not make me weak.”
Courageous as ever – legend on the pitch and legend off it. You have our support Gareth. W https://t.co/WXGof2N3j8— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) September 15, 2019
Thomas, former captain of the British and Irish Lions, explained that he hoped to educate the public and end the stigma surrounding HIV. He also called on his fans for support, and revealed he would be competing in the Ironman triathlon in Wales on Sunday.
Prince William was among those to quickly show their support behind Thomas, as he shared a special message on the Kensington Palace social media accounts.
“Courageous as ever – legend on the pitch and legend off it. You have our support Gareth,” William wrote, signing the message with a W.
Prince Harry also shared words of support on social media. “Gareth, you are an absolute legend! In sharing your story of being HIV+, you are saving lives and shattering stigma, by showing you can be strong and resilient while living with HIV,” he wrote on the Sussex Royal account.
“We should all be disgusted by the way you were forced to speak your truth, it is yours and yours alone to share on your terms and I and millions stand with you,” the father of one said.
RELATED VIDEO: Kate Middleton Knew the ‘Demands’ of Joining the Royal Family: ‘She’d Seen Enough’
Their notes of praise is one his mother, Princess Diana, certainly would have supported, as she worked to end the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS, and even famously shook the hand of an HIV/AIDS patient at a time when the world believed that the illness was passed on through touch.
- Can’t get enough of PEOPLE’s Royals coverage? Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!
Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009 and married husband Stephen in 2016, opened up about his decision to reveal his HIV status in a new documentary for BBC One Wales.
The star said that a tabloid newspaper had found out about it, and that his parent’s home was being hounded by journalists.
“I needed to take control of my life,” he said in the documentary, according to the BBC. “When you have a secret that other people know about it makes you really vulnerable towards them. And I just, I felt like I had no control over my own life.”