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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle honour his late friend Henry van Straubenzee who was killed in a car crash 18 years ago with a Christmas donation to the fund set up in his name
- The Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund works to tackle poverty in Uganda
- UK charity was set up shortly after the 18-year-old died in a car crash in 2002
- Duke and Duchess of Sussex will donate to fund in honour of Harry’s late friend
- Harry and Meghan shared news in their first Christmas card since leaving UK
Prince Harry has honoured his late friend Henry van Straubenzee with a Christmas donation to the charity fund set up in his name.
Yesterday the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released their first Christmas card since relocating to California and revealed in the message they had donated to ‘a memorial fund for a cherished friend that helps to educate children and fight poverty in Uganda’.
Although it was not named, the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial fund, which was set up in Henry’s name following his death in a car crash in 2002, works to improve the quality of education in impoverished rural Ugandan schools.
Prince Harry met Henry at Ludgrove prep school, in Berkshire. Prince William is a friend of Henry’s older brother Thomas van Straubenzee and the families remain close.
Yesterday the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released their first Christmas card since relocating to California earlier this year
They have donated to a memorial fund set up shortly after 18-year-old Henry van Straubenzee (pictured) died in a car crash in 2002
Meghan’s message in the card read: ‘This year we, as a family, have made donations to several charities with you in mind.
‘From a local California organisation that helps families transition out of homelessness, to two of our UK patronages: one that supports animal and community welfare, and the other, a memorial fund for a cherished friend that helps to educate children and fight poverty in Uganda, we have honoured their work on behalf of all of us.’
The Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund usually hosts an annual Christmas Carol Service at St Luke’s Church, Chelsea which is attended by members of the royal family.
This year’s service has been cancelled due to Covid 19, and the charity’s website states: ‘This is usually a large part of our fundraising activities.
Since January 2009, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex have been Patrons of charity. The princes are pictured at the launch of the Henry van Straubenzee Memorial Fund
‘As well as missing a wonderful service, we will also miss out on funds raised.’
Prince Harry once described Henry as a ‘Polzeath surfing legend and ladies’ man with whom we shared so many special memories’.
He died instantly when a car in which he was a passenger hit a tree outside Ludgrove preschool in Berkshire, where he and the princes were once pupils.
Henry was a classmate of Prince Harry’s, while his older brother Thomas was a friend of the Duke of Cambridge. The foursome were said to be inseparable as they were growing up.
Harry and William remain close friends with the two surviving van Straubenzee brothers, with both attending the wedding of Thomas van Straubenzee, 38, in 2013.
Thomas (left) and his brother Charlie (not pictured) are both close with William (right) and Harry (centre) as the sets of brothers have known each other since prep school
Prince William has know Thomas Straubenzee since childhood where he attended Ludgrove School in Berkshire. They are pictured with Kate Middleton in 2016 at Ascot Racecourse
The families have been friends for decades, with their uncle, William van Straubenzee, a close friend of their mother Princess Diana.
Younger brother Charlie, 32, is very close with Prince Harry and is godfather to his son Archie, one.
The foundation set up in his name is currently helping support 49 nursery, primary and secondary schools, where over 1,700 separate projects have been completed.
The card was released via Mayhew and shows the couple playing with Archie in the garden of their £11million ($15million) home in Montecito, along with dogs Pula and Guy.
The card is a drawing of a photograph taken by Meghan’s mother Doria earlier this month.
Harry, 36, and Meghan relocated to Montecito after staying at Tyler Perry’s £13million ($18million) home with 12 bedrooms in Beverly Hills. They spent last Christmas in Canada after stepping down as senior royals.
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