In 1997, the lovely, late Princess Diana visited the African nation of Angola to highlight the ongoing threat of munitions in the country and to call on the world to ban weapons.
Twenty-two years later, her youngest born son, Harry, has visited that same spot, retracing his mother’s footsteps and paying his respects both to Diana, and to the cause that she championed.
Thankfully, the place Diana visited then is a very different place to the one Harry visited this week, largely thanks to the work of the Halo Trust, a landmine clearance charity.
There are now businesses and schools in the completely revitalised area, and Harry praised the charity and locals on his visit.
A “Diana Tree” was planted to mark his mother’s visit, and Harry took a moment to sit under it while at the site, near the south-eastern Angolan town of Dirico.
At 35, Harry is the same age his mother was when she visited Angola, just months before her death.
Harry gave a speech to the local community while there, saying, “It has been quite emotional retracing my mother’s steps through these streets 22 years ago and to see the transformation that has taken place from an unsafe and desolate area into a vibrant community with local businesses and colleges.”
Harry wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty while there, donning the appropriate attire to deactivate an anti-personnnel mine which had been discovered in a partially cleared minefield nearby. The mine, by now decades old, was safely destroyed with a controlled explosion.
But, as the Duke of Sussex pointed out, “there are still one thousand minefields left in this beautiful country that remain to be cleared and I wonder if she [Diana] were still here whether that would still be the case.”
“I’m pretty sure that she would have seen it [their clearance] through.”
The Sussexes also paid tribute to Diana’s work in a touching Instagram post.
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“If an international ban on mines can be secured it means, looking far ahead, that the world may be a safer place for this generation's grandchildren.” – Princess Diana, 1997 Today in Angola The Duke of Sussex will retrace his mother’s steps to see the legacy of her work and how her connection with this community helped make the elimination of landmines a reality. In 1997 Diana Princess of Wales visited Huambo to bring global attention to the crisis of landmines and the people whose lives were being destroyed. Two decades later, the area has transformed from desolate and uninhabitable to lively and vibrant, with colleges, schools and small businesses. The Duke is humbled to be visiting a place and a community that was so special to his mother, and to recognise her tireless mission as an advocate for all those she felt needed her voice the most, even if the issue was not universally popular. Princess Diana’s visit helped change the course of history, and directly led to the Convention against Anti-Personal Landmines, also known as the Ottawa Treaty. Today, with the support of @thehalotrust, Angola now has a stated aim under the Treaty to be clear of known mines by 2025. Despite great progress, 60 million people worldwide still live in fear of landmines every day. During his visit today, The Duke will walk along the street which was once the minefield where his mother was famously pictured. #RoyalTourAfrica #RoyalVisitAngola Photo©️PA
We’re crying, too.