Earlier this week, Prince Harry followed in his beloved mom’s footsteps in a really beautiful way. Princess Diana was known for her charitable endeavors and her compassion, perhaps most notably for the special connection she had with people suffering from HIV and AIDS. Helping victims of the AIDS epidemic was a cause she was most passionate about, and in the virus’s infancy, she was one of the very first public figures to treat patients with the respect and dignity they deserved. In 1989, when she shook hands and kissed the cheek of an AIDS patient at London’s Mildmay Hospital, it sent a powerful message to the entire world.
According to Good Morning America, Diana visited Mildmay 17 separate times before her death. And now Prince Harry is honoring her memory by doing the same.
Harry’s visit to Mildmay on December 14 was in honor of the hospital’s 150th anniversary. While he was there, the prince was asked to cut a special anniversary cake. In typical charming Prince Harry fashion, he joked, “I don’t cut cakes much. We normally plant trees. This is something new.” But it looks as though he caught on pretty quick.
He also signed the hospital’s guest book, which is kept in a room named after Diana.
Of course Harry also spent time with patients at the hospital, holding their hands just like his mom once did. According to Good Morning America, he even met one AIDS patient who had sat on Diana’s lap at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children when she was only two years old. When Harry left the hospital in London, the staff gave him a copy of the famous photo of Diana kissing an HIV-positive Mildmay patient named Martin. Martin died less than a week after the photo was taken, and the picture is one of the most iconic images of Diana.
We love that Prince Harry is committed to continuing Diana’s legacy by supporting those affected by HIV and AIDS. He recently also started the charity Sentebale in Lesotho, Southern Africa, which provides home, shelter and support for children and families affected by the virus. Losing a parent is always heartbreaking, but losing your mom when you’re only 12 years old has got to be especially tough. Harry can take heart in knowing that Diana would be so proud of the compassionate and tender man he’s become.
(Images via Shutterstock and Twitter.)