Prince Harry is literally following in Princess Diana’s footsteps with his poignant royal trip
While on his 10-day tour of southern Africa, Prince Harry visited the same Angolan minefield his mother visited in 1997. When Princess Diana visited the Angolan city of Huambo more than 20 years ago, it was still an active landmine field and a hotbed of violence. The country was engaged in what would be a 27-year civil war. Diana was determined to clear the site to protect future generations from losing limbs and lives. And she was hugely successful in this mission.
However, despite the war having ended in 2002, de-mining efforts are still in motion in Angola, making Harry’s visit “a particularly significant and poignant journey,” the Duke and Duchess’s private secretary Samantha Cohen told CNN.
Prince Harry spoke to the de-miners, local residents, school children, and media during his visit. The crowd was assembled on “Princess Diana Street.”
"It's been quite emotional retracing my mother's steps along this street 22 years on," Harry said, "and to see the transformation that has taken place from an unsafe and desolate area into a vibrant community of local businesses and colleges.
Because of Princess Diana’s efforts to prohibit the use of landmines by putting faces to those people that they harm, a treaty was signed in 1997, mere months after Diana’s untimely death.
But thousands of minefields are still scattered throughout the country. “There is still a huge amount to do,” Prince Harry told Londoners back in June, per The Washington Post. “The fact that [de-mining] funding has been reduced by 90 percent over the last decade is pretty shocking.”
With Angola entering into its fourth year of recession, the country needs financial help to achieve its goal of being completely mine-free by 2025.
HALO Trust is the main organization backing the landmine-clearing of Angola, and it was present when Diana visited Angola in the late ’90s. The group reports that since 1994, more than 100,000 landmines have been destroyed. To clear the more than 1,400 fields remaining, HALO estimates it’ll need about $263 million.
The hope is that, like his mother’s visit to the country, Prince Harry’s Angolan tour will spark public interest and help raise the funds needed to clear the country of the weapons by 2025.
If you’d like to donate to the cause, check out HALO Trust’s website to make a donation and learn more about the de-mining process.