Prince Harry follows in mother Diana’s footsteps on visit to Angola

JOHANNESBURG – Britain’s Prince Harry followed in his late mother’s footsteps on Friday, wearing a protective vest and visor during a visit to a de-mining project in Angola that echoed a famous series of images taken of Princess Diana more than 20 years ago.

princess diana and prince harry angola
Combo picture shows Diana, Princess of Wales walking in one of the safety corridors of the land mine fields of Huambo, Angola January 15, 1997 REUTERS/Juda Ngwenya and Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, visiting a working de-mining field in Dirico, Angola September 27, 2019. Dominic Lipinski/Pool via REUTERS

Queen Elizabeth’s grandson and sixth in line to the British throne visited a de-mining field outside Dirico, a town in Angola’s Cuando Cubango province, where, wearing a safety vest, he remotely detonated a mine in a controlled explosion. He also met community members.

Harry then visited Huambo, retracing his mother’s steps on a street that was once a path in a dangerous minefield.

The 35-year-old walked down Princess Diana Street and sat beneath the Diana Tree, the spot where his mother, who campaigned for a global ban on mines, was photographed.


A tree which marks the spot where the Princess of Wales was photographed in 1997, is seen ahead of the visit of Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, to a working de-mining field in Dirico with the HALO Trust, in Huambo, Angola September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Dominic Lipinski/Pool
Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, sits alone beneath the Diana Tree on day five of the royal tour of Africa, in Huambo, Angola September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Dominic Lipinski/Pool
Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, walks on Princess Diana Street on day five of the royal tour of Africa, in Huambo, Angola September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Dominic Lipinski/Pool
A crowd gathers on Princess Diana Street ahead of the arrival of Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, in Huambo, Angola September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Dominic Lipinski/Pool

“It has been emotional retracing my mother’s steps along this street 22 years on, and to see the transformation that has taken place, from an unsafe and desolate place into a vibrant community of local businesses and colleges,” Harry said.

Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, makes a speech during his visit to a working de-mining field with the HALO Trust in Dirico Province, Angola, September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Dominic Lipinski/Pool

“But let us not lose sight of the reality. Twenty two years after my mother visited Angola, there are still more than 1,000 minefields in this beautiful country that remain to be cleared. I wonder if she was still alive whether that would still be the case. I’m pretty sure she would have seen it through.”

The pictures of Diana wearing protective gear as she walked among red skull-and-crossbone signs in Huambo in January 1997 won publicity for the HALO Trust, which was clearing mines left during Angola’s civil war.

Diana, Princess of Wales, talks with war veterans at the Orthopedic Neves Bendinha in Luanda, Angola January 14, 1997 REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribero
FILE PHOTO: Diana, Princess of Wales holds a landmine in one of the safety corridors of the landmine field in Huambo, Angola, January 15, 1997 during a visit to help a Red Cross campaign outlaw landmines worldwide. REUTERS/Juda Ngwenya/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Diana Princess of Wales adjusts a mask to protect against a land mine explosion during a visit to a mine field in Huambo, Angola, January 15, 1997, during a visit to help a Red Cross campaign outlaw landmines worldwide. REUTERS/Juda Ngwenya/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Diana, Princess of Wales walks in one of the safety corridors of the landmine field in Huambo, Angola, January 15, 1997, during a visit to help a Red Cross campaign outlaw landmines worldwide. REUTERS/Juda Ngwenya/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Diana, Princess of Wales, talks to disabled former government soldiers at an orthopaedic centre outside Luanda, Angola January 14, 1997. REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribeiro/File Photo

They were taken a few months before her death in Paris in a car crash. The international treaty to ban the weapons was signed later the same year.

Harry’s visit to Angola is part of a southern African trip by him, Meghan and their four-month-old son Archie. Their first overseas tour as a family began in South Africa on Monday.

They drew crowds of well-wishers on their first three days in Cape Town, where they visited non-governmental organisations working with vulnerable communities and young people and met Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu.

While Meghan and Archie stayed in South Africa, Harry headed to Botswana on Thursday.

In June, he threw his weight behind mine clearance efforts in Angola, saying land mines were “a humanitarian issue and not a political one.”

The landmines were planted during Angola’s 27-year civil war, which ended in 2002. Many people remain displaced and thousands have been left with disabilities from landmines which continue to maim and kill.

Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, visits a working de-mining field with the HALO Trust in Dirico Province, Angola, September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Dominic Lipinski/Pool
Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, remotely detonates a landmine as he visits a working de-mining field with the HALO Trust in Dirico Province, Angola, September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Dominic Lipinski/Pool
Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, visits a working de-mining field with the HALO Trust in Dirico Province, Angola, September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Dominic Lipinski/Pool
Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, visits a working de-mining field with the HALO Trust in Dirico Province, Angola, September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Dominic Lipinski/Pool
Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Halo Regional Manager Jose Antonio watch as Mine Clearer Jorge Joao Cativa demonstrates mine clearing techniques during his visit to a working de-mining field with the HALO Trust in Dirico Province, Angola, September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Dominic Lipinski/Pool
Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Halo Regional Manager Jose Antonio watch as Mine Clearer Jorge Joao Cativa demonstrates mine clearing techniques during his visit to a working de-mining field with the HALO Trust in Dirico Province, Angola, September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Dominic Lipinski/Pool
Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, visits a working de-mining field with the HALO Trust in Dirico Province, Angola, September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Dominic Lipinski/Pool

Harry has been visiting southern Africa for two decades for holidays and conservation work.

He ends the solo section of his tour on Tuesday in Malawi, where he will meet President Peter Mutharika and pay tribute at the memorial site for British soldier Guardsman Mathew Talbot, who was killed in May while taking part in counter poaching operations in the country.

Harry will then rejoin Meghan and Archie for a township visit on Wednesday near Johannesburg. They will meet Graca Machel, widow of South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, and President Cyril Ramaphosa before departing for London.

(Writing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Marie-Louise Gumuchian; editing by Mike Collett-White)