Twenty-two years ago, Princess Diana made her poignant walk across a minefield in central Angola, and today, Prince Harry followed in her footsteps and continued the dangerous work of clearing the world of the landmine.
“Landmines are a humanitarian issue — not a political one,” Prince Harry previously said
Prince Harry visited the HALO Trust mine site outside Dirico in Angola on the fifth day of his Africa tour. While there Prince Harry remotely detonated a mine and met with members of the community to discuss how they de-mine the area, a dangerous task, but extremely beneficial for the local population. The Duke also gave a speech about the importance of clearing landmines in the context of conservation and humanitarian reasons.
“By clearing the landmines we can help this community find peace and with peace comes opportunity. Ecotourism will bring more jobs to Angola in the future than it’s oil and gas industries,” he said.
‘It’s an emotional moment for him.’
Royal editor @chrisshipitv reports that Harry is retracing his late mother’s footsteps in Angola as he detonated a landmine. This visit has strong parallels to when Princess Diana made her poignant walk through a landmine field filled with warning signs in Huambo, while wearing protective clothing and a visor, and she also met with landmine survivors to raise awareness of the issue.
The Duke and Duchess honoured that event with a post on their official Instagram, with a quote from when then prince’s mother visited the landmine back in 1997.
“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,” the quote read.
“The Duke is humbled to be visiting a place and a community that was so special to his mother, and to recognize her tireless mission as an advocate for all those she felt needed her voice the most, even if the issue was not universally popular,” the palace said of Harry’s visit.
The plan for later today is for Harry to visit the exact place where his mother walked-which has now been transformed into a vibrant community, with several colleges, schools and small businesses. “Photographs of the late Princess Diana visiting a de-mining site and meeting mine victims became iconic and powerful images in support of her campaign to create a global mine ban — which came to fruition in the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention that same year. On arrival, His Royal Highness will be met by the Governor of Huambo, Joana Lina, who was also the official host for the late Princess Diana’s visit,” the couple’s private secretary Samantha Cohen told reporters ahead of their Africa tour.
This isn’t the first time Prince Harry has delved into this problem, with him speaking at a major meeting on landmines in London back in June, when he said that his experience has “showed me the importance of landmine clearance within a humanitarian emergency because, let’s not forget, landmines are a humanitarian issue — not a political one.”
By the end, Prince Harry will unveil a plaque to mark the three-country Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project that includes Angola’s Luengue-Ludhiana National Park, the initial site for the de-mining initiative. Representatives from both Botswana and Namibia will join Angolan Prime Minister to celebrate this first-time collaboration, with additional protection for National Parks all abutting the Okavango Delta, with the sole goal of creating safe and green corridors for wildlife and communities.