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Prince Harry names Sentebale buildings in Lesotho after Diana and nanny

Published 25/11/2015

Prince Harry, at a reception for the Endeavour Fund, a project led by his and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's Royal Foundation, where he stepped up the drive to help wounded service personnel through sport and adventure, at St James's Palace, central London.
Prince Harry, at a reception for the Endeavour Fund, a project led by his and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's Royal Foundation, where he stepped up the drive to help wounded service personnel through sport and adventure, at St James's Palace, central London.

Prince Harry has named two buildings at the heart of his charity's new landmark centre in Africa after the women closest to him - his mother Diana, Princess of Wales and his beloved nanny.

Harry will attend the opening of the Sentebale development in Lesotho on Thursday - a purpose-built home for the organisation's work with disadvantaged children and other youngsters living with HIV.

The Mamohato Children's Centre cost just over £2 million to build and its welcome block - with a distinctive frontage designed by the prince - has been named after OIga Powell, Harry's nanny, who died in 2012.

Cathy Ferrier, Sentebale's chief executive, said: "When Olga passed away the family donated the money that would have gone to flowers to Sentebale, that's why this building is in loving memory of Olga Powell."

The no-nonsense but fun nanny came to work for the Waleses when the Duke of Cambridge was six months old and was a figure of stability for the princes as their parent's marriage broke down, staying to care for them for 15 years.

She was 52 at the time, in contrast to Harry's mother Diana who was just 21, and even after her retirement was invited to key milestones such as William's 21st celebrations at Windsor Castle, his passing out at Sandhurst and his wedding.

Lesotho's Prince Seeiso co-founded Sentebale with Harry in 2006, and the new facility is named after his mother Queen Mamohato but also recognises the Princess of Wales.

The centre's dining hall takes Diana's name and one wall is painted with a tree, with the leaves featuring the names of donors including Sir Elton John and husband David Furnish and their two young sons Elijah and Zachary.

Sentebale's chief executive said: "We felt that we should acknowledge Harry's mother as well, so we decided the dining hall was a very appropriate place.

"It's the place where all the children will gather three times a day (for meals) plus do games and drama and goodness knows what else - it felt like the right place to be in memory of his mother."

Seeiso suggested Harry's commitment to the disadvantaged children of Lesotho was a legacy of the princess instilling in her sons the need to empathise with others less fortunate - as his mother Queen Mamohato had done.

He said: "We came to a point together because we had a similar upbringing, where we were led to believe, and made to believe, that we shouldn't look at ourselves as any different from any other kid.

"If we were born of privilege we should pay back to society in some way or another and this is why we started this project."

Speaking about Harry's upbringing, the African prince added: "He came from a similar background (with) his mum - that Harry and William, you need to be seen, not only seen but you need to feel what other people are feeling so that you can make a difference in your own way."

The new centre will be opened by Seeiso's brother King Letsie III, Lesotho's monarch, who donated land for the project in the foothills of the Thaba Bosiu - a mountain known by many as the birthplace of the Lesotho nation.

It will allow the charity to scale up its Mamohato programme, which addresses the emotional and psychological needs of children living with HIV.

It will also be used to support Sentebale's work with other vulnerable children, providing accommodation for up to 96 children and their carers, along with a medical block, workshop classrooms and a sports field.

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