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Harry to see legacy of Diana’s anti-landmine work in ‘poignant’ visit to Angola

Diana famously walked through a cleared minefield in Angola in 1997 to highlight the plight of those maimed by military munitions.

Diana, Princess of Wales wears a protective mask and jacket as she stands next to a warning sign on the edge of a minefield in Angola in 1997 (John Stillwell/PA)
Diana, Princess of Wales wears a protective mask and jacket as she stands next to a warning sign on the edge of a minefield in Angola in 1997 (John Stillwell/PA)

By Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent

The Duke of Sussex will make a “significant and poignant” journey to Angola to pay homage to the anti-landmine work of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales during a major tour of Africa, Buckingham Palace said.

Harry will also pay tribute to a British soldier killed by an elephant during anti-poaching operations in Malawi when he visits the country to highlight efforts to protect endangered animals.

The Sussexes will be taking son Archie on his first official overseas trip and although he has not been included in their schedule, it is understood the couple hope to publicly introduce him to Africa at some point.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with Archie (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

At a Buckingham Palace press briefing about the tour, a spokeswoman for the Sussexes said: “In a particularly significant and poignant journey, the Duke of Sussex will have the opportunity to return to Angola to see first-hand the legacy of his mother the late Diana, Princess of Wales, whose visit to Huambo in 1997 helped raise awareness of the threat posed by landmines to communities and livelihoods.

“The work of the late princess, and commitment to this issue, changed global opinion.

“Now, more than two decades later, humanitarian de-mining work continues and the Angolan government has made a significant financial commitment to clearing landmines from another large area important for conservation of Angola’s unique ecosystem.”

Diana famously walked through a cleared minefield in Angola in 1997 to highlight the plight of those maimed by military munitions.

Diana in Angola in 1997 (John Stillwell/PA)

The princess never saw her work to help outlaw landmines come to fruition as she died before the international treaty to ban the military weapons was signed later that year, a few months after she was killed in a Paris car crash.

The duke and duchess will visit Africa from September 23 to October 2, and while Meghan and Archie spend the duration in South Africa, Harry will leave his family to tour Angola, Malawi and Botswana before being reunited with them in Johannesburg.

The spokeswoman said: “The Duke of Sussex’s love for Africa is well known; he first visited the continent at the age of 13 and more than two decades later, the people, culture, wildlife and resilient communities continue to inspire and motivate him every day.”

Harry’s first trip came in the months after Diana’s death when his father the Prince of Wales took him to the continent “to get away from it all”, the duke has said.

The spokeswoman said about Meghan’s focus during the trip: “Through her patronages, the duchess will be working with organisations to promote women’s education, health, entrepreneurship and leadership.

“The Duchess of Sussex is particularly looking forward to the opportunity to learn from inspirational women in the region. As patron of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, Her Royal Highness will meet female entrepreneurs, academics and community leaders, and join discussions with Southern African young women about the future of their countries.”

Harry and Meghan will travel by commercial flights to and from South Africa and the duke will use a charter plane when visiting Angola, Botswana and Angola where some of the locations are remote.

During the launch of a project to encourage the travel industry to become more sustainable, Harry defended his recent use of private jets, saying there were circumstances where he needed to “ensure that my family are safe”.

British soldier Mathew Talbot who died while on counter poaching operations in Malawi (MoD/PA)

The couple will be joined by a 13-strong entourage including Archie’s nanny, private and assistant private secretaries, a four-strong media team, two programme coordinators, personal assistant, hairdresser – paid for privately – a director of royal travel, and someone responsible for logistics.

The spokeswoman said about Harry’s visit to Milawi’s Liwonde National Park, where the British soldier was killed: “The duke will pay tribute at the memorial site for Guardsman Mathew Talbot of the Coldstream Guards, who lost his life in May 2019 on a joint anti-poaching patrol with local park rangers.

“Guardsman Talbot shared the duke’s passion for the role of the British military, working in partnership with local rangers to protect endangered species.”

It is understood Harry wrote to the soldier’s family following his death.

Meghan, who is making her first visit to South Africa, and Harry both admire South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela and have already met members of his family in the UK.

Towards the end of their visit they will be introduced to the statesman’s widow Graca Machel, who met the duke when he visited South Africa in 2015, and have an audience with President Cyril Ramaphosa and his wife Tshepo Motsepe.

During their time in South Africa the couple will visit a township in Cape Town, tour a workshop supporting children and empowering young girls, and visit another near Johannesburg where they will learn about a project tackling rising unemployment.



From Belfast Telegraph