Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are planning a major trip to Africa to help fulfil his late mother Princess Diana’s legacy. As part of their Autumn tour, Harry will travel to Angola, where Diana famously visited in January 1997, just months before her tragic death. The striking image of The Princess of Wales, wearing a protective visor and vest and walking through a minefield, became etched in history and highlighted the important work by the HALO Trust.
Palace aides are investigating Angola’s security situation to see if Meghan and the couple’s newborn son Archie will be able to join Harry. However, they are expected to travel together for at least some of the African tour, which will also take in Malawi to expand the reach of his charity Sentebale, South Africa and possibly Botswana. Harry in 2013 travelled to Cuando Cubango region in southeast Angola with the charity of which he is a patron and saw first-hand the impact of landmines on communities and the human suffering they cause.
The Duke has told close confidants of his desire to “fulfil his mother’s legacy” in many aspects of her humanitarian and conservation work. A major project for the Duke and Duchess to spend up to six months at a time living in Africa over the next two to three years is already underway.
A foreign sabbatical is something Harry has wanted to pursue for many years and sources close to him have revealed the couple both want to focus on issues around conservation, the environment and education. One royal source said, “Harry has made no secret of what an influence his mother has been on him. His trip to Africa comes at a time in his life where he has become a parent himself. Diana had a great affinity with children and recognised the worth of having boots on the ground could affect change in such an important way.”
“This is all about wanting to fulfil his mother’s legacy and showing his wife and baby son the places that have had the most positive effect on him in his life. In 2017 on International Mine Awareness Day, Harry said his mother’s work on banning landmines in the last months of her life “wasn’t universally popular”, said the source. He added, “Some believed she had stepped over the line into the arena of political campaigning – but for her, this wasn’t about politics; it was about people.”
Harry said, “She knew she had a big spotlight to shine, and she used it to bring attention to the people that others had forgotten, ignored or were too afraid to support.” Botswana - which Harry has previously described as his ‘second home’ - has also been suggested as a destination, as well as South Africa. The Queen appointed her grandson one of its youth ambassadors last year and sees him as an important proponent of her legacy.
The Sussexes’ advisers are working on a tailored role for the couple with the help of Sir David Manning, a former ambassador to the US, and Lord Geidt, the Queen’s former private secretary who chairs the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.
Sources close to former Prime Minister Tony Blair have also told The Mirror how Harry’s decision could be based on Diana’s plans with the Labour leader to create a bespoke role for her as a roving international peace envoy in the months before she died.
In an interview after she died in a Paris tunnel on August 31, 1997 Blair said, “She had a tremendous ability, as we saw over the land mines issue...to enter into an area that could have been one of the controversies and suddenly just clarify for people what was clearly the right thing to do. I felt there were all sorts of ways that could have been harnessed and used for the good of people. Compassion is the best legacy. That is what she was about.”
Harry’s first step will be next Monday to attend a Chatham House Africa Programme event on ‘Mine Clearance, Conservation, and Economic Development in Angola’, Buckingham Palace confirmed today.
The event is being held in partnership with the HALO Trust, with the Angolan Government about to provide £44 million of funding to clear landmines in two national parks, a major opportunity for the conservation of southern Africa’s last great wilderness.
The Africa Programme event will highlight the connection between conservation, economic development, and mine clearance, with a call to action for increased funding for mine clearance efforts in Angola.Read More