He wants to make his mother "proud" and says it's "a shame" her memory is tarnished

By Simon Perry
Updated September 17, 2004 08:00 AM

Breaking his long-held silence about his late mother, Prince Harry says in a TV interview made during his two-month visit to South Africa’s Lesotho earlier this year that he vows to follow in the humanitarian footsteps of Princess Diana.

“I don’t want to take over from her, because I never will,” he says. “I don’t think anyone can, but, I want to try to carry it on to make her proud.” Harry, 20, also appeals for an end to the denigration of his mother’s memory.

ABC will air the documentary The Forgotten Kingdom: Prince Harry in Lesotho this fall as part of Primetime Live. In it, Harry is shown tending to traumatized and orphaned children. The show airs in Britain this Sunday.

Deeply affected by what he was taught by his mother – who would take him and his brother, Prince William, to meet AIDS sufferers and the homeless – Harry says on the program, which was filmed last February: “I have always wanted to do this. It is what she was doing when I started off going to Great Ormond Street (hospital in London). I am only 19 and a lot of me wants to say it’s now time to follow on as much as I can to try and keep my mother’s legacy going.”

He admits: “I have a lot of my mother in me. I just think she would want us to do this – me and my brother. And obviously it is not as easy for William as it is for me. I have more time on my hands to be able to help.”

Also on the subject of his mother, as Harry’s trip first begins, secret tapes made by Diana in which she expresses her distress over her marital breakdown were aired on NBC.

Asked how he feels about this, Harry responds: “The stuff that’s come out has been bad … these tapes and everything. Luckily I’ve been out here so I haven’t really heard about it, but I feel bad because my father and brother have been taking the stick instead.”

He concludes, “But it’s just a shame, it’s a shame that after all the good she’s done, even this far on people can’t bring out the good in her.”

To make a donation to the Red Cross Lesotho Fund go to: www.redcross.org.uk/lesotho