How Prince Harry Carries on Princess Diana's Legacy: His Mother's Son

The Duke of Sussex's journey from schoolboy to Army officer and champion of the charity trail blazed by his mother is chronicled in the latest issue of PEOPLE Royals

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - APRIL 17: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attends the Sitting Volleyball Competition during day two of the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 at Zuiderpark on April 17, 2022 in The Hague, Netherlands. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation); CHAMBORD, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 09: Diana, Princess of Wales, poses outside Chateau de Chambord during her official visit to France on November 9, 1988 in Chambord, France. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
Prince Harry and Princess Diana. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty; Georges De Keerle/Getty

Prince Harry is continuing the work of his late mother, Princess Diana.

His journey from schoolboy to Army officer and champion of the charity trail blazed by his mother is chronicled in the latest issue of PEOPLE Royals.

Six years ago, Harry told PEOPLE, "There's other times when I think, 'All I want to do is make my mother incredibly proud.' That's all I've ever wanted to do."

Since then, Harry — at 37, he's one year older than his mother was when she died in Paris on August 31, 1997 — has seen his life change irrevocably. He and wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (who he married in 2018) and their two children Archie, 3, and Lilibet, 1, have settled in Montecito, California.

Royals Summer issue 2022

One thing that hasn't changed? His connection with those in need.

"He has that joie de vivre, and that connecting touch," biographer Ingrid Seward, who knew his mother Diana well, says of Harry's talent for hands-on public duty.

That is never more apparent than when he visits with the WellChild charity that helps ill children and their family and caregivers. Harry "has patience more than anything else. The most important skill is to listen and understand and he does that really, really well," former CEO of the charity Colin Dyer has told PEOPLE.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 03: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex depart after the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on June 03, 2022 in London, England. The Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II is being celebrated from June 2 to June 5, 2022, in the UK and Commonwealth to mark the 70th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 1952. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage,)
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attending the Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen's Jubilee on June 3. Samir Hussein/WireImage

And he has a magnetic appeal in widening the publicity for both banning landmines and helping those maimed by the weapons. "He's stepping into the void" left by Diana, says activist Ken Rutherford. Adds the U.S. executive director of mine-clearing charity HALO Trust, Chris Whatley: "There's no comparison to the public attention" generated by Harry such as when he visited Angola in 2019.

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Prince Harry
Prince Harry with Justina Cesar. Ian Vogler/Getty Image

Harry, of course, is not alone in following in his mother's footsteps. On Monday, his brother William, 40, explained how he is also tackling the ongoing issue of homelessness that Diana introduced to both of her sons. One day, William said, he will introduce his own children to the cause too.

For Harry, the work will continue for decades ahead. "I don't do things because I fell as though my mother would want me to do them," he told PEOPLE in 2016. "Weirdly, if there's an overlap — which most of the time there is — then that's fantastic. I know I've got a lot of my mother in me."

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