The Duke of Sussex met landmine victim Justina Cesar, who lost her right leg at 3 years old and was 15 when she crossed paths with Princess Diana in 1997
Months before her tragic death, Princess Diana visited a hospital in Huambo, Angola, during her 1997 visit to Africa. The 36-year-old royal was pictured holding hands with young patients while wearing a badge for the British Red Cross.
Twenty-two years later, her 35-year-old son Harry made his way to the site, which has been renamed the Princess Diana Orthopaedic Centre in her honor. Following a recent renovation, the hospital aims to become Angola’s national center of excellence in orthopedic care.
The Duke of Sussex met landmine victim Justina Cesar, who lost her right leg at 3 years old and was 15 when she crossed paths with Princess Diana in 1997.
Prince Harry toured the facilities and meet the Minister for Health, the Director of Orthopedic Center and a representative of BP, which has donated equipment. The new dad to son Archie also made a short speech.
“This visit is obviously deeply personal and meaningful to me. Since my mother’s visit to Huambo so many years ago, this city has undergone such a visible transformation,” he said.
“I am humbled and honored that my mother’s work and commitment to de-mining continues to inspire and that her legacy is being recognized and celebrated today with the naming of the centre in her honor,” he continued.
“It has been an honor to retrace my mother’s steps today. I lost her twenty-two years ago, but the memory of her is with me daily and her legacy lives on which is why I am so happy to name the centre – ‘The Princess Diana Orthopaedic Centre.’ “
On Thursday, Prince Harry visited the exact site where his mother walked 22 years ago. The former landmine field is now a vibrant community, with several colleges, schools and small businesses. A tree, dubbed The Diana Tree, marks the spot where she was photographed in 1997.
“It has been emotional retracing my mother’s steps along this street 22 years on, and to see the transformation that has taken place, from an unsafe and desolate place into a vibrant community of local businesses and colleges,” Harry said in a speech at the site. “This is a wonderful example of how the UK partnership with Angola can address the issue of landmines, bringing prosperity to an area, creating jobs, helping people access education and healthcare, and making communities safer. The work of de-mining is dangerous, expensive and laborious, and I have the utmost admiration and respect for all who do this hazardous work and risk their lives in service of their community.”
He continued, “I am incredibly proud as I know my mother would’ve been, of the role that the United Kingdom has played in this transformation through funding and the expertise brought by UK specialist organisations such as the HALO Trust and Mines Advisory Group.”
Earlier in the day, Harry visited a HALO Trust mine site outside Dirico in Angola, where he remotely detonated a mine and met with members of the community to learn how the de-mining efforts are benefitting the local population. Harry also gave a speech about the important of clearing landmines in the context of conservation and for humanitarian reasons.
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“Later today I will visit Huambo, to see the place where my mother walked through a minefield in 1997. Once heavily mined, the second city of Angola is now safe,” he said. “With the right international support, this land around us here can also be like Huambo – a landmine-free, diverse, dynamic, and thriving community, connected to and benefitting from all that it has to offer.”