Prince Harry ‘deeply connected’ to Botswana after his ‘mum’ died

KeithBinns/iStock(LONDON) — Prince Harry made an emotional trip to Botswana Thursday, paying tribute to a country of which he says he feels “deeply connected.”

“I came down here straight after my mum died,” Harry said, referring to the late Princess Diana, who died in 1997 when Harry was just 12. “I feel deeply connected to this place.”

Harry, 35, put a spotlight on a cause close to Princess Diana — supporting people affected by HIV — while in Botswana, visiting a project of his own charity, Sentebale, which works to support young people in the country affected by HIV.

The Duke of Sussex talked with youth advocates about how they are trying to break the stigma of HIV/AIDS, and also joined in an activity designed to help boost kids’ self-confidence.

Harry co-founded Sentebale in 2006 to support children and young people affected by HIV and AIDS in Lesotho, Botswana and Malawi.

Through his charity, he named a dining hall at a children’s center in Lesotho the “Princess of Wales Hall” after Diana, who was one of the first pioneers seeking to destigmatize prejudice for those living with HIV/AIDS.
 
The legacy of Princess Diana continues to echo throughout the 10-day tour of South Africa undertaken by Harry, Duchess Meghan and their nearly 5-month-old son Archie. Meghan and Archie remained in Cape Town Thursday while Harry traveled solo to Botswana.

On Friday, Harry is scheduled to visit Angola, a place Princess Diana famously visited just months before her death to put a spotlight on the danger of landmines.

She redefined how people thought about landmines by being photographed wearing protective body armor and a visor while visiting a landmine minefield being cleared by the charity Halo in Huambo, Angola, in January 1997.

Harry will visit Huambo, now a busy area with schools and shops, a far cry from the scene his mom saw in 1997.

He will be greeted in Huambo by the same official, Gov. Joana Lina, who was the official host for Princess Diana’s visit, according to Buckingham Palace. Harry will also dedicate the Huambo Orthopaedic Centre in the name of his mom, who visited in 1997.

Earlier in the day, Harry spoke out about another cause close to his heart, the environment. He planted trees with kids and applauded Greta Thunberg, the young girl from Sweden who recently led a climate strike for young people around the world.

“This last week, led by Greta Thunberg, the world’s children are striking,” Harry said. “It’s a race against time and one which we are losing. Everyone knows it. There’s no excuse for not knowing that.”

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