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Prince Harry in footsteps of Diana to highlight Angola mine peril

Donning a protective visor and blue bullet-proof vest, Harry was almost the exact replica of Princess Diana when she famously walked across a cleared minefield near the central city of Huambo in 1997.

A combination of images shows handout photos made available by the Halo Trust of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, visiting the minefield in Dirico, Angola, on 27 September 2019, and his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, during her visit to a minefield in Angola on 15 January 1997. Picture: AFP

HUAMBO - Britain's Prince Harry on Friday walked through a cleared minefield in Angola, tracing his late mother's footsteps to draw attention to a country that remains plagued by land mines.

Donning a protective visor and blue bullet-proof vest, Harry was almost the exact replica of Princess Diana when she famously walked across a cleared minefield near the central city of Huambo in 1997.

Diana was drawing attention to the more than one million landmines planted during Angola's 27-year civil war, which ended in 2002.

Just months later she was killed in a car crash in Paris, when Harry was 12.

"Landmines are an unhealed scar of war," Harry said in remote national park near the southern town of Dirico, where he detonated a mine from a distance.

View this post on Instagram

Following in the footsteps of his mother, Princess Diana, this morning The Duke of Sussex visited a de-mining site in Dirico, Angola, to raise awareness of the danger and prevalence of landmines that still exists today. The Duke joined @thehalotrust in their work to help clear the area to enable safe access for the local community. • “If an international ban on mines can be secured it means, looking far ahead, that the world may be a safer place for this generation's grandchildren.” – Princess Diana, 1997 Today in Angola The Duke of Sussex will retrace his mother’s steps to see the legacy of her work and how her connection with this community helped make the elimination of landmines a reality. In 1997 Diana Princess of Wales visited Huambo to bring global attention to the crisis of landmines and the people whose lives were being destroyed. Two decades later, the area has transformed from desolate and unhabitable to lively and vibrant, with colleges, schools and small businesses. The Duke is humbled to be visiting a place and a community that was so special to his mother, and to recognise her tireless mission as an advocate for all those she felt needed her voice the most, even if the issue was not universally popular. Princess Diana’s visit helped change the course of history, and directly led to the Convention against Anti-Personal Landmines, also known as the Ottawa Treaty. Today, with the support of @thehalotrust, Angola now has a stated aim under the Treaty to be clear of known mines by 2025. Despite great progress, 60 million people worldwide still live in fear of landmines every day. During his visit today, The Duke will walk along the street which was once the minefield where his mother was famously pictured. #RoyalVisitAfrica #RoyalVisitAngola Photo©️PA

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on

"By clearing the landmine we can help this community find peace - and with peace comes opportunity."

Harry also called on Angolans to protect the "unique wildlife" in the area, which lies 1,000 kilometres from Huambo, near the border with Botswana.

"That river and those wildlife are your natural assets and if looked after will bring you unlimited opportunities within the conservancy-led economy."

The Duke of Sussex will travel to Huambo later on Friday to view the iconic site where Diana was photographed and visit a recently-renovated orthopaedic hospital.

More than 1,600 people have been injured by landmines in Angola between the start of the war in 1975 and 2015, according to British charity Halo Trust.

Most casualties occurred in 2002 and 2003, when Angolans returned to their homes after peace was declared.

Diana was photographed meeting some of the victims during her visit.

"If an international ban on mines can be secured it means, looking far ahead, that the world may be a safer place for this generation's grandchildren," said the princess at the time.

View this post on Instagram

“If an international ban on mines can be secured it means, looking far ahead, that the world may be a safer place for this generation's grandchildren.” – Princess Diana, 1997 Today in Angola The Duke of Sussex will retrace his mother’s steps to see the legacy of her work and how her connection with this community helped make the elimination of landmines a reality. In 1997 Diana Princess of Wales visited Huambo to bring global attention to the crisis of landmines and the people whose lives were being destroyed. Two decades later, the area has transformed from desolate and uninhabitable to lively and vibrant, with colleges, schools and small businesses. The Duke is humbled to be visiting a place and a community that was so special to his mother, and to recognise her tireless mission as an advocate for all those she felt needed her voice the most, even if the issue was not universally popular. Princess Diana’s visit helped change the course of history, and directly led to the Convention against Anti-Personal Landmines, also known as the Ottawa Treaty. Today, with the support of @thehalotrust, Angola now has a stated aim under the Treaty to be clear of known mines by 2025. Despite great progress, 60 million people worldwide still live in fear of landmines every day. During his visit today, The Duke will walk along the street which was once the minefield where his mother was famously pictured. #RoyalTourAfrica #RoyalVisitAngola Photo©️PA

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on

Prince Harry travelled to Angola in 2013 to witness the clearing of a minefield organised by Halo Trust, a charity championed by Diana.

Harry - Diana's second son and sixth in line to the British throne - is on a 10-day tour of southern Africa, which he started in Cape Town with his wife Meghan and four-month old son Archie.

Duchess and baby remained in South Africa while the Duke toured conservation and HIV prevention projects around the region.

He visited Botswana before Angola, and is scheduled to fly to Malawi on Saturday.

The family will reunite in Johannesburg next week and complete the trip together before flying back on 2 October.

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