Prince Harry retraces Princess Diana's footsteps in Angola minefield

The Duke of Sussex's visit to an Angolan minefield came 22 years after Princess Diana visited the country to bring attention to the dangers of land mines.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump

Prince Harry walked in his late mother's footsteps on Friday when he toured an area in Angola that was cleared of land mines thanks to a campaign initiated by Princess Diana more than two decades ago.

Harry was shown wearing a blue vest and safety mask as he walked through a minefield in Dirico, Angola, in an Instagram photo on the Sussex Royal account. Harry's visit came 22 years after his mother visited the southern African nation to bring attention to the dangers of land mines and was famously photographed walking through an active minefield wearing similar body armor.

"The Duke is humbled to be visiting a place and a community that was so special to his mother, and to recognize her tireless mission as an advocate for all those she felt needed her voice the most, even if the issue was not universally popular,'' the caption reads.

The area is being cleared of mines by the charity HALO Trust, whose work rose to international prominence in 1997 when Diana walked through the field in Huambo, Angola.

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Harry visited the area on Friday. The country was covered by land mines during a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002.

Prince Harry in Angola on Friday. His mother, Princess Diana, visited the country in 1997 to bring international attention to the issue of land mines. Dominic Lipinski/AP, Tim Graham/Getty Images

The Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty, which called for all nations to rid the world of land mines, was signed by 122 countries after Diana's visit. Almost 30 countries have since been declared free of mines, but the explosives still kill and maim many civilians every year, according to HALO Trust.

Huambo has become a vibrant part of Diana's legacy, as the desolate, crater-filled area she visited in 1997 is now filled with a bustling community.

"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.

Harry also promoted the Landmine Free 2025 campaign, which hopes to eradicate land mines in the next six years.

"Being here on this transformed and bustling street — the site where my mother once walked through a live minefield — shows the tremendous impact that clearing landmines has on communities and their futures,'' he said in his speech. "But let us not lose sight of the reality.

"Twenty-two years after my mother visited Angola, there are still more than 1,000 minefields in this beautiful country that remain to be cleared. I wonder if she was still alive whether that would still be the case. I’m pretty sure she would have seen it through."

Prince Harry last visited Angola in 2013, also in support of HALO Trust and the mission of bringing attention to the dangers that 60 million people worldwide face due to land mines.

His trip to Angola on Friday came amid a 10-day visit to southern Africa with his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and their 4-month-old son, Archie, who remained in South Africa as Harry retraced his mother's footsteps.

Meghan has also paid tribute to Diana during the trip, wearing a cream-colored headscarf that drew comparisons to the Princess of Wales during her journey to Pakistan in 1996.