This year marks the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana's death, and Prince Harry will be marking the occasion by recognising his mother's achievements and continuing her work...
Princess Diana campaigned to rid the world of landmines during her lifetime, raising awareness of the risks of leaving them undiscovered. She was a keen benefactor of the non-governmental organisation, the Hazardous Areas Life-Support Organisation (HALO), working closely with The Halo Trust.
She made headlines as she walked through an active minefield in Angola, even detonating a mine with the help of a landmine removal expert, announcing to the crowd watching, ‘One down, 17 million to go’.
‘We’re here only trying to highlight a problem that’s going on all around the world,’ she explained during her visit twenty years ago. ‘There couldn’t be a more appropriate place to begin this campaign than Angola, because this nation has the highest number of amputees per population than anywhere in the world.’
‘The world is too little aware of the waste of life, limb and land which anti-personnel land mines are causing among some of the poorest people on Earth,’ she explained after her visit. ‘Some people chose to interpret my visit as a political statement. But it was not. I am not a political figure. My interests are humanitarian. That is why I felt drawn to this human tragedy.’
Just a few months later, Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris.
This year, on the 20th anniversary of her death, Prince Harry, now 32, is continuing his mother’s work, taking on her campaign.
It was announced by Kensington Palace: ‘In the year marking the 20th anniversary of the Princess’s death, Prince Harry is pleased to have this moment to recognise the significant contribution his mother made in this field; the progress which has been made by the Mines Advisory Group, the Hazardous Areas Life-Support Organisation, the UK Government and other organisations; and the opportunity to continue raising awareness of making the world land mine-free by 2025’.
Speaking at the Landmine Free World 2025 reception at Kensington Palace yesterday, Prince Harry addressed the crowd.
‘My mother had been shocked and appalled by the impact that landmines were having on incredibly vulnerable people and on children in particular. She did not understand why more people were not willing to address the cause of so much suffering. She refused to accept that these destructive weapons should be left where they were, just because they were perceived as too expensive and difficult to remove.’
The Prince then introduced two men who had met Diana as boys 20 years ago after they had both lost limbs to land mines.
‘Those two young boys, Malic and Žarko, are now grown men and are with us today. 20 years on, they both still struggle with their physical and emotional injuries and with the high costs of replacing their prosthetics.’
He continued: ‘When my mother said goodbye to Žarko that August, just weeks before her untimely death, she told him he would not be forgotten. Please help me keep her word to Žarko and Malic, and other people like them throughout the world, who still need us to finish the job and rid the planet of landmines. Collectively we have the knowledge, skill, and resources to achieve it, so let’s make future generations proud.