'Emotional' Prince Harry retraces Princess Diana's minefield walk

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor

Prince Harry has traced the late Princess of Wales’ famous walk through a then-partially-cleared Angolan minefield site 22 years ago

Diana walked through the site, now a street named after her in Huambo, Angola, which was formerly a minefield in January 1997.

The former site is now a thriving suburban community - partially thanks to Diana’s efforts in raising awareness of the dangers of landmines.

Now her son Harry has visited the exact same spot his mother did to sit on a bench under a tree planted in her honour.

September 27, 2019: Prince Harry visits The Diana Tree in Huambo, Angola, which marks the spot where the Princess of Diana was photographed in 1997 [Photo: Dominic Lipinski/Getty]

He’s called it an “emotional” experience.

"It's been quite 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,” he said during a speech after visiting ‘The Diana Tree’.

The Duke of Sussex walks on Princess Diana Street in Huambo, Angola, on day five of the royal tour of Africa. [Photo: PA]
Princess Diana uses a remote switch to trigger the detonation of some explosive ordinance dug up by mine sweepers in Huambo, Angola. [Photo: AP]
Princess Diana toured the then-minefield dressed in a flak jacket and face shield in Huambo, central Angola in 1997. Photo: AP

Change-making walk

When Diana walked through the area in 1997, it was still filled with buried mines.

The images, circulated around the world, helped to further the cause of anti-weapons campaigners.

The Duke praised the efforts of the charities and organisations who carry out the “dangerous, expensive and laborious” act of demining, adding: “I have the utmost admiration and respect for all who do this hazardous work and risk their lives in service of their community."

From left, Princess Diana pictured with Prince Harry, Prince William and Prince Charles at the VJ Day 50th anniversary celebrations in London in 1995. [Photo: Getty]

A crowd gathers on Princess Diana Street in Huambo, Angola, ahead of the arrival of the Duke of Sussex on day five of the royal tour of Africa. [Photo: PA]

Ongoing threat

He also spoke of the continued global threat posed by mines.

"A staggering 60 million people around the world still live in fear and risk of landmines. We cannot turn our backs on them and leave a job half done,” he said, channelling his mothers passion.

"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."

To this day, some 60 countries and territories around the world are contaminated with buried mines.

Between 1999-2017, more than 120,000 people were killed or injured by landmines, according to research by Landmine Monitor.

Prince Harry’s walk in Huambo follows his own minefield visit earlier today, where he walked through a partially cleared minefield in Dirico.

Like his mother 22 years before him, the royal wore body armour and a protective visor as he walked through the site.

The Duke joined British charity The HALO Trust for the morning - the same charity that Diana accompanied during her iconic minefield visit over two decades ago.

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