All the Ways Prince Harry Is Following in Princess Diana's Footsteps
When Diana, Princess of Wales, passed away in August 1997, her youngest son Harry was just days away from his 13th birthday. Nearly a decade later, he is a full-grown man and senior member of the royal family. He's very much forging his own path in the world, but while he does it, he is also making sure that the memory of his mother lives on.
The image of Diana walking in Angola through a former minefield has become one of the most enduring images of her. It is clearly an issue which resonated with Harry, as he took a similar walk through a former minefield in Mozambique in 2010. He later became patron of the HALO charity's 25th anniversary appeal in 2013.
When Harry embarked on his first solo royal tour, there were several tributes to his late mother woven through his schedule. One of them came with a visit to the Bustamante Children's Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica. Diana was due to visit in 1997, but her untimely passing meant she never made it. Fifteen years later, Harry fulfilled his mother's wish by making the visit himself — spending more time there than was originally allocated — as he met with the patients and staff.
Diana was a city-lover, and although Harry enjoys the city and the country in equal measure, he is taking a leaf out of his mother's book by making Kensington Palace his full-time home. While William and Kate spend most of their time in the countryside at Anmer Hall, Harry remains full-time in London, just as his mother did.
Although the royal family all seem to have a natural way with children, with Diana the connection always seemed extra special. She crouched down to converse with them, she hugged and kissed them, and in turn they adored her — and Harry is continuing in much the same vein with his instant rapport and similarly tactile approach winning him legions of young fans.
A visit to the Bahamas was also a part of Harry's inaugural royal tour in 2012, and he made a special request to visit Windermere Island there — the place where Charles and Diana vacationed when the princess was pregnant with Prince William. It was later said to be one of her favorite spots in the world.
One of the most important causes for Diana was the fight against HIV/AIDS, and it is one that she would converse with her sons about when she had returned from an engagement. She was patron of The National AIDS Trust, and took her sons to meet with those who had contracted the virus. Years later, it has also become one of the most important causes for Harry. On his gap year, he worked in the tiny African kingdom of Lesotho — the country had one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the world — and 10 years ago he set up the charity Sentebale to raise funds and awareness.
In 1993, Diana took her boys on a family holiday to Florida, and Harry rode Splash Mountain eight times. Fast forward 23 years, and when Harry was back to promote his Invictus Games, he made sure to take another spin on the famous log flume.
Diana's favorite photographer was Mario Testino, and it was he who created her famous Vanity Fair shoot in 1997. Five years later, when pictures were needed to commemorate Harry's 18th birthday, he too turned to the famous snapper — as well as for his 21st birthday portraits.
Diana had a lifelong passion for dance, and not only was she patron of the English National Ballet, but she even took to the stage with ballet dancer Wayne Sleep. Harry has never performed publicly, nor is he known to be a ballet fan, but his sheer infectious enthusiasm for dancing means that it has become not just a part of his nights out, but of all his royal tours so far.
Like his mother before him, Harry has strong ties to the US. Diana always enjoyed visiting America, taking her boys to Florida in their private time and choosing New York as the place where she auctioned off some of her most famous dresses for charity. Harry, too, has returned to America time and time again for work and pleasure. It's where he went for his second royal tour — visiting Washington DC, Colorado Springs, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. He also lived in San Diego for a few months when he was undertaking military training in 2011.
While William and Kate like to fly under the radar, Harry has a few celebrity friends in his phone book — as did his mom. Diana socialized with Gianni Versace, Elton John, and Freddie Mercury, while Harry is friendly with David Beckham, James Haskell, and Joss Stone.
Another cause Harry has taken over form his mother is Headway, the charity that works with those who have suffered brain injuries. Diana became patron in 1991, and Harry made a visit in 2013 when he opened their new headquarters in Nottingham.
Although it's the Duchess of Cambridge who gets the most attention in the royal family for what she wears, it's Harry who does his own thing when it comes to his personal style — just as his mother did. No one but Diana would have worn an emerald necklace as a headband, just as it would be impossible to imagine any member of the family other than Harry sporting blue suede shoes or ethnic beads and necklaces.
Diana was always known as something of a joker, often playing pranks with her roommates and quipping with the royal press pack, and while William has inherited many of his mother's physical attributes, it's Harry who shares her playful sense of humor.
When William and Harry were young boys, Diana would take them to McDonalds or high street stores like Marks and Spencer and WH Smith — and while there are never any high street sightings of William reported, there are many of Harry, who in recent years has been spotted in TK Maxx, M&S, and Waitrose.