8 Ways William and Harry Are Keeping Princess Diana's Legacy Alive
Prince William and Prince Harry were 15 and 12, respectively, when Princess Diana died in August 1997. Nearly 20 years later, William and Harry have done a lot growing up and soul-searching, and have made it their mission to keep their mother's legacy alive, beginning with their charity work. Both William and Harry have championed some of the same charities as their mother and attribute their philanthropic nature to her. "I never realized quite how much of an impact she had. I applaud her for all her dedication and drive, and I think the infectious enthusiasm and all the energy she had really rubbed off on me for causes," William said in a 2016 interview. Here are all the ways William and Harry have carried on Diana's legacy for helping others.
Diana was a patron of the Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage, an organization that rescues and cares for orphaned, abandoned, and sick wild animals, and in 2005, William became a royal patron of the Tusk Trust. The organization also helps protect wildlife and conservation efforts across Africa, and in a 2013 interview with CNN's Max Foster, William recalled how his love for Africa was born. "[My mother, Diana] would come back [from Africa] with all these stories and full of excitement and just passion for what she'd been doing," he said. "I applaud her for all her dedication and drive in doing that. And it was that, I think, that infectious enthusiasm and the energy that she had that really rubbed off on me."
International Campaign to Ban Landmines
After her January 1997 visit to Angola, Diana became the voice of those who were wounded and physically broken by landmines. She brought to light the damages of the devices and even put her own safety at risk when she walked through a recently cleared minefield during a trip with The HALO Trust. Following her trip, the International Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Treaty (also known as the Ottawa Convention) was signed. The treaty calls for people to do "their utmost to contribute in an efficient and coordinated manner to face the challenge of removing anti-personnel mines placed throughout the world, and to assure their destruction."
Prince Harry took a similar walk through a former minefield in Mozambique in 2010, and later became patron of the HALO charity's 25th anniversary appeal in 2013. He also recently called for the world to become free of the weapons by 2025.
Terrence Higgins Trust
Diana was a longtime supporter of the HIV charity, and William and Harry pledged their allegiance to the organization in 2012. In a letter to the Terrence Higgins Trust, the royals said it was now up to their generation to "pick up the sword and continue the fight." "There is still no cure or vaccine. However, we know it is possible to prevent HIV from spreading further in the future. Terrence Higgins Trust will be to the fore in this, and for that reason, and because our mother believed so passionately in the work of the Trust, we wholeheartedly congratulate you on thirty years of selfless service to others," they wrote.
National AIDS Trust
One of the most important causes for Diana was the fight against HIV/AIDS. Not only did she serve as patron of the trust, which promotes the awareness of AIDS and helps prevent the spread of HIV, but she took her sons to meet with those who had contracted the virus. As a result, it has also become one of the most important causes for Harry. During his gap year, Harry 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.
Diana became patron of the organization that helps homeless youth and teens by getting them off the streets in 1992. The charity provides temporary shelter, education help, job placement, referrals to professional services, and counseling. William and Harry made regular visits with Diana as children, and in September 2005, William took over her duties. William now carries on her legacy by volunteering his time to support the organization, working with young people to discuss their situation, reviewing their personal development plans, and sorting out their housing benefit claims to find them a more permanent accommodation.
In 2008, William recalled the days he used to visit Centrepoint with Diana, saying, "That example of selfless service that Centrepoint represents has stayed with me, and that is why it was the first charity that I wanted to be associated with." The following year, William spent a night sleeping out on the cold streets of London with the charity's CEO, Seyi Obakin. "I was very struck by the people I met and what they were struggling with — sleeping rough, sofa surfing, not having basic comforts a lot of us take for granted," he said. "That really struck me at a young age, bearing in mind the gulf for me, growing up in a palace, and seeing the other end of the spectrum where others were faced with huge personal challenges and were overcoming them. That was powerful to see at a young age."
Bustamante Children's Hospital
Diana was set to visit Bustamante Children's Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica in 1997, but her untimely death meant she never made it. Harry fulfilled his mother's wish 15 years later when he embarked on his first solo royal tour and paid a special visit to the hospital. Harry spent more time there than was originally allocated and met with the patients and staff.
The Royal Marsden Hospital
In May 2007, William became president of the hospital, a position Diana previously held. Royal Marsden is the first hospital in the world dedicated to cancer treatment and research, and Diana became president in 1989. She regularly visited sick patients and supported its cancer treatment and research work, and William felt proud to carry on his mother's work. "The Royal Marsden does an extraordinary job in treating thousands of cancer patients every year. The standards of care and compassion of its staff are unsurpassed in the world," he said in a statement.
In January 2008, the royal visited the Chelsea hospital just days after a fire swept through the building and damaged several operating rooms. In addition to spending time with the staff and patients, he later returned to open the endoscopy unit and the Oak Centre For Children and Young People with Kate Middleton. In 2013, William recorded a special video message for Royal Marsden, in which he praised the hospital for all of its hard work. "I am extremely proud to be president of The Royal Marsden, an incredible hospital and a world-class cancer center carrying out groundbreaking work influencing the treatment of cancer patients all over the UK," he said.
Another cause Harry took over for Diana 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.