It became one of the most famous images of humanitarianism in the world, and today Prince Harry recreated his mother’s masked walk through an Angolan minefield.
The prince, who is midway through a blockbuster tour of Africa with his wife and baby son, Archie Harrison, also set off a controlled explosion to clear an old mine.
Angola, as with many former conflict zones, is still littered with land mines, which continue to inflict horrifying injures and death on innocent civilians. The country’s civil war ended in 2002.
Harry described land mines an “unhealed scar of war” and said, “By clearing the land mines, we can help this community find peace, and with peace comes opportunity. Additionally, we can protect the diverse and unique wildlife that relies on the beautiful Kuito river that I slept beside last night.
“That river and those wildlife are your natural assets and, if looked after, will bring you unlimited opportunities in the conservation-led economy.”
As unimaginable as it may seem now, Diana’s involvement with an anti-land-mine organization was deeply controversial at the time.
Her call for countries to ban land mines was seen by some politicians as inappropriately political, as the U.K. was at that stage still selling vast numbers of land mines to questionable regimes around the world.
A Conservative lawmaker, David Wilshire, complained: “I don’t think we ought to allow one young woman to alter the entire British constitution single-handed. If the royal family plays party politics, it automatically changes the entire nature of the royal family.”
Another critic was the Conservative Sir James Hill, who called for Diana to be “disciplined” and “reprimanded” for entering the “political arena” and said: “She could have been a Hollywood movie star for the way she attracts publicity.”
He made his comments on Aug. 26, 1997.
Five days later, Diana was dead.