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Prince Harry to visit Angola de-mining project, in Diana's footsteps

Credit: REUTERS/POOL

Britain's Prince Harry wore a protective vest and visor at a de-mining project in Angola on Friday, and photographs of his visit echoed a famous series of images taken of his late mother Princess Diana more than 20 years ago.

Adds Harry quotes, details

JOHANNESBURG, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Britain's Prince Harry wore a protective vest and visor at a de-mining project in Angola on Friday, and photographs of his visit echoed a famous series of images taken of his late mother Princess Diana more than 20 years ago.

Queen Elizabeth's grandson and sixth in line to the throne visited a de-mining field outside Dirico, a town in Angola's Cuando Cubango province, where, wearing a safety vest, he remotely detonated a mine in a controlled explosion. He also met community members.

"This minefield here in Luengue-Luiana National Park is the first of 153 that will be cleared in the two national parks of South Eastern Angola," Harry said in a speech.

The Angolan government has pledged $60 million to the initiative, with British charity the HALO Trust carrying out the work.

"Later today I will visit Huambo to see the place where my mother walked through a minefield in 1997. Once heavily mined, the second city of Angola is now safe," Harry added.

The pictures of Diana wearing protective gear as she walked among red skull-and-crossbone signs in Huambo won publicity for the HALO Trust, which was clearing mines left during Angola's civil war.

They were taken a few months before her death in Paris in a car crash.

Harry's visit to Angola is part of a southern African trip by him, his wife Meghan and their four-month-old son Archie. Their first overseas tour as a family began in South Africa on Monday.

They drew crowds of well-wishers on their first three days in Cape Town, where they visited non-governmental organisations working with vulnerable communities and young people and met Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu.

While Meghan and Archie stayed in South Africa, Harry headed to Botswana on Thursday.

In June, he threw his weight behind mine clearance efforts in Angola, saying land mines were "a humanitarian issue and not a political one."

The landmines were planted during Angola's 27-year civil war, which ended in 2002. Many people remain displaced and thousands have been left with disabilities from landmines which continue to maim and kill.

Harry, 35, has been visiting southern Africa for two decades for holidays and conservation work.

He ends the solo section of his tour on Tuesday in Malawi, where he will meet President Peter Mutharika and pay tribute at the memorial site for British soldier Guardsman Mathew Talbot, who was killed in May while taking part in counter poaching operations in the country.

Harry will then rejoin Meghan and Archie in South Africa for a township visit on Wednesday near Johannesburg. They will meet Graca Machel, widow of South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, and President Cyril Ramaphosa before departing for London.

(Writing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Marie-Louise Gumuchian; editing by Mike Collett-White)

((Olivia.Kumwenda@thomsonreuters.com; +27 11 595 2817; Reuters Messaging: olivia.kumwenda.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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