Prince Harry pens emotional letter to the landmine charity supported by mom Princess Diana

By Heather Cichowski

Prince Harry has followed in his late mother Princess Diana's footsteps in a number of ways, including his focus on removing landmines. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the Duke of Sussex has written a letter to The HALO Trust, thanking them for continuing to remove landmines and providing assistance during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The HALO Trust is the largest humanitarian landmine clearance nonprofit organization. Its goal is to create safe and secure communities in over 25 countries and territories, including in Asia and Africa. The late Princess of Wales worked with the group during her famous trip to Angola in 1997.

The HALO Trust revealed on Twitter the prince had written on May 26.

"This week Prince Harry wrote to praise HALO's staff for continuing to clear landmines as well as tackling Covid: 'A disease that knows no frontlines,'" the tweet explained.

The video showed Harry during a landmine clearing mission, as well as the work of others during the coronavirus pandemic.

Princess Diana took part in the HALO Trust's mine clearing work in Angola in 1997. Photo: © Anwar Hussein/WireImage

The HALO Trust shared details of Harry's letter on its website. The father of one thanked HALO's 8,500 staff for their dedication to creating safe spaces during this time. The nonprofit continues to have staff in Afghanistan, Somalia and Libya to clear landmines while pivoting operations to respond to the coronavirus.

“In these trying times, hope comes from the light of our common humanity. Nowhere is that light burning brighter than at The HALO Trust," Harry wrote.

"As countries closed their borders, lockdowns came into force and international travel became harder, many might have chosen to suspend operations. Instead, HALO kept open a presence in all 25 of its country operations.”

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The HALO Trust has expanded its work to provide PPE, hygiene kits and ambulances to the "fragile medical systems in the countries where it works." In addition to teaching landmine safety, it has added health education in light of COVID-19.

Harry toured some of The HALO Trust's work in Dirico, Angola in 2019. Photo: © Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

In the letter, Harry also wrote about Afghanistan, where he served two tours.

"The fact that you can operate across conflict affected countries like Afghanistan is also a precious resource in the face of a disease that recognizes no frontlines," he said.

He praised the commitment of those working tirelessly.

“It is at times like this that the work and efforts of people like you – prepared to do whatever it takes to help, serve and protect others – shines through.

"In sometimes hazardous and dangerous situations, your commitment to your communities and people who need your help is remarkable."

Harry stated, "I am hugely proud to be able to support such an extraordinary organisation."

James Cowan, The HALO Trust's CEO, thanked the Duke of Sussex for the letter and for highlighting how the nonprofit organization does more than landmine clearance.

Archie's dad has visited minefields with The HALO Trust on several occasions, including in Mozambique in 2010 and Angola in 2013 and 2019. The last trip was part of Harry and Duchess Meghan's royal tour of Africa last September.

The Duke of Sussex spent two days with the HALO Trust learning the first stages of landmine clearance in June 2010. Photo: © The HALO Trust/Getty Images

In a very poignant moment, Harry walked through a path HALO had cleared Huambo. It was powerful because his mother did the same thing in January 1997. What was then a minefield is now a bustling street with a tree dedicated to his mother. The city also has a hospital named after her, and Harry visited with people who had been receiving care there.

Diana's walk through the cleared area has been credited with helping an international treaty against landmines pass that December.

In another emotional moment, the 35-year-old met up with landmine survivor Sandra Tigica, who met Diana in 1997.

On the prince's last trip, he praised Angola’s pledge to be landmine-free by 2025.

“This historic commitment is a key step forward for the movement to rid the world of landmines and lead the foundation for a safe and just future for next generations,” he said in a speech. “Landmines are an unhealed scar of war. By clearing the landmines, we can help this community find peace, and with peace comes opportunity."

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