Prince Harry in poignant visit to HIV charity which Princess Diana visited 26 years ago
Prince Harry has made a royal visit to the same HIV charity which his mother visited 26 years ago.
Princess Diana went to the Leicester Aids Support Service (LASS) in November 1991 to raise awareness at a time when the disease was severely stigmatised.
Her son, who is also a passionate activist in the field, was shown a signed photo of his mother, as well as a memorial she launched in honour of those who have died from AIDS.
The prince was tested for HIV live on Facebook last year, resulting in a five-fold surge in demand for self-testing kits to the Terrence Higgins Trust.
And he encouraged everyone to follow his lead during the visit to LASS, saying: “Even if you are nowhere near an at-risk group, you should get tested, to show everyone it’s okay,” according to the Telegraph.
“It cannot be acceptable that the first time young people know what HIV is is when they catch it,” he added.
The charity, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, raises awareness among African communities in the East Midlands and provides support for those affected by HIV or AIDS.
The prince unveiled a plaque at the site commemorating the anniversary and his visit.
He was also shown a game of Sperm and Ladders displayed in the reception, to which he responded, unperturbed: “I haven’t played snakes and ladders for a long time,” before asking how it worked.
Amdani Juma, a director for the African Institute for Social Development, said: “This visit is very important in raising awareness.
“He’s a royal and he can help bring these messages to the places we cannot reach.
“Princess Diana was here in 1991 and then Harry was here. It’s very special; it’s very important and emotional.”
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Betty Walker, an octogenarian volunteer at the centre, showed the prince a photo of her meeting his mother, telling him she recalled Princess Diana opening the door and calling “cooee” when she arrived.
Mrs Walker told Prince Harry attitudes had changed dramatically from that time, when people were scared to tell their family if they had the disease.
“Medicine has come a long way since then,” the Prince agreed.
Mrs Walker said afterwards that the prince “was very easy to speak to. We talked about how it used to be, how awful it was. It was something nobody liked to talk about.
“I think he’s great. Princess Diana wanted to know all about it when she visited too. It shows he’s got a good heart, like his mum.”
Prince Harry also served spicy rice, Cajun chicken and creamed spinach to volunteers at lunch time.