Prince follows in Diana steps

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  • Published 8.09.02

London, Sept. 8: Prince Harry is to mark his forthcoming 18th birthday by embarking on a busy schedule of voluntary work aimed at reminding the public of his late mother’s commitment to charitable causes.

The prince, who comes of age next Sunday, will this week visit hospital patients and the homeless, as well as working on two other schemes involving young offenders and health improvements in the Third World.

Prince Harry took the decision last weekend to do something that would evoke fond memories of Diana, Princess of Wales after media coverage of the fifth anniversary of his mother’s death was dominated by tasteless “revelations” about her private life rather than her tireless work for charities.

The Prince of Wales has encouraged his younger son to highlight the Princess’ work and, according to aides, has provided “the mechanism” to enable Prince Harry to mark his 18th birthday in a positive way. “The Prince of Wales is absolutely thrilled at Prince Harry’s decision and could not have been more encouraging,” said one of Prince Charles’ most senior and trusted aides.

Senior officials at St James’ Palace, where the Prince has his private office, have been asked to help organise Prince Harry’s itinerary for the coming week. It will begin on Wednesday when he joins Prince Charles — as the Queen’s representative — at St Paul’s Cathedral for a service to mark the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks on America.

Afterwards Prince Harry will meet the relatives of Britons who died in New York and Washington a year ago: a move that will inevitably lead to him being seen as the “Prince of Hearts”.

Later in the week Prince Harry will visit Great Ormond Street Hospital for sick children in central London. In 1996, when the Princess of Wales gave up all but six of her charity roles, she remained the president of the hospital.