Prince Harry made a visit to Capitol Hill yesterday to tour an exhibit on landmines, a cause dear to the heart of his late mother Princess Diana, and inadvertently won the hearts of flocks of female admirers who followed him to the exhibit.
The CEO of the HALO Trust, the charity that organized the Capitol Hill exhibit, told Power Players that Prince Harry “is really carrying on that mantle” of his mother’s work by bringing public attention to the cause.
“He really understands that and the thing about clearing landmines, once their cleared, that’s it, they’re finished; it’s a finite problem that can be defeated,” the HALO Trust’s CEO Guy Willoughby told ABC’s Lama Hasan.
As the HALO Trust marks its 25th anniversary this year, Willoughby is hopeful that Prince Harry’s continued support can help eradicate landmines before his organization makes it to 50 years.
“In a lot of countries in five years time, if he keeps the momentum going the interest, then we can finish other countries in 10 years time…and then landmines are history no one else will tread on a landmine ever. So it could be a huge success story,” he said.
Willoughby named Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Georgia, and Kosovo as countries that are on track to be landmine free in just a matter of years, which will allow the organization to focus more specifically on countries still riddled with landmines, such as Cambodia, Angola, Afghanistan, Columbia, and Zimbabwe.
Willoughby reflected on the work of Princess Diana, when she first visited the HALO Trust in Angola 15 years ago, describing her contributions as “amazing.”
“She just wanted to raise the awareness at the time, because she was raising two small boys, and she was watching other mothers worried about their boys…kick a football around and step on a landmine,” Willoughby said.
Willoughby pointed out that Prince Harry’s interest in the cause is personal to him beyond his late mother’s involvement.
“He has also seen soldiers trudging on landmines, and he understands that people in far away, remote villages, trying to exist, cannot exist if their lives are belated by land mines,” he said of Prince Harry, who serves in the British Military as a helicopter pilot.
To learn more about the HALO Trust’s demining efforts, including what Willoughby says is the one good thing about landmines (HINT: the word begins with S and ends with X), check out this episode of Power Players.
ABC's Cindy Smith, Eric Wray, Alexandra Dukakis, Melissa Young, Tom Giusto and Nick Greiner contributed to this episode.