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Wednesday, November 5, 1997 Published at 06:26 GMT

World: Africa

Prince Charles praises Diana

Prince Charles: "Diana's effort made a difference to the lives of many"

The Prince of Wales has praised the charity work of his former wife, Princess Diana, and her efforts to publicise the campaign to ban landmines.

He spoke in Cape Town at the end of his visit to South Africa, where he had been joined by his younger son, Prince Harry, for part of the trip.

[ image: Nelson Mandela expressed his nation's sympathy]
Nelson Mandela expressed his nation's sympathy

Addressing an audience including Princess Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, and the South African President, Nelson Mandela, he said: "Over the last few days I have been made very aware of the special importance to Africans of Diana's work to combat such things as Aids, poverty and the use of landmines.

"Her efforts, I know, in these areas have brought a real difference to the lives of very many people on this continent and, indeed, elsewhere."

He told the state banquet: "The bonds between our peoples, of which I have spoken, demonstrated themselves most clearly after the tragic and untimely death of Diana.

"I would like to take this opportunity to convey my sons' and my own gratitude to all those South Africans who took the time and trouble to express there condolences."

After the speech, Prince Charles shook hands and talked to Earl Spencer for the first time since Diana's funeral.

But the Prince decided not to make a public tribute to the Spencer family, which was scripted in an earlier version of his speech.

[ image: Earl Spencer listened intently]
Earl Spencer listened intently

Prince Charles had planned to say the public's support gave strength "to me, my sons and the whole Royal Family, as well as, I know, to Diana's family."

President Mandela told Prince Charles all of his nation shared the sadness of Diana's death, when her Mercedes crashed in a Parisian tunnel in August.

"All South Africans would want me to take this opportunity to convey in person our heartfelt condolences at the tragic event which afflicted your family recently," he said.

"With the rest of the world we mourned the loss of one who became a citizen of the world through her care for people everywhere.

"Brief as your visit is, you will sense our nation's shared sorrow with you and your family. May it give some small comfort in this time of grief."

Earl Spencer, who lives in Cape Town said afterwards: "I have an understanding relationship with the Prince of Wales.

"My family is united in doing everything we can to help in the raising of William and Harry."

Prince Harry was not present as he had flown back to Britain to start school after the half-term holiday.

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