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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 September, 2004, 15:16 GMT 16:16 UK
Harry to carry on Diana's legacy: Your views
Prince Harry in Lesotho
Prince Harry has vowed to make his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, proud and to carry on her legacy, especially with Aids victims.

As part of his gap year, Prince Harry spent eight weeks in the impoverished south African country of Lesotho working at a children's orphanage.

Harry was interviewed on camera for a documentary about Aids orphans in Lesotho, where 40% of the population is thought to be HIV positive.

Prince Harry turned 20 on Wednesday, but birthday celebrations were said to be low-key as he is preparing for his Sandhurst entrance assessments in a bid to secure a place on the Army's officer training course.

What do you think about Prince Harry's charity work? Should he endeavour to carry on his mother's work? Do you think he has left his 'playboy prince' image behind? Send us your comments.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Harry is just carrying on the excellent family tradition of doing charitable work
Dominic, Spokane, USA
Why does the world seem to think that the only member of the Royal family to have ever done any charity work was the late Princess of Wales? Just because the others don't shout about it from the rooftops doesn't mean they don't do as much as Diana did. Harry is just carrying on the excellent family tradition of doing charitable work. I, for one, want to mention Princess Anne's 34 years as president of Save The Children....
Dominic, Spokane, USA

So, he did charity work overseas during his gap year. So do plenty of other young people, but they are secure enough not to have to do it in front of TV cameras.
Graham, Southampton

Glad to see he is making solid choices for himself that will put him in a position to make valuable contributions to our society. Well done, Prince Harry!
Jane, Coventry, UK

Harry is so young, there is so much to be gained by his efforts. The Aids epidemic needs a champion and he may be one of the only people on earth who can build on Diana's achievements. Aim high Harry!!!

Privileged royals have choices, we don't
Yvonne, Seattle USA
Privileged royals have choices we don't. At least he is doing something decent but why in a foreign country? - Why not at home where any efforts to help sick kids would benefit his own country. Odd.
Yvonne, Seattle USA

Its easy to spend time doing for others when you and your family are already set for life.

I am no fan of royalty and as a socialist not a big fan of the wealthy either. However, if Harry is, like his mother, sincere in helping the less fortunate, then he will truly be an individual to emulate. If all persons of wealth and privilege were to follow a similar path, there would not only be less class tension, but the world would be a happier place.
Shawn Hampton, Eugene, OR, USA

I concur with the positive comments rather than the petty, jealous anti-Royal faction in this debate. I think that the point made by others that as a 20 year old, he possesses the maturity to embark on such a mission irrespective of rightly held status speaks volumes not only for his mother, but his father too! Go for it Harry and for all the worthless pacifists out there, I hope he has a great Army career as well!
Chris Green, Hagley Worcs, England

Let's affirm his responsible attitude, let's encourage him to do the right thing, instead of slamming him down - or else his life will become a self-fulfilling prophecy...
Nick, London, UK

I do feel that it must be extremely difficult to grow up in the spotlight
Chris, Gillingham
I do feel that it must be extremely difficult to grow up in the spotlight - and while some may resent that Harry need never work for a living I don't believe we can always judge richness in terms of 'money' and 'things'. I feel that Harry has a high spirited nature and it is good that he is thinking/talking about 'charity work' with a kind of passion rather than just turning up to events etc and looking bored stiff. I know it must be very difficult for him, in his young life, to have seen some very private details about his mother, whether true or false, bandied about the press for all to see. But hey, no one in this world is perfect, and if Diana ever made a mistake so what? She did so much good with her life/position and it is a good thing that Harry feels inspired and proud of his mother's work.
Chris, Gillingham

All of us, no matter our age, if we didn't have to work would find something positive to do; so what makes him special?
Jack, Essex

All of England should be proud of Prince Harry's comments and documentary. It shows that he finally is maturing and the love for his mother. He is absolutely right in talking about the bad press Diana has received. It must hurt both brothers to read same. Hopefully we hear more positive and good news about Diana.
Dieter Reimers, Toronto, On. (Canada)

I think that what he is doing is wonderful so I wish him all the best!
Mr N Arthur, Luton Beds
I think that what he is doing is wonderful so I wish him all the best!
veronica, Roma, Italy

Definitely two sons a mother would be proud of and two lads who just want to be treated as normal .Fat chance the press will ever let them.
Mr N Arthur, Luton Beds

What Harry is doing is really heart touching and kind. It really made me think. When I am older and if I get a chance I would like to do something like that for a year.
Raj, Walsall, England

What's the big deal of a prince doing charity? I know of lots of people who grew up in difficult environments who contributed back to society through social work. Why not make a special feature and announcement about these people? Just because these people are not of royal blood? Get real, this is 2004!
Chan Chow Wah, Singapore

If Prince Harry carries on his mother's work it will be wonderful
Raymond Rudaizky, London U.K
Princess Diana put a stamp of caring, loving and kindness into the Royal Family. If Prince Harry carries on his mother's work it will be wonderful but it will be a hard act to follow. I hope he succeeds and he deserves all the support possible.
Raymond Rudaizky, London U.K.

I have always admired Princess Diana. I am really glad that Harry is emulating his mother. He should keep up the good work but he should be prepared for criticism. I hope he will continue to do the good work. Good luck Harry! Wishing you the best!
Rhodah, Harare, Zimbabwe

It is hard to believe that Prince Harry is already older than Princess Diana was when she first entered upon the public scene. She was so tender and sincere in her empathy for and embrace of the world's poor and helpless that she was beloved by everyone and forgiven her human faults where others may not be. I hope that her greatest virtue, which was her use of her celebrity to give voice to the sufferings of the unknowns will be a legacy carried on by Prince Harry. His effort is to be commended. Bravo!
Madeleine, New York, NY USA

Follow your heart. Do what makes you happy. Maybe your mother is speaking to you from above. Do not pay attention to what the media says, they have to sell papers. Godspeed, young man. You go Boy!
Kathy Lonsfoote, Winter Haven, United States

Given his position it seems unlikely that Prince Harry will ever have to work for money to make ends meet. If I ever achieve a situation where I, or my family, never have to work again I would like to think that we would devote time and energy to caring for those far less fortunate than ourselves.
Jonny, England

Harry - don't believe what the press say. I am a US citizen and we love you here in the USA, and will always adore your mother. I am the same age as your mother, born the same year. Plus, I am a mother and I'm sure she is so proud of you carrying on her work with AIDS victims.
Deb, Buffalo USA

My younger daughter spent her gap year working for a charity teaching in Nepal and many others now and since have done the same. Just because Harry is a prince, why should that make him special? He doesn't have to worry about where to live and how he is going to pay the bills like these other young people who gave up their time to help others. My daughter still helps refugees when she has time from her studies at university. I say just get on with it Harry, you don't have to advertise it.
Anonymous, Scotland

Prince Harry is showing us that he really is about as normal as someone in his position can be. He can go from the very serious young adult helping those less fortunate then himself, to the life of the party like many other 20 year olds. Cheers to you Harry! I think you're doing great!
Chet Cutick, Staten Island, NY USA

Good luck to Harry
D. Blake, London
What more could a mother ask? Diana had such a wonderful relationship with her sons albeit over a relatively short time. Her compassion and love has clearly been passed on to her sons. Good luck to Harry.
D. Blake, London

To see a young member of the royalty taking such a positive stand towards the poor is a great example for young people everywhere.
Eduardo Villanueva, Santiago, Dominican Republic

If Harry really wants to carry on his mother's good work he'd do best to forget joining the military who condone use of land mines, cluster bombs and illegal war. Diana would be horrified at British military involvement over the last few years, and certainly wouldn't relish her youngest son's involvement in such atrocities.
Ray, Wolverhampton UK

Can any of us name a family member around the same age who would be willing to do the same? Very mature and noble. Keep up the good work Harry.
John MacIsaac, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Many celebrities take on charity work and both reap the benefits of the publicity generated
Jenni, Cambridge
Many celebrities take on charity work and both reap the benefits of the publicity generated. But how much time, after the initial 'advert', do they devote to the actual work on the ground? It's one thing to continue to publicise a cause but quite different to work for it. Many of us do what we can but still have families to support which takes time and finances - Harry is in a position where he could truly devote himself to his chosen cause, rather than be considering a military career.
Jenni, Cambridge

He will make a good figurehead for the charities and help highlight the problems where he goes. Good luck to him.
Carole, UK

Given the unrivalled opportunities someone in his position has for promoting change, eight weeks in an orphanage doesn't amount to a hill of beans. Vive la republique.
James, London

I don't think we should impose our expectations on him just because he is "our" prince
Prabhat, Harpenden, UK
I am glad that Harry used his time off during gap year to work with charities in Africa, which was one of the strong points of his mother. What career he chooses and how wishes to live his life now on is his prerogative and I don't think we should impose our expectations on him just because he is "our" prince. Although he will not be able to scale his mum's legacy, he should mark his own legacy because that is what his mum would have wished. If he wants a career in Army, so be it. Good luck !
Prabhat, Harpenden, UK

This young boy should resume the work of his mother. If he endeavours to do a lot of constructive work, many children in Africa will saved from starvation.
Mokamed Noor Salat, Kample, Uganda

Given that they have such a privileged existence, I'm never hugely impressed by Royals wishing to do their bit for charity, but I suppose it stands out as something positive especially when compared to the antics of some of his idle rich mates recently - Otis Ferry and friends take note!
Peter, Telford, UK

Since Diana died, there has been a huge vacuum for raising awareness of HIV and AIDS
Fraser Irving, Sheffield, UK
I have to say I've never been a royalist but I do have a lot of respect for this young man and the example he is setting. Since Diana died, there has been a huge vacuum that no-one has been able to fill in raising awareness of HIV and AIDS. It would be fair to say that even the most famous celebrities of our time have felt incapable of following in her footsteps. I'm truly humbled.
Fraser Irving, Sheffield, UK

I am no fan of the Royal Family but I think Harry is brilliant. I would be proud to have him as my son and we should all give him the support he deserves.
Chrissie Nyssen, Aberdeen, Scotland

If you think about it, Prince Harry doesn't really have to do these things. He has all the money he needs and more, so I give him credit for taking the initiative, at his young age, to do something good out of his royal status. If you compare him to young celebrities like Paris Hilton, Prince Harry shows a lot of maturity. Good on him!
Janet Paulin, Philippines/Australia

Anybody pledging any time and effort to this cause cannot be a bad thing as all help should be gratefully received. The question is to whether Harry will be able to balance his playboy image with that of an international ambassador. There are those that are saying he is just being a normal 20 year old but normal 20 year olds have to work for a living. If he is serious about wanting to do this he has to look at his image and decide if he is willing to commit because branding a cause with the face of a spoilt party animal could ultimately cost the cause.
Josh, Bristol

He hasn't had an easy life and what he is doing is fantastic
Alice, Hampshire
I believe that Diana would have wanted Harry to be "normal", including some mistakes which normal children make. He hasn't had an easy life and what he is doing is fantastic. I wish him all the very best.
Alice, Hampshire

A young man like Prince Harry should in my view have a good time, travel a lot, go to lots of parties, exert himself in sport, and work hard at building a career in the Army or elsewhere. It is easier to settle down and be serious when much older. Too many people reach middle age regretting what they haven't done in their youth. The motive to emulate his mother is laudable, but I do not think a young man in the full flower of youth, should be tied down doing charity work.
Peter Titchener, Ulcombe, Maidstone, Kent

Was Harry a "playboy" or was it the media who portrayed him as one by only reporting the negative side of his behaviour?
Caron, England

I think it's amazing that Princes William and Harry are so well adjusted with all the negative publicity about their mother and the Royal family. I can't imagine how terrible it must be for them to read all the garbage that is written. I admire them tremendously and wish they well in the years ahead.
Mary Phillips, Port Perry, Ontario, Canada

Frankly, who really cares? The royals live an extremely privileged existence in this country. I've nothing against them personally, just the institution they perpetuate...or is that our fault for keeping the whole thing going?
Neil, Aberdeen, Scotland

He will find he cannot win with the media whatever he does
Helen , Hereford, England
What is this 'playboy' image? Harry is only behaving like every other lad of his age. Would it be better if Harry was po-faced, reserved and unapproachable. Clearly Harry is no academic, although I thought his paintings showed talent. If he wants to carry on his mother's good work, good for him. Probably though, he will find he cannot win with the media whatever he does.
Helen , Hereford, England

We can't yet know what sort of man Prince Harry will be as he is only 20. It is encouraging to see him doing such charity work, but it isn't all that different from the gap work many others undertake. Were he to permanently cast aside luxury and use his wealth and privilege to improve the lives of those in need, that would be inspiring.
Elaine, Newcastle, UK

Prince Harry is his mother's son. I think he will ably continue his mother's good works. Diana would be proud of him. I wish him all good luck.
Jeanne W, Doylestown, USA

I sincerely believe that Prince Harry can carry out such good works, looking at the circumstances of his childhood and the experience of his mother's pet project. He is at his teens but with a large heart.
Ibrahim Abawa Keana, Jos, Nigeria

It's good to see he's taking his charity work seriously
Lee, Castleford, UK
Keep up the good work Harry. It's good to see he's taking his charity work seriously. I wish him all the best for his career in the army
Lee, Castleford, UK

I was never a fan of Diana in the slightest, but have no problem at all with Prince Harry carrying on the support and publicity of the organisations she supported. I believe it was the way that Diana did things that annoyed people, not what she did, so I hope he can find his own methods and that they succeed. Good luck to him!
Ian P, West Midlands, UK

Harry is a typical 20 year old. He will still party hard, but as long as he still works hard then that is what really counts. To expect him to act like a 50 year-old would be to place too heavy a burden on him at this age. Let him live a little first
Richard Corless, Bridgend, Mid Glam

Even if he helps save one child's life it's worth it
Jennifer, London, UK
As a South African and one who is terribly worried re the Aids epidemic, I salute young Harry! The rural areas of Africa take the knock specifically as there is poor hospitalisation and treatment facilities. Even if he helps save one child's life it's worth it... but he could actually help in a much larger way. We support you Harry!
Jennifer, London, UK

If it's what he wants to do then good luck to him. I just hope he hasn't felt forced to make these promises.
Andy, Brighton, UK

I think this young man is trying to do a good thing, and should not have the mistakes he made early on be brought up in every news article. I think he is a wonderful boy and someone who counts in Diana's life that is finally speaking out about the trash that has been said and written about her in the past seven years. I say "bravo Harry!"
Kathy G., Maine, USA

In pictures: Harry in Africa
03 Mar 04  |  Photo Gallery


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