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Prince Harry visits hospital close to his mother’s heart

It was a place that was very close to Princess Diana’s heart, now her son, Prince Harry is carrying on her legacy after visiting the hospital his mother cared so much for.

The 31 year old Prince visited Mildmay Hospital on Monday where his mother previously visited 17 times to try and combat the stigma which surrounds HIV and AIDS.

Whilst at the hospital, Prince Harry met staff and patients who told him of fond memories they had of Princess Diana’s visits both publicly and privately.

The fifth-in-line to the throne held hands, comforting some of the sickest HIV positive patients at the East London Hospital.
In a similar fashion, Princess Diana kissed a HIV patient at the hospital in 1989, a defining moment of the century which changed attitudes to HIV and reduced the stigma attached to the condition.

However, the stigma hasn’t completely disappeared, and Prince Harry hopes to finish this task continuing his mother’s legacy.
Princess Diana often visited Mildmay hospital both publicly and privately, something Harry said he would like to do the same. But he joked that in the age of social media, it would be an impossible task to visit the hospital unnoticed.

His Royal Highness’ visit marks the official opening of the new £6m East London hospital.

Many anecdotes were recited to Harry about his mother’s visits. Kerry Reeves-Kneip, Mildmay’s fundraising director, told Harry that of the 17 visits made to the centre, only three of them were publicly; the rest were in private.

Ms Reeves-Kneip explained that staff at the hospital faced discrimination from local businesses because of the HIV stigma, and that helped to combat this.

She said: “Diana came at such an important time – around this area local barbers wouldn’t cut staff’s hair. She really did break down the stigma.”

Ms Reeves-Kneip also told Harry a story about one of Diana’s visits where there was an unlikely disruption. She said: “There was a telephone call from a school – one of you had clambered on to a school roof.”

Harry joked “it was probably me”, but was relieved when he was told his mother found the incident amusing.
Mildmay first opened in the mid-19th Century as mission hospital providing care during a cholera outbreak. However, it closed down in 1982.

In 1988 it reopened its doors as the first dedicated hospice for people dying of AIDS and HIV.

The new hospital admitted its first patients in September of this year.

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