PRINCE Harry today opened up about how Botswana became a “place to get away from it all” after his mother’s death.
The Duke of Sussex said his trips to Africa had given him a “sense of purpose” after Princess Diana’s tragic death in 1997.
Speaking at the Chobe Forest Tree reserve today, the 35-year-old said: “Fifteen years I’ve been coming here, it’s a sense of escapism, a real sense of purpose.
“I have some of my closest friends here and I came here in 1997 or 1998 straight after my mum died, so it was a nice place to get away from it all.
“But now I feel deeply connected to this place and to Africa.”
Princess Diana tragically died in a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel in Paris 22 years ago.
And Harry first visited Botswana that year, 1997, taken by his dad Prince Charles.
Prince Harry’s Africa tour is the first official trip he has taken with wife Meghan Markle and their four-month-old baby boy Archie.
Meghan, 38, was not with Harry today, choosing to stay in South Africa with baby Archie.
But despite not having his wife by his side, Prince Harry seemed in good spirits to help plant a giant baobab tree, a species that is severely under threat across Africa.
When he spotted the huge mound of earth that needed to go into the hole, he then joked: “How long do we have?”
Fifteen years I’ve been coming here, it’s a sense of escapism, a real sense of purpose
Prince Harry also urged people to take action to help support the environment, saying climate change cannot be denied.
Harry later joined young schoolchildren planting mahogany trees, crouching down with one young child to help him pack the sandy soil around the tiny sapling and at the end he high-fived the youngster to celebrate.
Schoolchildren at the event today had grown the seeds at school.
When the duke first arrived he was hugged by his friend Dr Mike Chase, conservationist and founder of Elephant Without Borders, which is working with a local organisation to develop the site into a nature and cultural reserve.
The land was privately owned but has been pledged to the local community and Dr Chase’s organisation will manage it with the aim of creating a thriving riverbank forest.
A FAMILY TOUR
It comes after Meghan, 38, and Harry, 35, showed off their four-month-old son yesterday as they met the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with the seven-in-line to the throne stealing the show.
The archbishop’s daughter Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe even joked the little boy would be a “ladies’ man” when he grew up.
The Duchess of Sussex will today spend time in a private Women in Public Service breakfast at the High Commission in Cape Town.
She yesterday visited mothers2mothers in South Africa to throw her support behind the charity, as well as meeting with female entrepreneurs.
And discussing motherhood, she added: “We’re only five months in right now.
“Being a working mum and travelling as well with a baby, my goodness it’s a lot, but it’s all so exciting.
“There are days when it’s a lot to juggle but then you meet someone, have an impact on them and it’s so rewarding.”
Meghan has previously said she is a feminist and wanted to support women in her role as a royal.
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It comes after Meghan and Harry opened up about parenting during their royal engagements yesterday, with the duchess saying she was “learning” about parenthood.
The tour has also seen the couple show off their dance moves several times.
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