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Prince Harry: From nightclubs to voluntary work

Shyam Bhatia in London | March 04, 2004 18:17 IST

Prince Charles' younger son is carrying out voluntary work in a disease-ridden African country as he struggles to redeem his image as a patron of nightclubs.

Nineteen-year-old Prince Harry has been spending time at an orphanage in the southern African kingdom of Lesotho where 40 per cent of the population is believed to be infected with AIDS.

After visiting the Mants'ase children's home, 62 miles from the Lesotho capital of Maseru, Harry said of the orphans he met, "They were all very, very happy and smiling all the time, but we want to do more to help them and we can."

Pictures of Harry holding the hand of a four-year-old orphan Musu Potsane were splashed across the front pages of some of the UK's leading newspapers and magazines.

The prince, who is taking a year off between leaving Eton and joining the Sandhurst military academy back in the UK, has been visiting AIDS patients in Lesotho invoking comparisons with his late mother, Princess Diana, who devoted her life to championing AIDS victims.

Last month a London newspaper columnist called Harry as a 'thoroughly horrible young man'. After describing him as a 'national disgrace', columnist Carol Sarler described how Harry 'rarely lifted a finger unless it's to feel up a cheap tart in a nightclub'.

The sheer ferocity of the attack on Harry prompted his father's press secretary to come to his defence. "This was pretty strong stuff and was completely wrong," royal press aide Patrick Harverson said in a statement.

"I just thought it was very unfair on Harry and revealed a complete lack of knowledge of him. It is important that the public know that we care about and will defend the reputation and character of Prince Harry," he said.

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