Prince William sends message to the people of the Falkland Islands

Following in his mother’s footsteps: Prince William echoes Princess Diana’s words as he declares the Falkland Islands free of ‘cruel and senseless land mines’ in video message to mark the ‘historic moment’

  • Duke of Cambridge, 38, has sent a message to the people of Falkland Islands  
  • Beaches were declared mine-free four decades after end of of Falklands War
  • He slammed  ‘cruel and senseless weapons’ in words that echoed Princess Diana during her 1997 visit to the minefields in Angola 

Prince William has sent a personal message to the people of the Falkland Islands after their beaches were declared mine-free almost four decades after the end of the Falklands War – and three years ahead of schedule. 

In a heartwarming video, shared to FIG Representative to the UK and Europe Twitter account, the Duke of Cambridge, 38, echoed the words of his mother, Princess Diana, who urged the world to ban the weapons during her 1997 visit to Angola, as he slammed the ‘cruel and senseless weapons’ used in the 1982 conflict with Argentina. 

William said: ‘I’m very pleased to join you in marking this historic moment as the Falkland Islands are declared mine-free

‘Having visited the Falklands in 2012 while I was serving with the RAF Search and Rescue, I know how important the effort to clear the islands of mines has been.

‘Land mines are cruel and senseless weapons that ruin lives and livelihoods. For so many of you, particularly in Stanley, the exclusion tape barring access to nearby beaches has become a sad and perilous fact of life.

Prince William (pictured) has sent a personal message to the people of the Falkland Islands after their beaches were declared mine-free almost four decades after the end of the Falklands War – and three years ahead of schedule

In 1997, William’s mother Princess Diana was famously pictured at the minefield in Angola (pictured)

‘This is therefore a hugely significant moment for the people of the Falklands. I hope that by removing for good these scars of the 1982 conflict you are taking another step towards defining yourselves as the modern community-spirited place that you have built in the decade since.’

The Duke of Cambridge also went on to express a personal thanks to the deminers who helped to make the Falklands safe again.    

He continued: ‘I would like to say a huge thank you to all those who have helped to achieve this milestone, in particular we all owe a debt of gratitude to the Zimbabwean demining staff, who have worked tirelessly over the years in very difficult and dangerous conditions.’

The Duke’s message comes after the final mines left by Argentine forces on Gypsy Cove and Yorke Bay were detonated, ridding the Islands of a key reminder of the conflict.

During the video, Prince William expressed a personal thanks to the deminers who helped to make the Falklands safe again (pictured)

In September last year, Harry highlighted the ongoing threat of the munitions in Angola, the same nation Diana visited in 1997 to urge the world to ban the weapons

Locals flocked to explore the beaches at the weekend – considered some of the Islands’ most beautiful areas – that have been off limits since 1982 when Argentina planted the mines in anticipation of a British landing on Yorke Bay which did not materialise.

In 1997, William’s mother Princess Diana was famously pictured in Angola and said: ‘If an international ban on mines can be secured it means, looking far ahead, that the world may be a safer place for this generation’s grandchildren.

‘The mine is a stealthy killer. Long after conflict is ended, its innocent victims die or are wounded singly, in countries of which we hear little. Their lonely fate is never reported.’

The dusty scrubland was marked with red warning signs showing the skull and crossbones, with the Portuguese words ‘Perigo Minas!’ and the English translation below – danger mines.  

In September last year, Prince Harry retraced the footsteps of his late mother as he visited the same spot in Angola where his mother Princess Diana carried out an iconic walk through a minefield – and even paused for a solemn moment underneath a tree named after her. 

Some 22 years after his mother walked through the minefield and called for a global ban on mines, he retraced her steps – but walked through what is a very different area to what his mother experienced thanks to the work of landmine clearance charity the Halo Trust.

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