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Prince Harry opens African charity building named after mother Diana

The prince said he felt an Credit: PA

Prince Harry has spoken of the "gaping hole" losing his mother left him with as he attended the opening of an African care centre building which he named after Diana.

Prince Harry attended the opening of two new buildings at the Sentebale care centre in Lesotho.

He named one of the buildings after his mother Diana and also named the welcome centre after OIga Powell, his nanny, who died in 2012.

During his opening speech he said he felt an "overwhelming connection" to the children who had been "robbed of their childhoods" by extreme poverty and the ravages of HIV and AIDS.

The prince said when he first made a visit to Lesotho 11 years ago he was "struck by the many children I met whose lives had been shattered by the loss of a parent and in some cases both".

Prince Harry at the opening Credit: PA

Although our situations couldn't have been more different, I felt an overwhelming connection to many of the children I met. They were far younger than me, and of course, their situation was a great deal more challenging than my own.

Nonetheless, we shared a similar feeling of loss, having a loved one, in my case a parent, snatched away so suddenly.

– Prince Harry
Prince Harry embraces Prince Seeiso of Lesotho Credit: PA

I, like them, knew there would always be a gaping hole that could never be filled. For so many of the children in Lesotho, that situation was compounded by the harsh environment and extreme poverty they faced.

At the age of just eight or nine taking on the responsibility of caring for brothers and sisters there was simply no time for being a child anymore.

– Prince Harry

The £2 million Mamohato Children's Centre is a purpose-built home for the organisation's work with disadvantaged children and other youngsters living with HIV.

Lesotho's Prince Seeiso co-founded Sentebale with Harry in 2006, and the new facility is named after his mother, Queen Mamohato.

The dining hall will be a lasting tribute to Princess Diana. Credit: PA

Prince Seeiso suggested Harry's commitment to the disadvantaged children of Lesotho was a legacy of the princess instilling in her sons the need to empathise with others less fortunate.

He said: "If we were born of privilege we should pay back to society in some way or another and this is why we started this project."

The new centre was officially opened by Seeiso's brother King Letsie III, Lesotho's monarch, who donated land for the project in the foothills of the Thaba Bosiu.

It will allow the charity to scale up its Mamohato programme, which addresses the emotional and psychological needs of children living with HIV.

It will also be used to support Sentebale's work with other vulnerable children, providing accommodation for up to 96 children and their carers, along with a medical block, workshop classrooms and a sports field.

The £2 million purpose-built home will help children living with HIV. Credit: PA