A royal photographer who worked with Princess Diana shared what it was like to watch Prince Harry honor her legacy

Princess Diana, Prince Harry minefields
Princess Diana, left, and Prince Harry retracing her footsteps. Tim Rooke/Shutterstock
  • Royal photographer Tim Rooke has reflected on the legacy Princess Diana left behind.
  • Rooke told Insider that Prince Harry has honored this legacy through humanitarian work.
  • Diana would have celebrated her 60th birthday on July 1.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The late Princess of Wales would have celebrated her 60th birthday on July 1.

Shutterstock’s royal photographer Tim Rooke had more access to Princess Diana than most. Rooke has spent the past 31 years photographing the royals in more than 100 countries – many of those being with the princess.

He spoke to Insider about the princess’ legacy, and what it has been like to watch Prince Harry honor it through the years.

“I found Princess Diana fascinating in the pre-internet and pre-reality TV age. When I started as a photographer, she was the most famous person in the world, but she used her fame and status for good,” Rooke said.

Rooke recalled watching the princess change people’s perspectives of HIV/AIDS by shaking hands with an AIDS patient without gloves.

Princess diana aids hiv
Diana, Princess of Wales shakes hands with a Aids victim as she opens a new Aids ward at the Middlesex Hospital on April 9, 1987 in London, England. Anwar Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

“This seems strange now, but in the mid-80s the hysteria and misinformation was rampant,” Rooke said. “I think she was very compassionate and I’m sure the work Prince Harry in particular does with HIV in Africa and around the world is partly inspired by his mother’s work in this field.”

He added: “Another fantastic example is the Bosnia tour in August 1997 which I was lucky enough to join her on, as it really shone a light on and brought global attention to the problem of land mines.”

“I took photos of her as she walked through a minefield in Angola. What was incredibly special about this trip is 22 years later I was able to revisit with Prince Harry as he retraced his mother’s footsteps, continuing her legacy and the work she had started,” he said.

Harry visited Malawi, Botswana, and Angola to highlight Diana’s anti-landmine work during his royal tour of Africa in 2019.

In addition to visiting the former minefield visited by Diana, which has now been transformed into a busy street with schools, shops, and houses, Harry walked through a partially cleared minefield in Angola.

Harry and Prince William teamed up to unveil a statue of Princess Diana at Kensington Palace on what would have been her 60th birthday on Thursday.

“Today, on what would have been our Mother’s 60th birthday, we remember her love, strength and character – qualities that made her a force for good around the world, changing countless lives for the better,” they said in a joint statement.

“Every day, we wish she were still with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and her legacy,” they added.