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Mathilde lends a sympathetic ear in Tanzania

February 16, 2006
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Chatting warmly with Tanzanian women and children, Belgium's Crown Princess Mathilde shows the unaffected charm and empathy that have made her a favourite both in her country and further afield. On her three-day humanitarian trip to the African nation, which ended on Thursday, the caring royal lent a sympathetic ear wherever she went.

With three kids of her own - the youngest of whom, Emmanuel, is just four months old - the royal was perfectly at ease as she visited a home for orphans during the UNICEF mission.

Posing happily in one of the elegant yet practical safari-style outfits that have made up her African wardrobe, the 33-year-old princess had a glowing smile as she was photographed alongside her hosts at the refuge near the capital, Dar es Salaam.

In the past Mathilde, UNICEF 's Special Representative for HIV/AIDS-affected children, has spoken movingly about her desire to "give vulnerable children a voice".

And her trip has highlighted projects like the Kigamboni centre on the outskirts of the city, where she was treated to an open-air theatre spectacle educating locals about the disease. The performance followed a meeting with Tanzania's President Yakaya Mrisho Kikwete, in which she praised the country's drive to provide schooling for girls.

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Photo: ©
As a high-profile campaigner for UNICEF, the Belgian royal has said she wants to give a voice to vulnerable children. On her trip to Tanzania Mathilde met with orphans and their carers at a home near Dar es SalaamPhoto: © AFPy
Photo: ©
The princess also visited a health centre and theatre project helping families affected by HIV and AIDSPhoto: © Rex

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