Prince Harry has named rooms in a flagship centre for his Sentebale charity after two of the most important women in his life. The 31-year-old royal has honoured his late mother Diana and Olga Powell, the beloved nanny who cared for him and Prince William for 15 years. A striking dining hall with sweeping views over the imposing Thaba Bosiu plateau – sacred as the birthplace of Lesotho as a nation – is named the Diana, Princess of Wales Hall.
The new centre will help children affected by HIV/AIDS
Olga took charge of the young Princes throughout the period of their parents' turbulent marriage breakdown and remained close to them until her death aged 82, in September 2012.
Olga, who was a guest of honour at William’s wedding to Kate Middleton in April 2011, is remembered in a touching plaque outside a room at the new Mamohato Children's Centre in Lesotho. It reads: "The Welcome Centre: In loving memory of Olga Powell."
The dining room has been named the Diana, Princess of Wales Hall
Harry will today fly in to Lesotho to open the 96-bed centre, which will host camps for children struggling to overcome their HIV/Aids diagnosis.
He will inspect poignant finishing touches made to the centre, including the named rooms and a colourful "Giving Tree," inscribed with the names of supporters of the project. They include Sir Elton John and husband David Furnish and their sons Zachary and Elijah and close friends Harry Tom Inskip and Adam Bidwell.
A plaque honouring William and Harry's late nanny hangs in the centre
Harry decided to act after visiting the tiny landlocked nation during his gap year in 2004. After discussing the plight of the country's children with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho and the two royals joined forces to launch Sentebale – which means Forget-me-Not in the local Basotho language – in memory of their mothers.
Princes William and Harry with nanny Olga Powell
The charity was founded in 2006 and fundraising began for the Mamohato Centre, named after Prince Seeiso’s late mother Queen Mamohato, in 2013. Building work on Sentebale’s first purpose-built children’s camp started in April 2014 and was completed in August this year.
Harry has already visited the site three times, but this will be his first opportunity to see the finished product.
Speaking ahead of the official opening ceremony, Prince Seeiso told HELLO!: "If you were to look at our history in terms of what Sentebale is, it’s in honour of our late mums.
"Mamohato, who has in Lesotho played a very important role in terms of childcare and orphan care, and Princess Diana, who really broke ground in terms of breaking out of what had been done before she came on the scene."
Praising Harry's approach to helping the children of Lesotho, he added: "He came from a similar background from his mum – you need to be seen and to feel what other people are feeling so that you can make a difference in your own way."
Sentebale CEO Cathy Ferrier said the prince was keen to honour both his mother and former nanny.
The Thaba Bosiu plateau where the centre is located
She said: "Sentebale was started in memory of both their mothers.
"The centre is named after Seeiso's mother but we felt it was right to acknowledge Harry's mother as well so we decided that the dining hall was the appropriate place, it's the place where all the children will gather three times a day and do plays and drama as well so it felt like the right kind of place."
She said mourners at Olga’s funeral had donated money to Sentebale at her request.
Cathy said: "She knew Harry cares hugely about it and so she cared about it too.
"In one of the planning meetings I was having with Harry we said what shall we do about naming and we decided the welcome centre should be in memory of Olga.
"This building is so much Harry's building, he designed the front bit, this was his drawing that we sent to the architect."
Lesotho, the tiny, mountainous “Kingdom of the Sky,” has the second highest rate of HIV infection in the world.
The disease has wiped out a generation of young adults, meaning there are no longer enough to care for the children.
Some 21,000 young people aged between 10 and 19 have been diagnosed HIV positive, while a third of children have been left orphaned.
The stigma surrounding the illness has prevented many youngsters from seeking treatment or going to school.
But Sentebale now plans to reverse the situation by bringing them to camps to learn about the importance of taking their medication and getting an education and hopes to expand the camps into the North and South of Lesotho.