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Prince Harry makes secret visit to hospital where Diana famously comforted AIDS patient

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Prince Harry has always felt the desire to follow in his mother's charitable footsteps and last week he paid a secret visit to a hospital in East London. Princess Diana would often visit hospitals and meet AIDS patients in private – completely unbeknown to the press – and last Friday Harry managed to do the same.

The royal, who turns 32 on Thursday, had barely touched down in the UK after a summer spent in Africa when he visited the Mildmay Mission Hospital.

It was the same hospital where Diana famously shook hands with an AIDS patient and kissed him on the cheek during an engagement in 1989.

prince harry hiv2© Photo: Getty Images

Prince Harry made a secret visit to a dedicated HIV hospital last week

Harry spent time meeting patients and talking to staff during the secret visit, which was a follow-up to the public one he made last year.

"He had a chance to speak to staff there for a bit longer," a spokesman for the prince told People. "He met with patients and spent some time learning a bit more about the work there.

"He is continuing to learn more about HIV as a virus, and he was able to talk to them about his work on testing, which he is very interested in."

prince harry hiv1© Photo: Getty Images

The royal took an HIV test over the summer to encourage others to do the same

In July, Harry sat down and took an HIV test to encourage others to do the same. The quick process was broadcast live on Facebook.

His most recent public visit to Mildmay was in December, when he marked the hospital and charity's 150th anniversary and helped open their new facilities.

princess diana2© Photo: Getty Images

Diana was the first member of the royal family to have contact with an AIDS patient

Harry remarked that he couldn't believe how his mother Diana managed to sneak in without the press knowing. Diana made a total of around 17 visits to Mildmay, 14 of which were in private.

Kerry Reeves-Kneip, director of fundraising, said: "She used to sneak in and out unknown. Nowadays, Twitter, no chance."

The late People's Princess was the first member of the royal family to touch and embrace an AIDS patient, at a time when it was widely believed that the syndrome could be contracted through casual contact.

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