Sandra Tigica and Prince Harry met in 2007 – but then, she didn’t have a daughter named Diana.
Sandra became famous in 1997 when photos of Princess Diana visiting an orthopedic hospital and speaking to victims of landmines made headlines around the world. Diana seemed particularly charmed by Sandra, and was pictured holding her and touching her face.
Sandra was 16 when she met Diana in Luanda in 1997. Photo: © Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images
The photos taken outside the medical facility in the Angolan capital of Luanda, along with Diana’s famous walk through a partially-cleared minefield in Huambo, are widely credited with helping change the conversation around landmines and with eventually leading to their being banned in an international treaty later that year.
MORE: How Princess Diana’s 1997 trip to Angola helped change the world
Sandra was flown to Luanda from her home in Saurimo, in the country’s north, to attend a reception with Harry at the British High Commissioner’s residence. The two were pictured smiling at each other as they shook hands, and Harry was later seen kneeling down while Sandra sat so he could speak to her better.
Sandra and Harry looked very happy to see each other! Photo: © Dominic Lipinski - Pool/Getty Images
The mom of five told him she had named her fourth child Diana in honour of his mother. Earlier this month, she told the Daily Mail she was “eager” to let him know. He must have been incredibly touched to hear the news.
Harry was visibly emotional when he visited the site of Diana’s 1997 minefield walk on Sept. 27. Photos: © Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images and Dominic Lipinski - Pool/Getty Images
Earlier in the day, Harry walked through a minefield in Dirico, and visited the site of the minefield where Diana made her walk in Huambo all those years ago. It is now a roadway full of homes, schools and businesses that has been renamed Princess Diana Street in her memory. A tree stands as a reminder that it was once a minefield and also carries her name.
Harry was visibly emotional as he took in the sights before heading to Huambo’s orthopedic hospital, once visited by Diana during her famous 1997 trip. There, he met with staff and patients and renamed the facility Princess Diana Orthopaedic Hospital in her memory.
Harry met with patients and staff at the Princess Diana Orthopaedic Hospital in Huambo earlier in the day. Photo: © Dominic Lipinski - Pool/Getty Images
Sandra told the Daily Mail she planned to ask for Harry’s help in getting better treatment for those affected by landmines. The Princess Diana Orthopaedic Hospital’s mission is to become the best centre for landmine-related care in the country, so it is likely something he will want to hear.
“The prostheses they give you [in Angola] are too short and don’t fit properly,” she told the Daily Mail. “You can just about walk on them but they disengage (from the socket) and I had to keep stopping to pull it back into place. It is not suitable to wear in the street. I feel embarrassed, so I prefer to walk with a crutch.”
Harry has stated it is his mission to continue his mother’s work with de-mining and caring for those affected by landmines, so it is likely a request he will take to heart and something he will push to help change.
Sandra also beamed when she first met Harry in 2007. Photo: © Anwar Hussein/WireImage
Harry and Sandra last saw each other in 2007, when she brought her daughter Eufrafina to the 2007 Concert for Diana, a celebration to mark what would have been Diana’s 46 th birthday and simultaneously remember the 10 th anniversary of her death. Prince William met her two, and the brothers spent lots of time chatting with her and playing with Eufrafina, who sat in Harry’s lap and grinned with him at the cameras.
We’re thrilled Harry is furthering his mother’s work, and we can’t wait to see what other change he can help make in her memory!