'Prince Harry should follow in Diana's footsteps': Princess's former aide says Africa tour can repair royal couple's reputation after summer of damaging headlines
- Patrick Jephson was private secretary of the Princess of Wales for seven years
- He spoke out about Harry and Meghan's tour which is due to start tomorrow
- It is being seen as a chance for the pair to redeem themselves after controversy
One of Princess Diana's royal aides has said that Harry and Meghan's tour of Africa could repair their reputation after they suffered a summer of damaging headlines.
Patrick Jephson was the private secretary and closest aid of the Princess of Wales for more than seven years.
He has recently spoke out about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's ten-day tour of Africa, which is due to start tomorrow, and will be their first royal engagement as a family.
A royal aide of Princess Diana (pictured walking near a minefield in Angola) has said that Harry and Meghan's tour of Africa that follows in her footsteps could repair their reputation
Speaking in The Telegraph Mr Jephson said this could be a chance for the couple to redeem themselves by following in Diana's footsteps.
The Princess of Wales was photographed in Angola in 1997 wearing blue body armour as she walked along the edge of a minefield.
She was criticised for her work on anti-mines work at the time by many critics who considered it to be political territory.
Diana's visit to Angola was not her first expression of humanitarian diplomacy as four years before she had taken a tour of Zimbabwe.
Diana was a keen believer that her role was to draw the world's attention to the causes rather than telling them how to go about their business. Here she visited amputees at the Neves Bendinha Orthopedic Workshop near Luanda, Angola, to create awareness about landmines
The trip became one of many that were considered a success of 'soft power' that she had shown elsewhere too including Nepal, Japan, Egypt, Argentina, America and France.
Mr Jephson said: 'In each case, the formula depended on a blend of conventional royal duty and a dash of spontaneous, innovative magic.'
As Harry and Meghan recreate Diana's iconic steps through Angola next week, Mr Jephson added that it was 'probably the greatest diplomatic test of his royal career to date... It's also a test of his ability to repair the damage of a summer of hostile headlines.'
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's ten-day tour of Africa, which is due to start tomorrow, and will be their first royal engagement as a family (pictured on a visit to Redwoods Tree Walk, Rotorua)
The Duke had previously described Africa as being his 'second home' and said he was looking forward to taking Archie there
The couple have said that they want as little fuss and formality as possible on the jam-packed tour which will see them travel across Angola and Malawi before making a stop in Botswana
Meghan Markle, 38, and Prince Harry, 35, have faced criticism this summer, that centered on their private jet controversy but also included their privacy demands over Archie's christening and Meghan's Wimbledon appearance.
But the Sussexes' approach in Africa is set to be very different to that of Diana.
The Princess of Wales was a keen believer that her role was to draw the world's attention to the causes rather than telling them how to go about their business.
The Sussex style however seems to be a much more hands on approach.
The Duke previously described Africa as being his 'second home'.
Patrick Jephson was the private secretary and closest aid of the Princess of Wales for more than seven years
The couple first announced their visit in a post on the couple's official Instagram account @sussexroyal and said the official tour would focus 'on community, grassroots leadership, women's and girls' rights, mental health, HIV/AIDS and the environment...
'The Duke is especially proud to continue the legacy left by his mother with her work in Angola as he joins Halo Trust again in an effort to rid the world of landmines.
'With such a textured culture and history, Their Royal Highnesses are grateful for the opportunity to connect with those on the ground in Southern Africa and to be inspired by the work being done and learn how they can be better supported.'
It is thought that their four-month-old baby Archie will play a key role in turning the tide on public opinion.
The couple will be travelling with their all-female team of staff to try and ensure the royal tour of Africa runs smoothly.
They have reportedly paid for private transport so that their new private secretary Fiona Mcilwham learn the ins and outs from the departing Samantha Cohen, who is set to leave the household after 15 years of working for the royal family.
Harry, who will be the same age as his mother was when she visited, and Meghan have said that they want as little fuss and formality as possible on the jam-packed tour which will see them travel across Angola and Malawi before making a stop in Botswana.