UK princes on Africa visit

2010-06-14 15:30
London - Britain's Princes William and Harry began a six-day joint tour of southern Africa on Monday, which will see the brothers combine the World Cup with charity and conservation visits.

William, 27, and Harry, 25, second and third in line to the throne, are to visit South Africa, Botswana and Lesotho in their first joint overseas tour.

The pair have a long-held interest in Africa, having spent much of their gap years between school and university on holiday and working in the continent.

Will attend England game

The princes will attend England's second World Cup match, against Algeria, in Cape Town on Friday, as part of the South Africa leg of the tour.

William is president of the Football Association, the sport's governing body in England, and the princes will also meet members of FIFA's executive committee as part of the bid to bring the 2018 World Cup to England.

William has already held a video-link chat with England manager Fabio Capello and senior players and the trip could see the princes visit the squad in person.

Before the visit to South Africa, though, the pair are heading to Botswana then Lesotho in support of their charitable interests there.

Prince William is the patron of Tusk Trust, a pan-African wildlife conservation organisation founded 20 years ago.

"The visit provides an exciting opportunity to illustrate the success of initiatives helped by the charity and highlight how education, sustainable development and sport can all play a role in ensuring the long term preservation of Africa's wildlife," said the trust's chief executive Charlie Mayhew.

Aids charity

The pair will also visit Harry's Sentebale charity, which helps orphans and vulnerable children hit by poverty and the Aids epidemic.

He founded the organisation in 2006 with Lesotho's Prince Seeiso after spending part of his gap year working as a volunteer on local welfare projects.

"It's going to be a great opportunity for Prince Harry to see the progress and also to show Prince William our work helping some of Lesotho's neediest children," said Sentebale chief executive Kedge Martin.

The princes are both officers training to be military helicopter pilots, William as a Royal Air Force search and rescue pilot, and Harry flying the Apache attack chopper with the Army Air Corps.

Harry has arrived ahead of William, who flies to Botswana on Tuesday, and will celebrate his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II's birthday at a reception at the British High Commission in the capital Gaborone.

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