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Prince Harry Drops Into HIV Hospital That His Mother Had Visited 17 Times

Update Date: Dec 16, 2015 12:00 PM EST
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Prince Harry visited Mildmay Mission Hospital on Monday, which has served as a shelter for HIV patients since the 1980s.

Kerry Reeves-Kneip, the fundraising director for the institution, recalled that his mother had visited the hospice 17 times before she died, as she wanted to fight the negative image of the illness.

She made a number of public as well as private visits, in order to "take tea and cakes with the staff, and gossip. She gave a lot of comfort and love to the people here," according to the Associated Press.

Even shops nearby initially refused to service them, but it was only after 1989, when Princess Diana kissed a child on the cheek, that the negative image got broken.

"She came at such an important time - around this area local barbers wouldn't cut staff's hair. She really did break down the stigma," she said.

The Mildmay Mission, which has been helping patients of diseases such as cholera, since the mid-1860s, closed in 1982, opened again in 1988 and became a hospice for AIDS-related patients, said the History of Mildmay.

In 1990, it opened new branches in AIDS-affected areas such as Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, then to Zimbabwe and Rwanda.

Prince Harry met a 26-year-old woman, who had been born HIV-positive, but had been just two years old when Princess Diana had come to the Great Ormond Street Hospital.

"Your mother's lap was so comfortable and I cuddled into her," the woman said to Prince Harry.

"I remember that too," the Prince replied, according to US Weekly.

One thing about his visit is clear, then. He takes back a number of precious memories.

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