Prince Harry says it was “love at first sight” when he initially visited the South African country of Lesotho.
The 23-year-old royal – who spent his gap year in the developing country in 2004 – has returned to Lesotho to help rebuild a school which teaches children with physical and mental disabilities.
He said: “I’m out here because I want to be – it’s where I have to be. I first came out during my gap year and it was love at first sight. It is a wonderful country in spite of its issues.”
Harry – who will be joined by 26 soldiers from the Household Cavalry Regiment as he spends the next three weeks fitting the Thuso Centre with wheelchair ramps, a new roof and a security fence – is enjoying the physical work.
He said: “I love physical labour, it’s what I do best. I didn’t do well at school.”
During a break from work, Harry entertained local children by playing a soccer match with them.
Harry’s project is being supported by Sentebale – a charity he set up with Prince Seeiso, the youngest brother of Lesotho’s King Letsie III – which specifically helps AIDS orphans.
One third of the country’s 1.8million population is infected with HIV or AIDS, and 40 per cent of children are orphans.