Royal Tour 2019: Duke of Sussex can’t attend project tackling HIV in babies after event location switched

The Duke of Sussex was prevented from visiting a project tackling HIV in babies when Angola’s president switched the event to the presidential palace.

Angola’s First Lady Ana Dias Lourenco gave the Duke a briefing on the Born Free to Shine initiative she is spearheading when he visited the presidential palace in the capital Luanda.

He had been due to meet a group of expectant mothers enrolled in a programme to educate them on HIV and AIDS as well as a group of HIV teenagers. He was also due to visit a neo-natal ward linked to the Born Free to Shine project.

But the venue was switched to the presidential palace because, it is understood, the first lady was eager to host the Duke rather than accompany him on the fact-finding tour.

Speaking through an interpreter she told him: “In Angola we are committed to the eradication of HIV transmission, statistics in our country are very concerning.

“The programme is aimed at making children all free to shine.”

Despite the country’s low infection rate, other factors such as high fertility and a young population, combined with a lack of awareness are driving infection rates up, and rates of mother-to-baby transmission are the highest in sub-Saharan Africa.