Princess Diana's body armour goes on display at Edinburgh Castle

The body armour worn by Princess Diana in Angola will be on display at Edinburgh Castle for the next year.
The body armour worn by Princess Diana in Angola will be on display at Edinburgh Castle for the next year.
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The body armour worn by Diana, Princess of Wales, as she walked through a minefield has gone on display at Edinburgh Castle.

Some of the most iconic images of her were captured during a visit to Angola in 1997, just months before she was killed in a car crash in Paris.

Now the protective outfit, and some of those memorable photographs of Diana, who was invited to Angola by the International Red Cross, have been given pride of place at one of the nation’s most popular attractions - thanks to the work of a Scottish charity.

They will be on display at the National War Museum at the castle along with a range of decommissioned weapons, safety equipment and mine detectors as part of an exhibition on the work of the Dumfriesshire-based HALO Trust, which has grown to become the world’s largest mine-clearing organisation.

Staged by National Museums Scotland ahead of the 30th anniversary of the charity in 2018, the exhibition also used photography and interviews to trace conflicts around the world, and explores the devastating effect landmines have on communities.

The HALO Trust has nearly 7000 people working in conflict and post-conflict zones in 19 countries and territories, including Afghanistan, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Kosovo and Zimbabwe.

The HALO Trust was set up in 1988 by Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Mitchell, a former commanding officer of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and MP for Aberdeenshire West. Currently based in Thornhill, it has 25 staff based in Scotland, with a futher 100 working overseas.

James Cowan, chief executive of the trust, said: “We’ve never done anything like this before. The charity has really run below the radar and has not courted publicity. We have just tried to get on with our work. But I’d us to do that and raise our profile as well.

“We don’t bring in expensive Western staff, we hire local people and create work in each other. We take people out of conflict, as well as destroying the remnants of conflict, but the really long-lasting effect is that we clear the land, which can then be farmed or have housing or industry built on it. We can also restore confidence in these places.”

Maureen Barrie, exhibitions officer at NMS, said: “It’s incredible the number of countries the HALO Trust is working in. When a war is over we tend to think it is now safe enough for people to return home. But I don’t think people realise that a lot of them can’t because of the devastation that war has left behind.”