Prince Harry pays touching tribute to mum Princess Diana during controversial aviation hall of fame induction

Prince Harry pays touching tribute to mum Princess Diana during controversial aviation hall of fame induction

PRINCE Harry paid touching tribute to his mum Diana last night as he was controversially inducted into the aviation hall of fame.

The Duke of Sussex accepted the “Living Legend of Aviation” award at a ceremony hosted by John Travolta in Beverly Hills, California, on Friday.

Prince Harry pays touching tribute to mum Princess Diana during controversial aviation hall of fame induction
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The Duke of Sussex was seen beaming in a selfie alongside Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe at the Beverly Hills Hilton[/caption]

AP:Associated Press

Prince Harry is being recognised for his service as an Apache helicopter pilot in Afghanistan[/caption]

AP:Associated Press

Princess Diana famously danced with John Travolta at the White House in 1985 – Harry was one at the time[/caption]

It is the first time he has been seen in public since Kate Middleton’s abdominal surgery and King Charles’ enlarged prostate diagnosis – neither of which were mentioned in his speech.

The non-profit Kiddie Hawk Academy set up the event to honour those who make significant contributions to aviation and aerospace.

Taking to the stage on in the evening, Harry paid a special thanks to John Travolta, who famously danced with his mum Diana, at The White House in 1985.

“I was just a one-year-old when you danced with my mum at the White House and now look at us!” Harry said of the iconic moment.

“The only thing left to do is… not dance together but fly together.”

Making no mention of his family’s recent hospital visits, the Duke of Sussex went on to thank the “living legends of aviation for this incredible honour” adding that he is “proud to be recognised among such a dynamic and inspiring group of individuals”.

“For me, flying has been a transcendent experience,” Harry said.

“A close encounter with magic, an invitation to both protect freedom… and to feel free; and, funny enough, an opportunity to ground oneself, without actually being grounded.

“I find my flight training — which was over the course of three years— to be one of life’s greatest lessons. In this lesson, it triggered a vast array of feelings!”

Its star-studded ceremony was opened by Hollywood legend Travolta, who said he was “so glad” to welcome the likes of “Jeff Bezos, William Shatner, Kurt Russell, General Patrick Brady, Morgan Freeman and the Duke of Sussex”.

“The living legends aviation awards were created to honour and recognise individuals and organisations that have made significant contributions to the many aspects of the aviation and aerospace industry,” Travolta told the crowd as he opened the evening.

“And that’s why we are all here: To celebrate those achievements and to support the future with organisations like Kiddie Hawk and Air Academy that encourage the aviators of the next generation.”

Harry, 39, completed two tours of Afghanistan as a forward air controller and an Apache helicopter pilot – rising to the rank of Captain.

The prince, who was seen beaming in a selfie alongside Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe at the Beverly Hills Hilton at the start of the night, will take his place alongside other “Legends of Aviation” including Moon landing astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong.

He went on to recall his time in the military, remembering his “trust in the aircraft,” his “fellow comrades” and “above all else, trust in myself”.

And he noted that while “this award recognises the achievements of individuals, it is important to remember that aviation only advances by celebrating each and every person”.

“Remarkable feats continue to be achieved— proving literally that the sky is no longer the limit,” he said.

“But we are only as good as the sum of our parts.”

A new “Legend” is inducted into the hall of fame whenever a current one dies.

But some aviation experts have slammed the decision to induct Harry into the industry’s hall of fame.

Retired British Army officer Colonel Richard Kemp said: “I can understand why it’s happening.

“It’s all obviously about publicity. He’s a celebrity and a very well-known person.

“Of course it gives publicity to this award and the people that are promoting it.

“But there are many people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, possibly even fighting now in against the terrorism in Yemen.

“A large number of military pilots, helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft have carried out some extraordinary feats of valour and phenomenal aviation that I’m afraid Harry didn’t do.”

PAST WINNERS

  • Buzz Aldrin – flew 66 US Air Force missions in Korea before walking on the Moon in 1969
  • Jeff Bezos – flew into space on his Blue Origin NS-16 craft
  • Tom Cruise – starred in iconic fighter pilot movie Top Gun
  • Harrison Ford – amateur pilot who owns several small planes
  • Morgan Freeman – has flown to over 20 countries in his Swearingen SJ30 long-range jet
  • Elon Musk – launched the Space X rocket programme
  • Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman Al Saud – first Arab, Muslim and member of a royal family to fly in space

California-based Harry’s award comes after a tumultuous week for the royal family on the other side of the Atlantic.

Princess Kate is recovering in hospital from planned abdominal surgery.

She is expected to stay at the private London Clinic for up to 14 days before going home to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor.

Kate’s husband Prince William, 41, visited her at the clinic yesterday afternoon.

The 42-year-old princess is also being supported by a dependable A-team – from royal besties to college pals.

This morning King Charles was seen for the first time since the Palace revealed he faces prostate treatment in just a few days.

Charles, 75, sought treatment for an enlarged prostate and will be admitted to hospital next week for surgery.

AFP

Harry with his father King Charles at the Queen’s funeral in 2022[/caption]

Ikon Pictures Limited

Charles was seen for the first time since it was revealed he faces prostate treatment[/caption]

Mirrorpix

Harry’s brother Prince William visiting his wife Kate Middleton in hospital yesterday[/caption]

Getty

Harry with his wife Meghan Markle and the Queen in 2018[/caption]

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