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Giving a keynote speech for Nelson Mandela Day, Prince Harry spoke of his emotional connection to Africa.
The Duke of Sussex delivered a keynote address, in which he spoke of his emotional connection to Africa and shared a sweet insight into when he knew Meghan was ‘the one’.
Commenting on his personal connection to Africa, Prince Harry said:
“Since I first visited Africa at 13 years old, I’ve always found hope on the continent. In fact, for most of my life, it has been my lifeline, a place where I have found peace and healing time and time again.
It’s where I’ve felt closest to my mother and sought solace after she died, and where I knew I had found a soulmate in my wife.”
It’s believed that Prince Harry is referring to a trip in the summer of 2016. During their engagement interview, the 37-year-old royal described how he had persuaded Meghan to come and join him in Botswana:
“We camped out with each other under the stars. She came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic. So then we were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure that we had a chance to know each other.”
Botswana holds a special place in Prince Harry’s heart: he first visited the country when he was 13-years-old – and just two months after his mother, Princess Diana tragically passed away in a car accident.
During the speech to the UN General Assembly, Harry praised Nelson Mandela and revealed a special image he has of of the former South African president and anti-apartheid activist with his mother.
“We’ve also come to know him through the photographs of a person who, even when confronting unimaginable cruelty and injustice, almost always had a smile on his face. For me, there’s one photo in particular that stands out,” said Prince Harry. “On my wall, and in my heart every day, is an image of my mother and Mandela meeting in Cape Town in 1997.”
Prince Harry also shared how the photograph was given to him by the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, when he and Meghan met him with their son Archie on their royal tour to Africa in 2019.
He said what jumped out to him in the image is the “joy” on his mother’s face and how, even though Mandela had “endured the very worst of humanity, vicious racism and state-sponsored brutality”, he was still “beaming” and “able to see the goodness in humanity.”