Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrived Monday at the United Nations hand in hand.
Harry, who spoke on the bond between his mother Princess Diana and the late South African president, delivered the keynote address for Nelson Mandela International Day.
“On my wall and in my heart every day is an image of my mother and Mandela meeting in Cape Town in 1997,”He said. “When I first looked at the photo, straight away what jumped out was the joy on my mother’s face, the playfulness, cheekiness even, the pure delight to be in communion with another soul so committed to serving humanity.”
Harry noted that the photo was given to him and Meghan in 2019 by the late South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Mandela had “the weight of the world on his shoulders” as he worked to dismantle South Africa’s legacy of apartheid, Harry said, “Yet, in that photo and so many others, he is still beaming.
“Still able to see the goodness in humanity. Still buoyant with a beautiful spirit that lifted everyone around him. Not because he was blind to the ugliness, the injustices, of the world – no, he saw them clearly; he had lived them – but because he knew we could overcome them,” Harry said.
Harry visited Africa for the first time when he was 13, after his mother’s death, he said. There, he always “found hope.”
“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,”He said. “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.”
Prince Harry and Meghan, who sat by her husband’s side at the general assembly, went to Botswana early in their relationship. Monday’s appearance at the UN was the couple’s first public appearance since Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee last month.
Harry was invited to address the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Nelson Mandela Prize Award Ceremony.