Prince Harry gave his wife Meghan Markle a special shoutout during his United Nations speech.The couple appeared in New York City on Monday, where Harry addressed the assembly as part of Nelson Mandela Day. During the speech, Prince Harry spoke about his own passion for Africa since his first visit at age 13 — including how it connected him to two important women in his life: his wife, Meghan, and his mother, Princess Diana.
“For most of my life, it has been my lifeline, a place where I found peace and healing time and time again,” Prince Harry said. “It’s where I felt closest to my mother and sought solace after she died, and where I knew I had found a soulmate in my wife.”Meghan, 40, and Prince Harry, 37, have traveled to Africa together several times, including a visit to Botswana early in their relationship in the summer of 2016 — after just two dates over two consecutive days in London.”I managed to persuade her to come and join me 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,” Harry said after their engagement. “So then we were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure that we had a chance to know each other.”
Harry made sure Meghan always had a reminder of the special place by choosing a diamond from Botswana as the centerpiece of her engagement ring. The stone is flanked by two smaller diamonds from Princess Diana’s personal collection.Harry, who has called Africa his “second home,” has made both public and private trips to the country throughout the years. He’s helped with conservation work, especially with rhinos and elephants, in addition to getting to know its people and their struggles.In his speech, Prince Harry also recalled a photo of Princess Diana and Mandela taken in 1997 that is “on my wall and in my heart every day” that was given to him by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
“When I first looked at the photo, straight away what jumped out is the joy on my mother’s face. The playfulness — cheekiness, even,” Harry, 37, said. “The pure delight to be in communion with another soul so committed to serving humanity.”He continued that Mandela was also “beaming” despite all the hardships he endured.”[He was] still able to see the goodness in humanity, still buoyant with a beautiful spirit that lifted everyone around him,” Harry said of the former South African president and civil rights advocate. “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.”South African President Nelson Mandela and Princess Diana in 1997
Prince Harry said, “This has been a painful year in a painful decade,” given the global COVID-19 pandemic, issues surrounding climate change, the war in Ukraine, the spread of disinformation and the “rolling back of constitutional rights here in the United States,” referring the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade. However, he encouraged listeners to “do what Mandela did” by finding “meaning and purpose in the struggle.”In a Vogue feature last month, Meghan said that the reversal of Roe v. Wade was about “women’s physical safety” as well as “economic justice, individual autonomy and who we are as a society.”Discussing Prince Harry’s thoughts on the decision, Meghan said, “His reaction last week was guttural, like mine.”