The Duke of Sussex keeps a photograph of Princess Diana meeting Nelson Mandela on the wall and in “his heart”.
Prince Harry, 37, said the image was captured when his mother met Mandela in Cape Town in 1997, five months before she was killed aged 36 in a Paris car crash.
The dad-of-two – who shares children Archie, three, and one-year-old Lilibet with his wife the Duchess of Sussex, 40, known as Meghan Markle before she married Harry – made the admission at his keynote speech at the UN General Assembly in New York City on Monday. (18.07.22)
He added he first visited Africa when he was 13 years old and went back there to seek solace after Diana’s death.
Speaking on Nelson Mandela Day, Harry said: “We’ve also come to know him (Mandela) 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. On my wall, and in my heart every day, is an image of my mother and Mandela meeting in Cape Town in 1997.
“The photo was presented to me by the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu whose friendship and inspiration were their own treasured gift. My wife and I had the honour of introducing our four-month-year old son to him back in 2019.
“But 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 and Meghan arrived smiling and hand-in-hand ahead of his speech to delegates on climate change and poverty, in which he also said the last 10 years of events including Covid and the invasion of Ukraine had left him feeling “battered and helpless”.
It is the first time he and his wife have been seen in public since they travelled to the UK to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee last month.