Prince Harry of the United Kingdom talked on Monday at the United Nations about seeking advice from the late Nelson Mandela amid times of global instability and urged nations to take action against climate change.
The royal couple held hands as they entered the United Nations headquarters in New York City to celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day, which is held yearly on the former South African president’s birthday.
In the hall of the United Nations General Assembly, Harry warned about the threats posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the “weaponization” of lies and disinformation, and the “reversal” of constitutional rights in the United States.
“We are witnessing a global assault on democracy and freedom – the cause for which Nelson Mandela sacrificed his life,” he stated.
Mandela became the first Black president of South Africa in 1994, after serving 27 years in jail for apartheid-related offences. He died in 2013 at the age of 95, but his struggle against apartheid and message of reconciliation continue to make him a legend.
Harry warned of the effects of climate change on Africa and the rest of the world.
“This catastrophe will only worsen if our leaders do not take charge, if the countries represented in this hallowed chamber do not make the decisions – the courageous, revolutionary decisions – our world needs to save mankind,” he said.
Harry remarked about a photograph of Nelson Mandela and his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, shot in Cape Town in 1997, which he said hangs on his wall.
“The first thing I noticed when I glanced at the photograph was the smile on my mother’s face. The fun, even naughtiness, and sheer joy of being in communion with another person so dedicated to serve humanity “he added.
Harry referred to Africa as a “lifeline,” stating, “It’s where I felt closest to my mother and sought peace after she passed away, and there I realised I had found my soulmate in my wife.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, moved to the United States two years ago to enjoy a more independent lifestyle. They reside with their two children in California.