Prince Harry is calling on the world to live up to Nelson Mandela’s legacy.
On Monday, in honour of Nelson Mandela International Day, the Duke of Sussex delivered the keynote address to a gathering at the U.N. General Assembly Hall in New York.
Harry arrived at the U.N., hand in hand with wife Meghan Markle.
prince harry and meghan, the duke and duchess of sussex, have arrived at the united nation mandela day commemoration pic.twitter.com/xnL5U46hrb
— best of harry (@harrysussex_) July 18, 2022
“The few weaponizing lies and disinformation at the expense of the many,” Harry said, speaking about the deep political concerns of the day. “And from the horrific war in Ukraine to the rolling back of constitutional right in the U.S. we are witnessing a global assault on democracy and freedom, the cause of Mandela’s life.”
He also called out global inaction on the climate crisis: “As we sit here today, our world is on fire…. This has been a painful year in a painful decade. We’re living through a pandemic that continues to ravage communities in every corner of the globe. Climate change [is] wreaking havoc on our planet, with the most vulnerable suffering most of all.”
Harry also paid specific attention to problems facing the continent of Africa.
“As happens so often in history, the consequences of some of the most powerful people in some of the wealthiest countries are being felt even more deeply across the continent of Africa,” he said. “The pandemic, the war and inflation have left Africa marred in a food and fuel crisis, the likes of which we have not seen in decades. Worse still, this comes at a time when the Horn of Africa is enduring one of the longest droughts it’s faced in close to half a century.
The royal also shared his own emotional relationship to Africa, including forming bonds with his late mother Princess Diana, as well as his wife.
“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,” 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. And it’s why so much of my work is based there.”
Harry and Meghan first visited Africa together, after dating for only a few weeks, in 2006.