Monday, 18 July 2022

Prince Harry Delivers Commanding UN General Assembly Address with "Soulmate" Meghan

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex returned to the Big Apple for their third working trip in New York since last September for an incredibly special reason: Prince Harry's delivery of the keynote address at the UN General Assembly in celebration of Nelson Mandela International Day.

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The Duke and Duchess arriving.

It marks the couple's first public official appearance since the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Celebration in England last month.

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During previous trips to New York we've seen additional meetings and appearances. Will that be the case this time? There's no concrete information, however Harper's Bazaar reports they are "set to hold meetings with ambassadors at the U.N.".

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More from Harper's Bazaar:

'The duke and duchess have made human rights activism a priority since they worked as senior royals, and they continue to do so after stepping down from their duties. This Women’s History Month, they offered grants to four leading organizations working to advance gender equity through their nonprofit, Archewell.

Also, as the chief impact officer for mental health start-up BetterUp, Harry advocates for mental health access across the world. And he remains the founder and organizer of the Invictus Games, a multi-sport event for sick or injured military personnel and veterans.'

The couple with members of their team.

Today, UN Secretary-General António Guterres hailed Mandela's legacy as "a leader of unparalleled courage and towering achievement; and a man of quiet dignity and deep humanity". Nelson Mandela -- or Madiba, the clan name he’s affectionately known by at home -- was a “healer of communities and a mentor to generations who walked the path to freedom and dignity with steely determination – and with compassion and love". Today's special event is under the theme of taking action and inspiring change. Mr Guterres added: "Our world today is marred by war; overwhelmed by emergencies; blighted by racism, discrimination, poverty, and inequalities; and threatened by climate disaster. Let us find hope in Nelson Mandela’s example and inspiration in his vision."

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The Washington Post writes:

'General Assembly spokesperson Paulina Kubiak officially announced the program for Nelson Mandela International Day on Friday, with Harry giving the keynote and participants including assembly president Abdulla Shahid, U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, New York Mayor Eric Adams and Guinea’s Foreign Minister Morissanda Kouaté.

The General Assembly established July 18 -- Mandela’s birthday -- as an international day to honor him not only by celebrating his life and contributions but by carrying out the tradition of participating in a community service activity.'

Harry and Meghan take their seats.

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Archewell's Senior Strategic Advisor Genevieve Roth was with the couple.

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A lovely shot of Harry and Meghan.

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The President of the General Assembly Abdulla Shahid said: "I welcome Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and thank them for their consistent advocacy and public service."

A video from inside.

Born and raised in a rural village, Mandela joined the African National Congress where he became a leading figure in the fight against apartheid. Enduring life on the run, several long political trials, and ultimately 27 years in prison, Mandela developed a deep wisdom and a distinct ability to connect with others. As he famously said of his and others’ struggle against apartheid: "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it." It was not just his ideas, but also his magnanimous personality, resilience and charm that enabled Mandela to lead South Africa through a volatile transition. In 1994, he became the country’s first democratically elected president. He transformed the political landscape at home and around the world, becoming one of the most influential and iconic individuals of the 20th century.

Mandela's words, actions and courage continue to inspire all over the world.

Prince Harry photographed in 2008 at the start of the Enduro Africa 2008 to raise money for the UNICEF, Sentebale and Nelson Mandela Children Fund Charity in Port Edward.

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In 2014, Harry attended a National Service of Thanksgiving in London celebrating Mandela's life. Below, he is greeted by Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Harry, Meghan and Archie had the honour of meeting the Archbishop in South Africa in 2019; he sadly passed away last year -- more on that meeting later in the post).

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In 2018, two months after their wedding, Harry and Meghan officially opened the Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition at Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall. The couple had the opportunity to spend time with Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela who said afterwards: "Their support for justice and fairness in the world makes them a shining example for the youth of today and tomorrow."

During their South Africa tour in 2019, the Duke and Duchess spent time with Graca Machel, widow of the late Nelson Mandela. The anti-apartheid revolutionary and former president told Meghan she hoped to work with them in the future. "I feel the vibe," she said.

Graca told Harry it was "wonderful" to see him following in his mother's footsteps.

Harry first met Graca in South Africa in 2015.

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During that trip, Harry visited Siyabonga Secondary School and met children participating in the Nelson Mandela Champion Within program in Soweto.

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As expected, Prince Harry's speech was powerful, rousing and emotive, intertwining sage words on both Mandela's struggles and today's immense challenges in addition to personal memories and connections. I think you'll agree, it was worthy of Nelson Mandela and one of Harry's finest to date.

Harry began: "Thank you to the president of the General Assembly, His Excellency Mr. Abdullah Shahid, for the introduction and thank you to the Nelson Mandela Foundation for inviting me to speak on this day of all days. And thank you to Secretary General Gutierrez and the United Nations, whose promise reflects Mandela's vision of a freer, more peaceful world - for hosting us today, it is an honor to join you all on Nelson Mandela International Day. Having spent time with many of Mandela's family members over the years, I speak to you today with humility, mindful of how much the man they loved means to so many. Those of us not fortunate enough to know Mandela well have come to understand the man through his legacy, the letters he wrote alone in his prison cell, the speeches he delivered to his people, and those incredible shirts that he sported. We've also come to know him through the photographs of a person who, even when confronting unimaginable cruelty and injustice, almost always had a smile on his face."

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Harry's mother is never far from his mind and today he said: "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-old son to him back in 2019. When I first looked at the photo, straight away what jumped out was the joy on my mother's face. The playfulness, cheekiness, even. Pure delight to be in communion with another soul so committed to serving humanity."

The late Princess Diana is pictured with President Mandela in Cape Town five months before her death.

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Harry receiving the photo in 2019.

On a personal note, Africa has meant more to Harry than any of us knew -- offering a refuge for times of profound grief and happiness. Harry noted: "For most of my life, it has been my lifeline, a place where I found peace and healing time and time again. 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."

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CBS News reports:

"We're living through a pandemic that continues to ravage communities in every corner of the globe; Climate change wreaking havoc on our planet, with the most vulnerable suffering most of all; The few weaponizing lies and disinformation at the expense of the many, and from the horrific war in Ukraine to the rolling back of constitutional rights here in the United States, we are witnessing a global assault on democracy and freedom, the cores of Mandela's life."

As we sit here today, our world is on fire, again," Harry said as wildfires flare across southern Europe and his home nation bakes in record-setting heat. "These historic weather events are no longer historic, they are part of our daily lives, and this crisis will only grow worse unless our leaders lead; Unless the countries represented by the seats in this hallowed hall make the decisions - the daring, transformative decisions that our world needs to save humanity. These decisions may not fit with the agendas of every political party, they may invite resistance from powerful interests. But the right thing to do is not up for debate, and neither is the science. The only question is whether we'll be brave enough and wise enough to do what is necessary."

That, Harry said, is what Nelson Mandela did: He took action.

In their strength and in their deeds, Mandela's legacy shines as brightly as ever. They are my lifeboat. I hope they can be yours, too," said the royal. "It's more important than ever that we seek a purpose greater than ourselves, and get to work."

 

Harry continued "I've been inspired to go back to Mandela's writings for insight into how this could be, how he could experience so much darkness and always manage to find the light. There I found a few lines that stopped me in my tracks. In a letter from prison, he wrote. I feel my heart pumping, hope steadily to every part of my body warming my blood and pumping up my spirits. I am convinced that floods of personal disaster can never drown a determined revolutionary, too. A freedom fighter. Hope is what a lifeboat is to a swimmer, a guarantee that one will keep afloat and free from danger. It moved me even more when I saw the date. August 1st, 1977 years into Mandela's imprisonment."

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Touching on his own work he added:

'Because despite continued hardship, there are people across Africa who embody Mandela's spirit and ideals. Building on the progress he helped make possible. I see it in the communities fighting to save the Okavango Delta, defying the odds to protect their home and its biodiversity from big oil companies. I see it in the young girls who are forced out of school and into marriage in northern Nigeria, speaking out today so others may get a fuller chance to thrive tomorrow. I see it in the young entrepreneurs I met in Johannesburg, using their energy and creativity to launch businesses that serve their communities. I see it in World Central Kitchen, a partner of the Archewell Foundation, and their volunteers in Ukraine and around the world fighting food insecurity. One meal at a time. 

I see it in the vulnerable children of the city and Botswana. Orphaned by HIV. Striving for a better future. Which we support through our organization. Sensibly. I see it in the newest generation of activists for Equality and Justice who are mobilizing people of all ages and races, all faiths and walks of life to lace up their shoes and join the march. And I see it in the parents I meet around the world. As determined as Mandela was to give their children a better shot at a brighter future. To prioritize their own. And their children's mental health and well-being. To reject old ideas and past prejudice. Prejudices. To heal from the past. And build resilience for the present and future. 

Because they know the price of inaction will be paid by the next generation in their strength and in their deeds. Mandela's legacy shines as brightly as ever. They are my life, though I hope they can be yours, too, because right now the water is rising all around us. In some places, quite literally. So it's more important than ever that we seek a purpose greater than ourselves and get to work. After all, Mandela was not only a man of conscience, he was a man of action. He organized millions inspired millions, joined hands not only with those who loved him, but those who had once jailed him to build a better future for all. Well, Mandela understood was the true legacy transcends one's own needs and the passage of time. It defies the moment. Its relevance never ceases. Legacy does not belong to the self. It belongs to those it impacts. 

That doesn't mean he was perfect. No, he was something better. He was human. As he wrote in his autobiography. I have made missteps along the way, but I have discovered the secrets that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I've taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me. To look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment. For with freedom comes response abilities.'

Harry concluded with: "On this Nelson Mandela International Day as a new generation comes of age, a generation that did not witness Mandela's leadership for themselves. Let's commit to remembering and celebrating his life and legacy every day, not just once a year. Let's talk with our children about what he stood for. Let's seek out what we have in common. Empower all people to reclaim our democracies and harness the light of Mandela's memory to illuminate the way forward. Because if we can summon our own courage, just as he did. If we can see one another's humanity, just as he did, a better day will truly be on the horizon. Thank you."

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New York Mayor Eric Adams congratulating Harry.

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Afterwards, the couple spent time with Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations Mathu Joyini.

Below, Harry shaking hands with Abdulla Shahid, President of the seventy-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly. From left to right are: Mondli Gungubele, Minister in the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa; Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed; Morissanda Kouyaté, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Guinea; and Eric L. Adams, Mayor of New York City.

Does Meghan's chic ensemble look familiar?

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If so, it very much appears to be a black version of the green Givenchy look the Duchess wore in Dublin in 2018. Two months after their wedding, it marked their first official overseas visit. After designing her wedding gown, Clare Waight Keller created a number of gorgeous, timeless looks for Meghan. We saw several of these in the months after the wedding.

The pencil skirt originally came in black (Meghan chose green as a sartorial mark of respect to Ireland), described as "mid-length knit viscose-blend skirt in black. High-rise. Flap pockets at front. Concealed zip closure, raised seams, and central vent at back. Gold-tone hardware featuring carved logo detailing. Tonal stitching". Meghan's skirt is teamed with a matching fitted crew neck top.

The outfit from behind -- with an admiring glance from Harry :)

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Vogue's Edward Barsamian called it "your style moment of the day".

Meghan carried her oxblood Mulberry Bayswater bag, a piece she's had for years.

"It is easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build." - Nelson Mandela

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I'll update if there's additional engagements. 

36 comments:

  1. Mandela was truly remarkable. Just a few people like him come in our lifetimes. Unfortunately, we still need him. I love that Harry was able to give this speech -- and happy to see Meghan anytime. I know she is just superexcited to be at the UN. I'm not a fan of very slicked back hair but it seems appropriate today. Thank you for reminding us of Harry's long connections with countries in Africa.

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  2. I like the man harry is becoming....

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    1. I too think so a lot, Harry improves so much in his physical and intellectual capacities: "behind a great man hides a great woman".

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    2. I too think so a lot, Harry improves so much in his physical and intellectual capacities: "behind a great man hides a great woman".👌👌👌

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  3. My favorite of Harry's speech so far..... Very engaging

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  4. Age less/ elegant meghan

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  5. His mother would be so proud of him. His wife is so proud of him… given we know he finds speeches difficult this was awesome. LRB

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  6. Part of Harry’s speech is very similar to the speech William delivered in Scotland last year. The part about healing in Scotland/Africa and then meeting their wives there

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  7. Any idea as to why the room was so empty?

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    1. Nelson Mandela Day is in the middle of summer, and I believe much of the UN is shut down during the summer and tourists rather than diplomats are more numerous. It was referred to as an informal session. Although the Assembly was not packed, the speeches were livestreamed worldwide, so many people will be able to hear it live, and on later on video. It's too bad that there wasn't a larger live audience, though. Mandela is worthy of it, and so was Harry's speech.

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    2. Sheryl from BC Canada19 July 2022 at 03:12

      The UN is not in session right now...this speech was streamed all around the world, hence the lack of people. I applaud the amount that did show up. :)

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  8. The Duchess looks very elegant.

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  9. I found his speech very engaging and meaningful. It has also brought Mandela closer and present in a focused way. Harry looks very well; liked everything on him and about him today.
    He delivered the speech in a natural way with some expertise. Good for you!

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  10. A terrific speech and a very polished delivery indeed. Good for Harry. He and Meghan complement each other very, very well.

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  11. Oh my goodness. So much richness here. Yes, Meghan is dressed and coiffed perfectly for the évent and in keeping with her style esthetic. Pictures of Meghan and Harry always make me smile. Harry’s speech is stunning. Thank you Charlotte for this wealth and for including the pictures of Princess Diana with President Mandela.(In the framed picture of D&M her hand gestures towards Mandela. I think the framed pic is not the same as the pic included in this post.)
    Thank you!
    Renee

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  12. Chic! I love how M looks powerful, engaging, supportive of Harry and simply stunning all at once.

    - celticgirl

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  13. Quite a public, international venue at which to speak. The Prince seems to have acquitted himself well. If he goes on like this, he may well become the royal family's most accomplished orator (though since public speaking has never really been the royals' forte, notwithstanding the many times they've been called upon to do it, that wouldn't be difficult). I'm certain that having a wife who is accustomed to public speaking and can provide pointers has been of enormous help to Harry. Her skills and experience in this area represented a golden opportunity (among others) of which the Palace failed to take advantage.

    I loved this ensemble in green and think it looks sleek and professional in black, too, though I believe a bag in a different color would have been preferable. I tend not to like the color known variously as "oxblood" or "burgundy" (not really the same, but the labels are often used interchangeably), and with black, it looks so somber. Something in a rich crimson might have worked better.

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  14. I'm so happy that the Nelson Mandela Foundation asked Harry to deliver this keynote address. They love Harry for his demonstrated love of Africa and its people and its nature since he was 13. They love Harry for his love of Meghan, his beautiful biracial, kind, intelligent, brave soulmate. And, asking someone with his popularity calls the world's attention to Mandela and the inspiration he continues to be.

    Harry's wonderful speech was pitch perfect for our challenging and scary times. He held up Madiba's example and hope for us to draw on during these times.

    This was a magnificent speech. It was the speech of a world statesman.

    Harry was always portrayed as "lesser than" while he was in the royal family. We are seeing now that this portrayal had nothing to do with who he actually is, and everything to do with boosting others.

    I'm sure Harry's relationship with Meghan and her maturity, intelligence and nobility has also helped Harry to rise to his full stature and capability.

    Thanks for this lovely coverage, Charlotte.

    R

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    1. 100% in agreement with all you so eloquently stated.

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  15. A thoughtful and pitch-perfect speech. Harry is becoming a very dynamic speaker and growing in gravitas. I think it was a great speech for the occasion.

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  16. Sheryl from BC Canada19 July 2022 at 03:09

    Absolutely nailed it. Prince Harry, you gave the most impassioned, up to date, world encompassing speech today honouring Nelson Mandela. Well done you!!! The Duchess of Sussex exemplified grace, poise and a very thoughtful nature through out.

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  17. What an incredible speech! I had tears in my eyes as I was watching it, Harry’s speech making ability has certainly improved since his marriage! What inspired me the most was how Mr. Mandela never lost hope, how even in his darkest hours he was still able to find hope that better days were ahead. I’ve found that I have lost a bit of hope over the last 3-4 years but listening to Harry’s speech and meditating on Mr. Manuela’s life, I feel inspired to reclaim my hope for a kinder, more compassionate society.

    Thank you Charlotte for a wonderful and inspiring post ❤️

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  18. Wonderful speech. Excellent occasion. Chic look from Meghan. There for the wonderful post, Charlotte. -op

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  19. I like the green better on her

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  20. Charlotte thank you for the post. Have you heard any more about when the Archwell podcasts will start. I have been interested in Eugenie' s regular podcasts.

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  21. The outfit from behind -- with an admiring glance from Harry :) 🤣🤣🤣
    Very cute their play of hands that seek and embrace to support each other: it becomes one of their trademarks (yes, this couple full of aura has a lot of referential habits that captivate so much...).
    Beautiful also this outfit of Meghan which is one of her references: simple and so chic.
    Congratulations again to Harry for this beautiful speech.
    Thanks Charlotte.

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  22. A wonderful address by Harry and a very chic show of support from Meghan. The two of them are certainly giving a buffet when it comes to their work and appearances. Charity events, international sports competitions, volunteering, concerts, speaking engagements, documentaries, podcasts, I love the variety. Quality is key with them. Meghan also appeared in New York for lunch with the one and only Gloria Steinem too (and wearing another great outfit!).

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  23. Meghan looks so chic.

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  24. MISSED MY BABIES!!! Meghan looks like a million bucks as per usual, Harry's suit is flawless and the speech was amazing. And really what an honor to be invited to deliver the keynote address for an event in remembrance of such an inspiring and trailblazing figure. Mr Mandela was truly a modern day hero and he's greatly missed.

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  25. Its always so refreshing to come here and get the straight scoop with amazing detail, and then to read the curated comments without fearing hate talk. Your work gives us all the ability to appreciate the Sussex's work in peace. Thank you so very much, Charlotte.

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  26. Susan in Florida19 July 2022 at 19:59

    I have spent some of my day reminding people that Harry has done a LOT of work in Africa and he was asked by the Mandela Foundation to speak. I think because he (and Meghan) can write from the heart, he is much more confident speaking. She looked lovely. As far as I can see, they are using the attention they receive to speak to humanitarian issues. I’m sure Diana would be very proud of Harry.

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  27. I loved Meghan's outfit for lunch with Gloria. I LOVE her shoes that echo the belt. Her amazing pantsuit that evening (I feel it's fair to mention it because they were not hiding and Meghan seemed very comfortable with the photographers) shows yet another play (Kate and Queen Maxima have versions) on white-band-over-back. The little knots in the back won me over. I was hoping to see more events today but perhaps not. I thought it interesting that Gloria seems to value her friendship with Meghan -- that speaks volumes to me.

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  28. meghan looks lovely and thanks charlotte for this great post. i think harry should have not made the speech today. i say this not because his speech wasn't great it was but because of his family history. the british royals ruled over south africa as its colony after the dutch. thatcher did not want to put restrictions on south africa during the apartheid years and only did so under duress. harry's intentions are pure i believe but this really rubbed me wrong. he should not have been the person chosen for this speech despite the wonderful ties he and his mom had to mandela because of the role of britain on south africa and his ties to the monarchy as a prince. i feel it should of been a Black South African making the speech today who has lived through the struggle and truly following in mandela's footsteps.

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    1. Anonymous20 July 2022 at 01:19
      You posted an interesting comment. I appreciate you for letting me see it from your point of view. The speech was yesterday; why don't you write to Mandela Foundation who to pick in the future. Mandela Foundation also happens to have some affiliation with Archwell Foundation. Harry had invested time, energy and money on that part of Africa since his youth. Sometimes there is also rightfully another view which makes Harry acceptable to make the speech. History has its good, bad and ugly.
      Although I myself sometimes get stack on the past ( history, friendship etc). There is no question that history is very important, but one can be its prisoner either except use it wisely. I admire people who move on, and see more of the future. They also tend to be successful.

      I do respect your point of view very much especially this quote. I agree with your remark 100%; but I also don't disagree Harry was asked.

      " it should of been a Black South African making the speech today who has lived through the struggle and truly following in mandela's footsteps."

      There are some elements in today's world which help bring attention to events in the present times. The Harry and Meghan factor is also very much an influencer of the present. It brings attention to events whether people like, or hate them.

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  29. love her outfit!! nice speech by harry too. mandela was a hero an amazing man a once in a lifetime person

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