The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who relocated from the U.K. to Meghan’s home state of California in 2020, headed to the U.N. on Monday, where Harry gave a special address in honor of Nelson Mandela Day. The couple held hands as they entered the building, Meghan wearing a black dress and her pinky ring promoting women empowerment with her hair tied back in a ponytail.
Post royal life engagements (2022) july 18 | visiting the united nations headquarter
After New York City Mayor Eric Adams spoke, Prince Harry headed to the microphone to address the assembly.
“Those of us not fortunate 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,” Harry sad.
Prince Harry 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. “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.”
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.”
He also spoke about his love of Africa since his first visit at age 13.
“For most of my life, it has been my lifeline, a place where I found peace and healing time and time again,” 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.”
During the couple’s tour to Africa in 2019, they met with Graca Machel, Mandela’s widow. Prince Harry and Meghan also visited the Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition in London back in July 2018.
Members of the royal family, including Harry’s grandparents Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip as well as both of his parents Prince Charles and Princess Diana, met with Mandela on many occasions before his death in 2013.
Meghan previously appeared at the U.N. Women’s conference on International Women’s Day in 2015. Her mom Doria Ragland was on hand as she gave an inspiring speech on gender equality.
“U.N. Women, as you guys know, has defined the year 2030 as the expiration date for gender inequality,” she said. “And here’s what’s staggering — the studies show that at the current rate, the elimination of gender inequality won’t be possible until 2095. That’s another eighty years from now. And when it comes to women’s political participation and leadership the percentage of female parliamentarians globally has only increased by 11% since 1995. Eleven percent in 20 years? Come on. This has to change. Women make up more than half of the world’s population and potential, so it is neither just nor practical for their voices, for our voices, to go unheard at the highest levels of decision-making.”
Meghan and Prince Harry visited New York City in September 2021, starting with a visit to One World Observatory at the World Trade Center with former Mayor Bill de Blasio, his wife Chirlane McCray, their son Dante de Blasio and Governor Kathy Hochul.
During the trip, they met with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Meghan read her children’s book The Bench to second grade students at P.S. 123 Mahalia Jackson School in Harlem.
The duo then appeared on stage at Global Citizen Live in Central Park, where they spoke up about the world’s need for COVID-19 vaccine equity.