Madiba 90

Madiba magic charms Queen

2008-06-25 18:14

Special Report

Mandela: SA needs good leaders

Now as much as ever, South Africa needs disciplined leaders, Nelson Mandela has said at birthday celebration in Pretoria.

London - Former president Nelson Mandela charmed Queen Elizabeth II as she welcomed him to Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.

"You look younger every time I see you," the 89-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate told the British sovereign, 82, as she had him round for an informal chat.

Mandela is in London for a giant 90th birthday concert in Hyde Park on Friday in support of his 46664 Aids campaign, named after his old prison number.

Queen Elizabeth and the elder statesman have met on several occasions and appear to share a warm friendship.

Inside her official residence, Mandela, wearing a trademark colourful shirt, in gold with a leaf pattern, was helped forward by a palace aide and a walking stick as he slowly stepped forward to greet the monarch.

Hosting a fund-raising dinner

As the pair sat opposite each other, Queen Elizabeth, smiling, told Mandela: "It's very nice weather, arranged just for you."

The former president was accompanied by his wife Graça Machel.

Mandela was to host a private fund-raising dinner later in London, with celebrities and world leaders expected to attend.

Queen, Razorlight, Annie Lennox and Simple Minds are among the artists on the bill for Friday's concert, which will be broadcast in countries around the world.

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