3 very special events that prove the British royal family’s unequivocal love affair with Africa

Queen Elizabeth and Nelson Mandela (Photo: AFP)
Queen Elizabeth and Nelson Mandela (Photo: AFP)

Cape Town – As the Duke and Duchess of Sussex prepare for their upcoming tour of South Africa, many a story is coming to light of Prince Harry's connection to our beloved continent.

In conversation with Town & Country's Klara Glowczewska while on a trip to Malawi, Prince Harry admitted he's always felt most like himself when he was home in Africa.

"I have this intense sense of complete relaxation and normality here. To not get recognised, to lose myself in the bush with what I would call the most down-to-earth people on the planet, people [dedicated to conservation] with no ulterior motives, no agendas, who would sacrifice everything for the betterment of nature… I talk to them about their jobs, about what they do. And I learn so much.

"I wish I could spend more time in Africa," Harry said.

But the entire royal family's always had some or other connection with Africa. From Queen Elizabeth's birthday to a royal engagement, here are three things you probably didn't know, but totally prove the British royal family's unequivocal love affair with Africa:

1. Princess Elizabeth's birthday

In 1947, Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary celebrated her 21st birthday in South Africa. Five years later, she was in Kenya when she heard the news of her father's passing. She flew back to Britain and became Queen Elizabeth II two days later.

2. Prince William's royal engagement

Prince William became a patron of the Royal Africa Society in 2017, but the prince had been visiting Africa from a very young age – one of his first family holidays to the continent came after his mother's passing.

But you may not know that the Duke of Cambridge also popped the question and asked Kate Middleton to marry him while the two were in Africa in 2010. The Duchess of Cambridge reportedly said yes at a private log cabin, overlooking the foothills of Mount Kenya.

3. Princess Diana's legacy

Prince Harry's spent many years doing charity work on the continent as a result of his connection to Africa, and in part, to honour his late mother's legacy.

Prince Harry previously visited Angola in 2013 to support the clearing of landmines, and in October, he is due to attend a conference on landmine clearance while in the country – a cause his mother endorsed in 1997 when she famously stepped out and onto an active minefield in Angola.

Harry is also a patron of Sentebale – a charity which supports children and young people living with AIDS – another one of the many causes Princess Diana championed.

In 1997, just months before she passed away, one of her last trips was made to Cape Town where she spoke with then-president Nelson Mandela about the epidemic.

Compiled by Bashiera Parker

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