When do you realize your spouse is the right one for you? When you take them to your favorite spot in the world, the vacation is amazing, according to Prince Harry.
On Monday, the 37-year-old royal spoke at the UN in New York City in commemoration of Nelson Mandela Day. He discussed how the influence of Mandela’s native continent of Africa on so many aspects of his life and his work.
The two most significant women in his life—his mother, Princess Diana, and his wife, Megan Markle—have also made it a significant location.
In fact, he was unaware that Megan was his one and only until the two went to Botswana in 2016, at the very beginning of their courtship.
“For most of my life, it has been my lifeline, a place where I found peace and healing time and time again,” Prince Harry said during the UN speech. “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.”
While talking about that particular trip, he had previously avoided mentioning the fact that it was the specific time that he realized Megan was the one for him.
“I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana,” he said during an Earth Day speech last year. “We camped out with each other under the stars. She came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic. So then we were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure that we had a chance to know each other.”
On Monday, Markle and Prince Harry both traveled to the event, and as they entered the building, they held hands. Markle donned a pinky ring to signify the empowerment of women.
Harry has a long history of traveling to the continent for both business and pleasure, having made his first trip there at just 13. He’s been involved in humanitarian efforts concerning land conservation and endangered animals — and he and Meghan met and worked with Mandela’s relatives in 2019.
As per ET canada, he explained in his speech that it’s not just Megan that ties his heart to Africa. It’s also his late mother. He revealed that he still keeps a photograph of Princess Diana and Nelson Mandela taken together in 1997 on his wall and said the image touches him every day.
“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 said. “The pure delight to be in communion with another soul so committed to serving humanity.”
“He was still able to see the goodness in humanity, still buoyant with a beautiful spirit that lifted everyone around him,” Harry said of the civil rights legend. “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.”
“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,” Harry said, referencing the United State’s recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, an issue important to both him and his wife.
Still, his speech was one of hope and love.
“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 Harry. “It’s more important than ever that we seek a purpose greater than ourselves, and get to work.”