Prince Harry has again waded into US politics as he blasted the ‘rolling back of constitutional rights’ during his keynote speech at the UN General Assembly for Nelson Mandela Day, in New York City.
The Duke of Sussex launched a thinly-veiled attack on the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade ruling last month that handed abortion rights back to individual states.
The 37-year-old claimed it was part of a ‘global assault on democracy and freedom’ as he also cited Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine among problems facing the world.
The comments, heard by a mostly-empty room at the United Nations on Monday morning, were the latest broadside at US politicians.
It comes after his wife Meghan told how the Duke had a ‘gutteral’ reaction to the Supreme Court’s bombshell overturning of Roe v Wade last month.
Elsewhere in Harry’s speech, he said:
- A photograph of Princess Diana meeting Nelson Mandela in 1997 remains on his ‘wall and his heart’;
- The Duke said that he knew Meghan was his soulmate when they visited Africa together in 2019;
- Covid and climate change left him feeling ‘battered and helpless’ after ‘a painful year in a painful decade’;
- Fatherhood had made campaigning more important to him after sharing Archie and Lilibet with Meghan.
Meghan and Harry arrived hand in hand ahead of his speech to delegates on climate change and poverty during the two hour meeting at the UN.
It marks the first time the couple have been seen in public since jetting to the UK to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee last month, where they kept a low profile.
Despite the event meant to be in celebration of Nelson Mandela Day, the Prince launched an attack on American politics during his keynote speech.
He said: ‘This has been a painful year in a painful decade. We are living through a pandemic that continues to ravage communities in every corner of the globe.
‘Climate change wreaking havoc on our planet with 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 right in the US we are witnessing a global assault on democracy and freedom the cause of Mandela’s life.’
It is not the first time the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have waded into American politics, finding themselves in hot water after commenting on the US election.
During a Time 100 video in September 2020 they called on American voters to ‘reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity’ in ‘the most important election of our life.’
Members of the royal family are supposed to be politically neutral, when they stepped back from their roles the Sussex’s vowed that ‘everything they do will uphold the values of Her Majesty’.
Prince Harry went on to say a photograph of his mother Princess Diana meeting Nelson Mandela remains ‘on his wall and his heart’.
He said his mothers ‘joy and playfulness’ can be seen in the photograph, taken in Cape Town in March 1997, just five months before her tragic death.
Addressing the UN, Harry said: ‘For me there is one photo in particular that stands out. On my wall and in my heart everyday is an image of my mother and Mandela meeting in Cape Town in 1987.
‘It 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 honor of introducing our four-month-old son to him in 2019. But when I first looked at the photo straight away what jumped out was the joy on my mother’s face.
‘The playfulness, cheekiness even, the pure delight to be in communion with another soul so committed to serving humanity.
‘Then I looked at Mandela. Here was a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders, asked to heal his country from the wreckage of its past and transform it for the future.
‘A man who had endured the very worst of humanity – vicious racism and state-sponsored brutality. A man who had lost 27 years with his children and family that he would never get back.’
General Assembly spokesperson Paulina Kubiak officially announced the program for Nelson Mandela International Day on Friday.
Meghan stunned with her $1500 black Mulberry bag, which she paired with a black Givency short sleeve top and midi-length pencil skirt with pocket detailing at the waist.
She slicked back her long dark hair into a sleek ponytail, donning $725 black suede Manolo Blahnik pumps, clutching Prince Harry’s hand before they were seen laughing before the meeting got started.
Opening up about his love of Africa, after first visiting age 13, Harry added: ‘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.’
Whilst praising the work of Mandela, President of the UN General Assembly Abdulla Ahahid welcomed the royal couple, adding: ‘consistent advocacy around public service’.
The prince described the world as being ‘on fire’ due to climate change, with previously rare weather events becoming ‘part of our daily lives’.
He added: ‘And this crisis will only grow worse unless our leaders lead. The right thing to do is not up for debate, and neither is the science.
‘A moment when multiple converging crises have given way to an endless string of injustices… a moment when people around the world are experiencing extraordinary pain…’
Both the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who were invited by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, ignored questions about the impact of Tom Bower’s book Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsor’s.
They glanced over at UN correspondent for Voice of American Margaret Besheer but quickly turned away.
Ms Besheer asked: ‘Are you worried that Tom Bower’s new book is going to widen your rift with the Royal Family?’
Harry gave the keynote and participants included UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, New York Mayor Eric Adams and Guinea´s Foreign Minister Morissanda Kouaté.
New York Mayor Eric Adams used his platform at the event to compare Mandela’s 27 years behind bars to his struggles with dyslexia.
He said: ‘We must be inspired by the courage of Nelson Mandela. The ongoing crisis of covid, war and crime have imprisoned us in our own Robin Island Prison.
‘But these are temporary conditions, not life sentences.
‘My own personal story is reflected in that. I was dyslexic and denied support services as a child.
‘I was arrested as a youth and felt rejected as a person but I knew it was not the end, not a burial.
And today I stand before you energized with all that I have endured on my journey too.’
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.
During the event the 2020 UN Nelson Mendela Prize was awarded to Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis of Greece and Dr Morissanda Kouyaté of Guinea.
This prize is handed out every five years and recognises people who have dedicated their lives to the service of humanity.
Harry was accompanied at the U.N. by his wife Meghan. The former actress spoke at a conference at UN headquarters organized by UN Women on International Women´s Day in 2015, before her marriage to the prince.
In January 2020, the couple stepped down as senior members of the royal family and moved to the duchess´ native Southern California, where they continue to live with their two children.
Harry and Meghan visited South Africa in 2019 with their son, Archie, on their first official tour as a family before they gave up royal duties.
They then travelled to Canada for a family holiday, and planned their move away from the Royal Family – stepping down from their roles before moving to the US.
Harry´s mother, the late Princess Diana, met Mandela in March 1997, just five months before her death in a car crash in Paris.
His speech comes hours after it was revealed in a new bombshell book that his Eton pals called him ‘f***ing nuts’ for dating Meghan.
Tom Bower, journalist and author of ‘Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsors’ says Harry invited Meghan to join him at Sandringham for his weekend shoot in 2016.
Their relationship had only just been publicly revealed, and the Prince reportedly invited 16 friends to join him over the weekend.
They mostly included old school pals from Eton, employed by international banks and auction houses, who joined him for dinner, shooting and lunch with the Queen’s permission.
Bower claims the Duke of Sussex had been excited for a weekend of ‘endless banter’ with his pals, but Meghan, 40, was less than impressed and ‘challenged every guest’ who ‘contravened her woke values’.
Meghan ‘lacked any sense of humour’ and was a ‘dampener on the party’, Bower says in his new book, according to The Times newspaper.
She also reportedly ‘reprimanded them for their jokes about sexism, feminism and transgender people’, with Bower writing that Harry had ‘not anticipated’ Meghan’s reaction.
He wrote: ‘She lacked any sense of humour. Driving home after Sunday lunch, the texts pinged between the cars: ‘OMG, what about HER?’ said one. ‘Harry must be f***ing nuts’.’
Bower claims Meghan ‘reprimanded guests’ if they made the ‘slightest inappropriate comment’ and ‘nobody was exempt’.
The claims comes after it was revealed Meghan ‘called her PR team in hysterics’ after Buckingham Palace reacted with ‘fury’ to ‘her Vanity Fair interview about Prince Harry’.
Bower says Meghan was ‘ecstatic’ when she was asked to appear on the cover of Vanity Fair’s September 2017 issue and do an interview with the magazine.
But when the magazine ran with the headline ‘Wild About Harry’ on its cover – focusing on Meghan’s relationship with the British prince rather than her work as an actor, activist and philanthropist – Bower says the Palace was taken aback.
Within hours of the magazine’s pre-publication copies being sent to Buckingham Palace, Bower says Meghan phoned her PR firm and ‘hysterically’ told them of the Palace’s fury.
Bower reports that Meghan was furious that the piece was not more focused on her philanthropy but says this was due to the fact Vanity Fair researchers were unable to substantiate two key stories she had told about her activism as a young child.
After first discussing Meghan’s speech at the United Nations and a letter she sent to Procter & Gamble as an 11-year-old requesting that they change a slogan promoting washing-up liquid that was deemed sexist, she was asked about Harry.
As reported by Vanity Fair in 2017, Meghan said: ‘We’re a couple. We’re in love.
‘I’m sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people will understand is that this is our time.
‘This is for us. It’s part of what makes it so special, that it’s just ours. But we’re happy. Personally, I love a great love story.’
The Duchess guest-edited the September 2019 issue of British Vogue, which reportedly left the editorial staff in ‘silent exasperation’ according to Bower.
They found her contributions ‘superficial’, with the former actress coming under fire for mission off the Queen in her list of 15 women that she admired as ‘forces for change’.
In one telephone conference Bower claims that Meghan announced to the gathered editorial staff ‘I want to break the internet.’
He wrote: ‘They believed most of her contributions were superficial, lacking rhyme or reason. To avoid confrontation she was never asked to explain.’
His book also alleges that the Queen said ‘thank goodness Meghan is not coming’, when she discovered that the Duchess was not attending Prince Philips funeral.
The Duchess reportedly did not attend because doctors advised her against flying, as she was seven months pregnant with the couple’s daughter Lilibet.
However the couple last month jetted off to the UK with their two children for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – with sources confirming that the Queen had met her granddaughter.
Her Majesty, who was nicknamed Lilibet as a child, was reportedly introduced to the little girl in Windsor after a private Royal Family lunch at Buckingham Palace.
The Sussexes, who are stayed at their old home Frogmore Cottage in Windsor while visiting from California, were not allowed on the Buckingham Palace balcony yesterday and instead watched proceedings from Horse Guards Parade.
The event in June was the couple’s first appearance with The Firm since the frosty Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in March 2020 shortly before they officially stepped down as senior royals.
It comes after a royal expert claimed that Prince Harry ‘doesn’t have great respect’ for the Duchess of Cornwall and has ‘no interest’ in ‘developing’ a relationship with her.
Read full story: