I updated yesterday’s post about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the United Nations. They arrived at the UN in the morning to watch the whole Nelson Mandela Day celebration. Harry was the keynote speaker and his speech was amazing. But first, some fashion notes! Meghan’s skirt and top were Givenchy, her tote was Mulberry (which she’s used before) and her shoes were Manolos. That tote is fab and she has a very similar ensemble in green, which she wore on the Sussexes’ tour of Ireland several years ago. Now, here is Harry’s speech again:
It’s a really great speech. I was moved! He made it personal but he wasn’t afraid to speak politically too, which has (obviously) destroyed the British hivemind. He spoke of what Africa means to him, saying: “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.” SOULMATE! As for the politics:
Harry called the current moment a “time of global uncertainty and division, when it’s all too easy to look around and feel anger or despair. How many of us feel battered, helpless in the face of the seemingly endless stream of disasters and devastation?”
Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Harry called 2022 a “painful year in a painful decade.”
Harry called out “a few weaponizing lies and disinformation at the expense of the many.” Saying the United States is seeing a “rolling back of constitutional rights,” Harry told the General Assembly, “We are witnessing a global assault on democracy and freedom — the cause of Mandela’s life.”
“As we sit here today, our world is on fire … again,” Harry said. The climate change crisis, he said “will only grow worse unless our leaders lead, unless the countries represented by the seats in this hallowed hall make the decisions — the daring, transformative decisions — that our world needs to save humanity.”
“These decisions may not fit with the agendas of every political party. They may invite resistance from powerful interests. But the right thing to do is not up for debate, and neither is the science,” said Harry, who as a member of the royal family was expected to maintain political neutrality.
“This is a pivotal moment — a moment when multiple converging crises have given way to an endless string of injustices,” Harry said during his keynote speech. “We can do what Mandela did every, single day behind that 7.9 foot prison cell on Robben Island and every day outside of it, too. We can find meaning and purpose in the struggle. We can wear our principles as armor. We have an obligation to give as much, if not more, than we take. And never shudder in the face of darkness. The hope is the fuel that courage requires. Let’s seek out what we have in common, empower all people to reclaim our democracy and harness the light of Mandela’s memory to illuminate the way forward.”
As you can imagine, the Mail and other British outlets are freaking out about Harry “wading into politics again.” But what struck me is that he isn’t speaking as a British prince about British politics. He’s speaking as an immigrant in America with skin in the game, committed to doing the work to make the American political situation better for his American children.
Amb. Joyini greets #MandelaDay2022 guests of honour, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex who took part in today’s #MandelaDay celebration at UNHQ, with Prince Harry delivering touching remarks about Madiba’s life and legacy! pic.twitter.com/H4QBGThunZ
— South Africa at the UN (@SAMissionNY) July 18, 2022
It's intimacy, complicity and love language for me pic.twitter.com/uuQHMki85E
— Julieth ❀ (@troubleshade) July 18, 2022
Photos courtesy of Getty.