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In 2015, a year before the prince met his future wife, Harry visited Mandela’s former prison cell in Robben Island, where the activist was imprisoned for the first 18 of his 27 years in jail before the fall of apartheid.

Prince Charles, Nelson Mandela and the Spice Girls in Johannesburg, South Africa

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Harry’s mother, the late Diana, Princess of Wales, memorably met Mandela in South Africa in March 1997, just five months before her tragic death. At the time, Mandela described Diana’s efforts to help those with AIDS as high admirable, saying: ‘We saw her sitting on the beds of AIDS patients and shaking hands with them, and that changed perceptions dramatically with regards to the disease.’ Diana reportedly said that she was ‘absolutely thrilled’ to meet the South African president. 

The Queen and Prince Philip with President Mandela 

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