by Will Lloyd
Tuesday, 19
July 2022
Reaction
11:51

Prince Harry becomes Mandela in UN speech

The exiled royal even tried out a South African accent
by Will Lloyd
Why does this man have a microphone?

Touching down in New York for Mandela Day, Prince Harry did what any other concerned private citizen would do, and headed to the UN to make a speech. His theme was hope, and his theme was Africa. More the imaginary country that exists in the heads of a certain caste of Englishman than the actual continent.

The Prince has deep roots there. Harry has a picture on his wall of his mother meeting Nelson Mandela. He is the patron of a charity that protects Rhinos.

And it was in Africa that the late Princess Diana appeared to Harry as a jungle cat. Ok, ok: that happened in Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance, a made-for-TV movie. (The Mail described the scene as “emotional”.) But the difference between Harry’s life and basement-scraping scripted dramas is thin, and becoming thinner all the time.

Much of his work is based in Africa, he said, though he was coy on whether this was the Spotify deal, or the Netflix one. Anyway: “despite continued hardship, there are people across Africa who embody Mandela’s spirit and ideals — building on the progress he helped make possible.”

The spirit of Mandela’s South Africa was there in Botswana (a relatively similar country to South Africa, sure), where Harry realised that he had found a “soulmate for life” in Meghan Markle. The country —no, the continent, or was it Botswana? — was a “lifeline”. A place of peace and healing. Paying the ultimate tribute to Mandela, Harry delivered the entire speech in a peculiarly South African accent.

Were they so different really? A room in a castle, a cell on Robben Island; we can be assured that history will look back and see two freedom fighters. The teenage Harry probably would have completed this tribute by blacking-up, but he is, as he tries to remind us so often with these stunts, a changed man.

Out of Africa, Harry sounded somewhat Old Testament prophet about the global struggle for democracy, abortion rights, and climate change. In some places the water is “quite literally rising”. (Figurative rising will occur at 4 degrees warming.) This has been a “painful year in a painful decade” said the Duke.

What Harry says doesn’t really matter. You can read it in the comment pages of the Guardian on any given day. Sometimes it will even make more sense than this speech. More interesting is his transition — not from Prince to private citizen, or from Prince to influencer — from institutional somebody to celebrity anybody. This is a very contemporary journey (see also: Rory Stewart.)

Inside an institution, you are a somebody. You have a role there. The role is governed by rules; it requires boring, private, sedulous work, and it asks tiny but irritating every day sacrifices of you to fulfil. Frustrated, you exchange this for being a celebrity anybody. The rules, the sacrifices, and the glamourless work are gone. Instead: you make content for a variety of distribution channels. You make deals with brands. You become a brand. Harry has exchanged the solidity (and inanity) of a proscribed role for this hamster wheel. It’s another kind of pressure, another kind of hell.

“Here was a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders”, Harry said about Mandela. He sounded as if he was describing himself.

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Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 month ago

I presume that everyone in Africa was busy yesterday. If not, getting Harry to give a speech in memory of Mandela was the biggest insult possible to Africa and South Africa in particular.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 month ago

Hmm. Easy to mock, but surely well-intentioned.

stephen archer
stephen archer
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

I’m not sure he has the faintest idea what his intentions are.

Mirax Path
Mirax Path
29 days ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Good intentions are the cheapest commodity.

Nick Croft
Nick Croft
29 days ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

There’s an old phrase about the paving on the road to hell that springs to mind.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 month ago

Just as delusional as his mother
Any chance we could strip him of his citizenship like we did to the Begum person

Last edited 1 month ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Cantab Man
Cantab Man
1 month ago

Harry (aka ‘cub Mowgli’) should have first spoken with Barack Obama. Barack solved the problem of rising oceans long ago:

“…this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal …”

~Barack Obama upon wining the Democratic nomination for Presidency in 2008

Obama was so successful stopping the rise of oceans that he felt comfortable buying his $15 million home at sea level upon Martha’s Vineyard. Before that we had Al Gore who also purchased his beachfront home after the success of his movie “An Inconvenient Truth.”

…the phrase “there’s a sucker born every minute” comes to mind. Anyhoo, back to Harry….

Last edited 1 month ago by Cantab Man
Jacquie Watson
Jacquie Watson
27 days ago
Reply to  Cantab Man

Ouch, snap!!

Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago

I cannot imagine any problem for which I would solicit advice from Harry Windsor. I tend to look for experience, judgement and some track record of such advice working in practice in such matters.
“Those who can do. Those who can’t preach”.

Jacquie Watson
Jacquie Watson
27 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

Yes he talks the talk well.

Matt M
Matt M
1 month ago

When I read that he had told the UN that we witnessing an “attack on democracy and freedom”, I thought – good for you Harry standing up to the ECHR for blocking a democratic government from carrying out the wishes of the public!

Turned out to be something else.

Melissa Martin
Melissa Martin
1 month ago

Joking aside, it’s very sad. There was a lovely photo a few years ago of him swinging a little blind orphan in his arms as he beamed with delight, Now he’s just another greedy celebrity.

Last edited 1 month ago by Melissa Martin
Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 month ago

The global mean sea level has been rising at a steady 20cm per century for … well … centuries.

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
1 month ago

I’m not sure why you mentioned sea level rise but spot on. I looked into this a little while ago and kept coming up with Guardian headlines such as “Sea Levels to rise by 20feet.”
I wondered if this prediction was based on modelling such as we’ve seen with the pandemic.

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
1 month ago

I couldn’t believe it when I heard this. WTF

Adam McDermont
Adam McDermont
1 month ago

Harry’s stock will fall and fall I think. He will be happy to be presenting the MOBOs in a few years.
The Heritage Site | Adam McDermont | Substack

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
1 month ago
Reply to  Adam McDermont

Ooh, do you think he’ll try his hand at Ebonics?

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
1 month ago

Never a bad day when Will Lloyd’s found a fresh target.

Michael S-Weissmann
Michael S-Weissmann
29 days ago

Can’t help feeling sorry for the bloke. He was caught in pink of his grieving rage by a narcissist who purported to offer him a means of expressing himself. But in reality she only wanted to express herself.

Jacquie Watson
Jacquie Watson
27 days ago

Sums it up well, but I don’t feel sorry for him. He’s all grown up and shouldn’t try to channel his mother through his wife.

E. L. Herndon
E. L. Herndon
29 days ago

Pathetic really, to be such a lost soul, and in the public eye. He seems to be bent on recapitulating his great-uncle’s image as a sad parody of the possibilities well-wishers once believed in, or at least hoped for. The gravitas bandwidth just isn’t there. Benign inattention to his desperate antics may be the best program from now on.

Thomas Gibson
Thomas Gibson
26 days ago
Reply to  E. L. Herndon

Great-great-uncle, perhaps?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
27 days ago

Legendary story from my Norfolk shooting mates at what fun Meghan was…. to take the p… out of, with het po faced woke, standard reactions, which of course they had great sport seeing which ones they could trigger a response to….. They were horrified and amused in equal measures as to how Harry cowed like a lap dog cum frightened rabbit at tye same time!

Nicholas Rynn
Nicholas Rynn
24 days ago

I’m surprised they had the collective intelligence to keep the jolly good game going for longer than 5 minutes.

Carol Moore
Carol Moore
27 days ago

Very amusing – or it would be if it weren’t sad.

Jacquie Watson
Jacquie Watson
27 days ago

Thanks Will a jolly funny read.