Meghan and Harry spend their day opening the Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.
The couple arrived all smiling
The free exhibition explored the life and times (1918 – 2013) of the Nelson Mandela in the year marking the centenary of his birth. It is based around six different themes – character, comrade, leader, prisoner, negotiator and statesman. It is jointly curated by the Apartheid Museum in South Africa, the British Anti-Apartheid Movement Archives, and the Southbank Centre.
Upon their arrival, Harry and Meghan were welcomed by crowds of people as well as Lord Peter Hain, Chair of The Nelson Mandela Centenary Committee and Elaine Bedell, CEO of the Centre.
Harry’s attendance at the opening that day, follows his 2008 tour of Africa, where he paid a visit to the prison cell in Robben Island which was Nelson Mandela’s home for 18 years.
The Telegraph reported that an Army colleague said at the time:
‘Harry has read Mandela’s autobiography and idolises him,’
And again during a Royal visit to South Africa back in 2015, Harry visited the archives at the Nelson Mandela Foundation Centre of Memory in Johannesburg. During the tour Harry also met Nelson Mandela’s widow Graca Machel at the Centre and gave this speech saying:
“These organisations, which include the Nelson Mandela Foundation, are empowering the next generation of engaged South African citizens.”
With the main purpose of destroying the Apartheid government in the country, Nelson Mandela was the president of South Africa from 1994-1999. He was the first black president of South Africa, and the first president to be elected in a fully representative election. His government focused on racial segregation enforced by the law. He studied a law himself, making him one of South Africa’s first black lawyers.
Below is a picture of The Queen and the late Duke of Edinburg with Nelson Mandela during a reception at Buckingham Palace, that marked the centenary of the Rhodes Trust, started by the 19th century entrepreneur, Cecil John Rhodes, which provides scholarships for students around the world to study at Oxford University. According to Zindzi Mandela, his daughter, he was such good friends with the Queen, he called her “Lizzie”.
Meghan and Harry then made their way inside the exhibition
Harry and Meghan then viewed some of the items displayed in the exhibit and mingled with Anti-Apartheid activists and close friends of Mandela.
Meghan and Harry got the chance to meet the 92-year-old Andrew Mlangeni, who stood on trial accused of sabotage against the then apartheid government in 1938 and spent 26 years in prison with Nelson Mandela on Robben Island.
They also saw some of the items in the exhibition, including the Robben Island Bible – which was actually a copy of Shakespeare plays disguised as a Bible.
They also meet Nelson Mandela’s friends Paul and Adelaide Joseph. Paul was just 16 when he became an activist and was jailed. He then became an amnesty prisoner of conscience – and fled to Britain in 1965, where he and his family obtained political refugee status.
Since then he’s been dedicating his life to the anti-apartheid campaign in exile, saving the lives of hundreds of South African detainees.
Meghan and Harry also met Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela.
‘Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter said today that the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s stance on ‘justice and fairness in the world makes them a shining example for the youth of today’.
“Today’s event is hugely significant – not only because we are here to celebrate the life of a great man in history, but also because we are able to educate the next generation, that we must never repeat the mistakes of the past. The visit of Their Royal Highnesses Harry and Meghan is a great honor. I hope by being here today they can be huge advocates for the exhibition so that as many people as possible can learn about what my grandfather was about.
The thing I admire most about them is that they are activists, and they go out of their way to put their name behind causes that are important to them.
They are young people who want to go out and really make a difference and stand out for certain things that are really important and highlight certain causes that they are passionate about.
For me, I think it’s very admirable that they stand by causes and they put their name where their mouth is. They don’t just talk about it; you see them actually taking part and we are honored that this is another one of the amazing projects that they like to support.
They are from a family that has a legacy themselves but by supporting Nelson Mandela’s legacy it will have a huge effect throughout the world.
“Our families have a great history and a shared legacy together and it’s important as us young people to make sure we carry that legacy forward.”
Meghan and Harry heard a performance from the Ubunye Choir, which is made up of people from the South African diaspora.
They heard speeches by the same people who welcomed them, Lord Peter Hain, Chair of The Nelson Mandela Centenary Committee, and Elaine Bedell, CEO of Southbank Centre, before joining those present in celebrating the official opening of the exhibition.
Meghan and Harry leaving:
A video from the day:
Meghan wore a stunning sleeveless trench dress by ethical Canadian label House of Nonie.
From their website: ”This sleeveless trench is cut from a stretchy mid-weight cotton blend fabric and features an open detail in the back and front tying straps.”
The brand was launched by designer Nina Kharey and during a Q&A with HelloMagazine she said:
“Have you been experiencing the “Meghan Effect”? It’s just been crazy. I was telling my PR that I woke up with [my phone] battery at 100 per cent and by 9 am I had to plug it in because it was dying. My Instagram has blown up, [and] my emails, and I can just imagine how the orders are looking at the moment!
Did Meghan’s friend and stylist Jessica Mulroney pull the piece for her to wear? [Jessica has] been a client of a few of my pieces and she’s also a strong advocate for Canadian designers, so I’m sure she showed her my look book and then that’s how it started.
Why is it so amazing to see those two women wearing your designs? They both are amazing women. I love supporting other women and I love dressing strong, influential women and I would love for it to happen again. I am relishing in this; I’m enjoying the moment!
How do your designs fit with Meghan’s aesthetic and signature style? I believe in less is more, and I’ve always designed simple pieces – pieces that have longevity in your closet. And it seems like that’s how she dresses as well. She’s very classic, she’s very chic and she’s very well put together with just even one piece. That’s always been my thing with designing. I want whoever is wearing it to feel extremely confident, just by wearing even one of the pieces.”
Meghan paired the piece with a matching pink Mulberry Clifton Bag in Rosewater Classic Grain:
And a pair of Dior ‘Dioressence’ nude pumps
She accessorized her ourfit with the Birks Bee Chic White Quartz Stud Earrings