You’ll Never Guess What Country the British Royal Family Considers Its Home Away From Home (Hint: It’s Not Scotland)
With castles and estates across England (and even in Scotland), the British royal family has many options for a home away from home. But none quite compare to Africa. Home to countless family memories, charity work, and more, Africa — specifically, Kenya, Botswana, and South Africa — holds a special place in the hearts of royal family members.
Curious to know more? We share all the ways the British royal family is connected to the continent, ahead.
1. Prince Harry is co-founder of an African charity that honors the work his mother did
In honor of their late mothers — who were both involved in charity work surrounding AIDS in Africa — Prince Harry and Lesotho’s Prince Seeiso founded an African charity called Sentebale. It focuses on AIDS orphans in South Africa and Botswana in 2006.
Next: Prince William and Kate Middleton’s special connection to Kenya
2. Prince William and Kate Middleton got engaged while vacationing near Mount Kenya
While vacationing in South Africa near Mount Kenya, Prince William popped the question to then-girlfriend Kate Middleton in October 2010. He had been carrying his mother’s sapphire engagement ring in his rucksack for three weeks before deciding on the perfect moment.
Next: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle vacationed in this African country after just two dates.
3. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle fell in love in Botswana
Prince William and Kate Middleton aren’t the only royal couple with romantic memories of Africa. It’s where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle fell in love. After just two dates together, the couple went on a whirlwind trip to Botswana, where they camped under the stars at Meno a Kwena in Maun.
Next: The queen has a monumental connection to this southern African country.
4. Queen Elizabeth II became queen while on a royal tour in Kenya
Africa doesn’t hold the same kinds of happy memories for the queen. In 1952, while on a royal tour in Kenya, Prince Philip broke news of her father’s death. Subsequently, Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II.
Next: How Prince Harry included Africa in his proposal to Meghan Markle
5. Meghan Markle’s engagement diamond is from Botswana
It’s no secret that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have a special place in their hearts for Botswana. So naturally, when it came time to design an engagement ring for Markle, the prince selected a diamond from the place they fell in love.
Next: How Princess Diana plays a role in the princes’ love for Africa
6. Africa was an escape for Prince William and Prince Harry after Princess Diana’s death
After their mother’s death, the young princes accompanied their father on a trip to Africa for their first time in 1997. It was then that they first fell in love with the continent.
Next: Prince William’s love for animals also has significance.
7. Prince William is passionate about animal conservation
Like his mother, Prince William has a deep passion for animal conservation. He has advocated on behalf of the continent’s beautiful wildlife through charities and funding efforts.
Next: Prince Harry’s animal conservation efforts are quite impressive.
8. Prince Harry once helped relocate 500 elephants in Malawi
Prince William isn’t the only one with a love for African animals. Prince Harry’s heart is also in animal conservation. In fact, the prince once helped relocate 500 elephants from Malawi to the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve to protect them from conflict with humans. The journey was about 200 miles.
Next: The princes once lived in this African country.
9. Prince William and Prince Harry each spent their gap years in Kenya
The princes have traveled countless times to South Africa (and other surrounding southern countries), but it was during their gap years that they discovered their true love for the continent.
Next: Prince William replaced the queen in this important role.
10. Prince William is royal patron of The Royal African Society
Their work in Africa has earned them important roles in some of Africa’s most prominent charities and organizations. In February 2017, the queen stepped down as royal patron of The Royal African Society and named Prince William, who is second in line to the throne, the new royal patron.
Next: His duties don’t end there.
11. He is also patron of the elephant charity Tusk
In addition to being royal patron of The Royal African Society, Prince William is also a patron of the continent’s elephant conservation charity Tusk.
Next: The African country Prince Harry considers his home away from home.
12. Prince Harry considers Botswana a second home
Like other members of the royal family, Prince Harry considers southern Africa — specifically, the country of Botswana — his second home.
Next: Meghan Markle had ties to Africa before she met Prince Harry.
13. Meghan Markle has charitable ties there, too
In 2016, the royal bride-to-be visited the country of Rwanda with World Vision Canada. She advocated for clean water.
Next: Prince Harry has a new charitable focus.
14. Prince Harry is royal patron of Rhino Conservation Botswana
Like his brother, Prince Harry is also uses his royal status to help with conservation efforts. In 2017, the prince was named royal patron of Rhino Conservation Botswana.
Next: The real reason Prince William and Prince Harry love Africa so much.
15. Africa is where Prince William and Prince Harry claim to feel most like themselves
Another reason Africa is so special to the princes? It’s where they feel most like themselves. In 2013, Prince William gushed about his favorite place to CNN, saying, “It’s escaping to a kind of different world where I am just who I normally am anyways, and I can let that side, that sort of slightly immature, silly person come out a bit more than I normally do.”
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