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

Prince Harry addresses guests at a dinner after the Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup

He helped found the charity. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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

He carried the ring around his bag for three weeks. | Arthur Edwards-WPA Pool/Getty Images

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

Botswana sunset

The couple spent their third date camping under the stars in Botswana. | stillwords/iStock/Getty Images

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

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh

Prince Philip had to break the news to Elizabeth. | Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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

Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle during an official photocall to announce their engagement

The diamonds each have different sentimental values. | Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

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

Former husband of Diana Prince Charles (L) and their two sons Harry (C) and William

The princes and their father took a healing trip to Africa. | Joel Robine/AFP/Getty Images

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

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Royal Patron of Tusk and President of United For Wildlife

The prince works to add trackers to help prevent poaching. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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 Harry with Elephant in Malawi

He helped with identifying and herding the animals into their new home. | The Royal Family

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

Prince William and Harry Visit Botswana - Day 2

They both fell in love with the continent. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L), and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

William and Kate host charity galas to support the organization. | Peter Nicholls/AFP/Getty Images

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

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge speaks during a gala night in aid of the conservation charity

Prince William is the patron of Tusk. | Peter Nicholls/AFP/Getty Images

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

Britain's Prince Harry (R) meets Tlotlo Moilwa from Botswana

He considers Botswana like a second home. | Stefan Rousseau/AFP/Getty Images

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

Meghan Markle World Vision Canada Rwanda

She was advocating there for clean water. | World Vision Canada via YouTube

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

Prince Harry looks at the carcass of a rhino

Harry wants to protect the endangered species from poachers. | Paul Edwards-Pool/Getty Images

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

Prince Harry and Prince William hold an African rock python

The brothers truly come alive on the content. | Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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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