The Heartbreaking Reason Prince Harry Is ‘Deeply Connected’ to Africa

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have a packed agenda for their 10-day royal tour of Africa and, during one of Harry’s engagements on the tour, he explained why he has such a meaningful connection to Africa — Botswana, in particular.

Prince Harry in Botswana
Prince Harry | Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

The Sussexes embarked on a royal tour

Prince Harry and Markle officially announced the details of their tour to Africa, taking to their Instagram account to share that they would “embark on this official tour focusing on community, grassroots leadership, women’s and girls’ rights, mental health, HIV/AIDS and the environment.”

The Instagram post explained: “This programme has been many months in the making, and The Duke and Duchess are eager to focus their energies on the great work being done in Southern Africa. From meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu to joining ‘Waves for Change’ on Monwabisi Beach, the South Africa programme will be educational and inspiring.”

Their work on the tour, the post noted, would include Prince Harry working “to continue the legacy left by his mother with her work in Angola as he joins Halo Trust again in an effort to rid the world of landmines. HRH will also travel to Malawi where he will check in on the British Army’s partnership with African Parks and will be working on the ground supporting local communities.”

Prince Harry visits Botswana

The Instagram post about their tour further noted that Prince Harry “is particularly proud to be able to deliver an exciting new initiative, a Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy three-country partnership which he designed and consulted with Governments in Namibia, Botswana and Angola to protect forest and wildlife corridors around the Okavango Delta.”

During his stop in Botswana on the royal tour, Prince Harry shared just how special it is to him there. He had initially visited Botswana after his mother, Princess Diana, died — and it provided the escape he needed.

He explained: “Fifteen years I’ve been coming here, it’s a sense of escapism— a real sense of purpose… I have some of my closest friends here over the years. I came here in 1997 or 1998 straight after my mum died, so it was a nice place to get away from it all.”

Prince Harry added that he felt “deeply connected to this place and to Africa.”

Princess Diana had visited Africa several times and walked through an active minefield in Angola the same year as her passing.

Prince Harry also shared his love for Botswana with his wife, Meghan Markle, taking her there for her 36th birthday before they got married. Markle’s engagement ring has a significant connection as well — its center stone is from Botswana.

Harry speaks about conservation

During his visit, Prince Harry spoke more about the importance of saving the planet, remarking: “There’s an emergency… it’s a race against time and one which we are losing. Everyone knows it. There’s no excuse for not knowing that and the most troubling part of that is that I don’t believe that there’s anybody in this world that can deny science — undeniable science and facts — science and facts that have been around for the last 30, maybe 40, years and it’s only getting stronger and stronger.”

He continued: “I don’t understand how anyone in this world, whoever we are, you, us, children, leaders, whoever it is, no one can deny science, otherwise we live in a very, very troubling world.”