Prince Harry Says Africa Is "In His Soul"

The Duke of Sussex took Meghan Markle to Botswana for the couple's third official date.

lix Lebec, Founder & CEO of Lebec, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Co-Founding Patron of Sentebale and Dr. Sophie Chandauka MBE, Chair of Sentebale, Founder and Chair of Nandi Life Sciences speak during the Sentebale ‘Potential is Waiting’ panel discussion, followed by a seated dinner at Zaytinya of the José Andrés Group at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on April 11, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Prince Harry is opening up about the many reasons why the continent of Africa means so much to him.

On April 11, during a panel discussion titled "Potential is Waiting" held at the restaurant Zaytinya in the Ritz Carlton Hotel in South Beach, Florida, the Duke of Sussex said "Africa's in my heart, and Africa's in my soul."

"I first went there when I was 12, 13 years old, and after so many years, I wanted to give back to it because it had given me so much," the prince continued. "The vast open space, the cultures, the community, the people, the wildlife, just the freedom was a huge piece of why I loved Africa so much."

The panel discussion was held as part of a charity event co-founded by Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho in 2006, with the goal of helping children and young people living in Lesotho and Botswana negatively affected by poverty, inequality and HIV/AIDS.

Alix Lebec, Founder & CEO of Lebec, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Co-Founding Patron of Sentebale and Dr. Sophie Chandauka MBE, Chair of Sentebale, Founder and Chair of Nandi Life Sciences speak during the Sentebale ‘Potential is Waiting’ panel discussion, followed by a seated dinner at Zaytinya of the José Andrés Group at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on April 11, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida.

Alix Lebec, Founder & CEO of Lebec, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Co-Founding Patron of Sentebale and Dr. Sophie Chandauka MBE, Chair of Sentebale, Founder and Chair of Nandi Life Sciences speak during the Sentebale ‘Potential is Waiting’ panel discussion, followed by a seated dinner at Zaytinya of the José Andrés Group at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on April 11, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The April 11 conversation focused primarily on the various ways in which funds can be distributed to best support the next generation as they continue to grow up and live in the southern region of the continent.

For the uninitiated, Sentebale—the name of the charity Prince Harry co-founded—translates to “forget-me-not” in the country's national language. Forget-me-not flowers were also the late Princess Diana's favorite, People reports.

"It's really focused on ensuring that the younger generation are quite literally not forgotten," Prince Harry continued during the panel discussion. "At the heart of Sentebale, what we've always believed, is that every single young person should have a chance at a better future."

Alix Lebec, Founder & CEO of Lebec, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Co-Founding Patron of Sentebale, Dr. Sophie Chandauka MBE, Chair of Sentebale, Founder and Chair of Nandi Life Sciences, Hector Mujica, Head of Economic Opportunity for the Americas at Google.org and Sam Bakhshandehpour, President, CEO and Board Member of José Andrés Group speak during the Sentebale ‘Potential is Waiting’ panel discussion, followed by a seated dinner at Zaytinya of the José Andrés Group at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on April 11, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida.

Alix Lebec, Founder & CEO of Lebec, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Co-Founding Patron of Sentebale, Dr. Sophie Chandauka MBE, Chair of Sentebale, Founder and Chair of Nandi Life Sciences, Hector Mujica, Head of Economic Opportunity for the Americas at Google.org and Sam Bakhshandehpour, President, CEO and Board Member of José Andrés Group speak during the Sentebale ‘Potential is Waiting’ panel discussion, followed by a seated dinner at Zaytinya of the José Andrés Group at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on April 11, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The continent of Africa has played a major role in Prince Harry's life. Not only did the prince make multiple trips as a child and young adult, as he discussed on the panel, but he took his wife, Meghan Markle, to Botswana for the couple's third official date in 2016.

“I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana. We camped out with each other under the stars. She came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic,” Harry said after the couple announced their engagement. “So then we were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure that we had a chance to know each other.”

Danielle Campoamor
Weekend Editor

Danielle Campoamor is Marie Claire's weekend editor covering all things news, celebrity, politics, culture, live events, and more. In addition, she is an award-winning freelance writer and former NBC journalist with over a decade of digital media experience covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mortality and mental health, gun violence, climate change, politics, celebrity news, culture, online trends, wellness, gender-based violence and other feminist issues. You can find both her work in The New York Times, Washington Post, New York Magazine, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, TODAY, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, Mother Jones, Prism, Newsweek and more. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two feral sons. When she is not writing, editing or doom scrolling she enjoys reading, cooking, debating current events and politics, traveling to Seattle to see her dear friends and losing Pokémon battles against her ruthless offspring. You can find her on X, Instagram, Threads, Facebook and all the places.