The Sussexes

Action-packed day for Prince Harry as he bestows Desmond Tutu with Companion of Honour award

Prince Harry has finished his first full day of engagements in Cape Town, South Africa as he continues his tour of the country.

The Prince, who is visiting on the request of the Government, met with the retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu this morning and presented him with the prestigious Companion of Honour award.

Dressed smartly in a blue suit, Harry met the iconic peace campaigner at the offices of The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. Discussing their previous meeting in 2014, the two men chatted about the former South African President Nelson Mandela. The last time the pair met was during a Remembrance service at Westminster Abbey for the late President.

Tutu commended Harry on his charity efforts in Lesotho, saying: “I am very touched by your commitment to Lesotho. I taught at the university there and became Bishop of Lesotho. It has always had a very soft spot in our hearts, just wonderful that you and the English are helping, thank you very much.”

After a short time discussing the Foundation’s work, the Prince presented the cleric with the prestigious Companion of Honour medal, which recognises his services to UK Communities and International Peace and Reconciliation. The Archbishop is no stranger to major awards, having already been honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and numerous peace prizes since.

Both men shared smiles and laughter as they walked outside to the balcony where the Archbishop addressed the assembled media. Smartly dressed in his crimson vestments and wearing the award, Tutu thanked Harry warmly and asked him to pass on “my deep thanks to Her Majesty.”

After the event, he tweeted: “Thank you @BritishMonarchy for the Order of the #CompanionsofHonour, and for your delightful grandson, Prince Harry.”

He will join host of other well-known names in the Order including former Prime Minster Sir John Major, television veteran Sir David Attenborough and actress Dame Maggie Smith.

Harry continued his day of engagements at the Ottery Youth Centre, chatting with youngsters about gang involvement in the region and what the centre was doing to help keep young people safe. He toured the facilities and viewed two murals which encouraged children at the site to respect their peers.

Speaking openly to those using the centre, he admitted that he hadn’t enjoyed school and that he’d “like to have come to a place like this.” He also joked that, although a younger brother, he was the “cooler brother” out of him and William. Both attended Eton College near Windsor when they were younger.

The children at the centre presented the Prince with a special gift, made during their wood crafting classes. The wood carving, which depicts Harry as a child with mother Diana, was a poignant tribute, given just days after he opened up about the pain he felt following her death.

The final visit for Harry was an embargoed visit to Khayelistsha, one of South Africa’s most dangerous areas. The town, which has the highest murder rate of any in the country, is also home to the Football for Hope Centre where the Prince spent the afternoon joining youngsters in a friendly kick-about and chatted to those coaching about their work.

The centre aims to highlight and raise awareness of HIV and gets youngsters talking about the diseases through its collaborative sporting environment. Having changed into something more casual, Harry showed his sporting skills and delighted four-year-old Sinentlvntla Jacobs as he playfully swung her around by the arms during the visit.

The little girl found Harry’s farewell too much to handle though, clearly showing her devastation as she cried when she had to let go of his hand.

The Prince will continue his tour in Durban tomorrow where he’ll undertake two engagements focused on the use of sport for social development for young people. In the morning, Harry will meet beneficiaries of a rugby exchange scheme between the UK and South Africa followed by a visit to a project using sport to work with hard to reach young people.

About author

James is Royal Central's Director of Broadcasting and Communications. He's a recognised royal commentator and correspondent and has experience with numerous TV and radio networks including the BBC, ITV, Sky, CNN and MSNBC among others.