Queen Elizabeth enjoyed a “warm friendship” with then-President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, who once joked about his weight on a visit to Buckingham Palace – an unprecedented freedom that attests to the strong bond between the freedom fighter. and the monarch, said Mandela’s private secretary.
Mandela, who once sat in the same horse-drawn royal carriage with the Queen through the streets of London, wore a suit during his first visit to Buckingham Palace in 1995, before adopting his African-inspired shirts that helped defy strict restrictions. royals reserved for other dignitaries when meeting the queen.
“They had a very warm friendship,” Zelda la Grange, Mandela’s private secretary from 1994 to 2013, said on Friday.
“They shared a sense of duty, a sense of service and a calling that they adhered to throughout their lives, and there was a deep respect between the two of them and I think that was the basis of the connection between the two people, having an appreciation for tradition. within their own nations,” La Grange told Reuters.
In the years following his release from Robben Island Prison and becoming South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Mandela cultivated a close relationship with the Queen, hosting her in South Africa and visiting her in England and the Palace of Buckingham.
The two global icons often spoke on the phone and used their first names as a mutual sign of respect and affection, said the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
“There are a few anecdotes, but what stands out is that we were at Buckingham Palace once. Approaching the Queen, Mandela had a very keen sense of humor. So he walked up to the Queen and when he saw her he said: ‘Elizabeth, you’ve lost weight!’ and the queen burst out laughing. I think he was the only person in the world who could comment on the queen’s weight and get away with it,” La Grange said.
Mandela also had a special name for the queen: Motlalepula, which means to come with rain and was given as a symbol of “our affection to Her Majesty”, said the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Explaining the significance to Prince Charles at a banquet in his honor in 1997, Mandela said the name was bestowed on the Queen because her visit to South Africa two years earlier coincided with torrential rains South Africa had not experienced in a long time.
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Translated to english by RJ983
From Brazil, by EBC News