Today the Duke and Duchess of Sussex officially opened “Nelson Mandela: The Centenary Exhibition” in the Queen Elizabeth Hall at Southbank Centre.
Here you see the couple being welcomed by Lord Peter Hain, Chair of The Nelson Mandela Centenary Committee and Elaine Bedell, Chief Executive of Southbank Centre.
Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre. Queen Elizabeth Hall just reopened in April after three years of renovations.
The exhibit marks the centenary of the birth of the anti-apartheid leader who became South Africa’s first black president.
Meghan and Harry as they arrived today.
This is the first time the exhibit has been seen in the UK. More about it from Southbank Centre:
This exhibition explores the life and times of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918 – 2013) and marks the centenary of his birth. It provides insight into Mandela’s journey from young freedom fighter to becoming the inspiration for an international movement against South Africa’s violent and oppressive apartheid system, and an emblem of an ongoing struggle to build a more just and equitable world.
The exhibit is jointly curated by the Apartheid Museum in South Africa, the British Anti-Apartheid Movement Archives, and the Southbank Centre.
Peter Hain, a former anti-apartheid campaigner and chair of the Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition, said it was “very fitting” for the royal couple to visit because Harry does charitable work in southern Africa, and Meghan has said that Mandela is one of her heroes.
Below, Prince Harry in 2015, as he visited the Nelson Mandela Foundation Centre of Memory in Johannesburg.
And from The Telegraph‘s story:
Harry has visited a number of sites associated with Mandela, from his prison cell on Robben Island in 2008, where he was imprisoned for 18 years, to a tour of the statesman’s offices, where he met his widow Graca Machel, in 2015.
Harry with Graca Machel on that 2015 trip.
Back to today’s event, where the Duke and Duchess looked at the “Robben Island Bible,” which isn’t a bible at all.
More from the Times Literary Supplement:
The “bible” is in fact a copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare – smuggled into Robben Island prison in the 1970s – that has long held potent anti-Apartheid associations. It is disguised in Diwali paper, masquerading as a religious text; in it thirty-four prisoners have marked and autographed passages that are significant to them. Those prisoners include Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada and Mandela himself.
A closer look.
Harry and Meghan met 92-year-old Andrew Mlangeni, accused of sabotage against the then apartheid government in 1938. Mr. Mlangeni spent 26 years in the Robben Island prison.
The couple spoke with Mr. Mlangeni about the book.
The Duke and Duchess also met Paul and Adelaide Joseph, Anti-Apartheid activists and close friends of Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela.
Viewing more artifacts with Lord Hain.
Meghan and Harry with Zamaswazi Dlamini-Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter (in the red and white stripes.)
Ms. Dlamini-Mandela told The Mirror it was a “huge honor” to meet the couple.
The Mirror’s coverage has more on her reaction:
She said: “The thing I admire most about them is that they are activists and they go out of their way to put their name behind causes that are important to them.
“For me, I think it’s very admirable that they stand by causes and they put their name where their mouth is. They don’t just talk about it, you see them actually taking part and we are honoured that this is another one of the amazing projects that they like to support.
“They are from a family that has a legacy themselves but by supporting Nelson Mandela’s legacy it will have a huge effect throughout the world.”
Those at the special preview watched a performance by the Ubunye Choir.
A quick video.
Their Royal Highnesses hear a performance from the Ubunye Choir, which is made up of people from the South African diaspora. pic.twitter.com/BwcEC1gN36
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) July 17, 2018
Back to The Evening Standard piece:
If you are in the greater London area, the exhibit is open from 10 am – 11 pm daily. There is no admission charge and it runs through August 19th.
Now for our look at what Meghan wore, starting with her dress by NONIE, a Canadian label. The Duchess was in the brand’s Sleeveless Trench ($1085 CAD, that’s roughly $825 USD). It features a classic trench silhouette and details, minus the sleeves in a stretchy cotton/nylon/spandex fabric.
The dress is part of the Spring/Summer 2018 collection and is made to order with shipping worldwide. The company says to allow 4 – 6 weeks for production and delivery.
NONIE was launched in 2008 by computer engineer turned fashion designer, Nina Kharey. The label features tailored designs with an Eastern influence; the merchandise is manufactured in Canada. More from a news release:
NONIE…is a favourite among Canadian notables and has a roster of celebrity clients including Jessica Mulroney, Chantal Kreviazuk, Meghan Markle and Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau.”
This is the first Canadian apparel brand we’ve seen Meghan showcase at an engagement in quite some time. A Calgary Herald story shares Ms. Kharey’s reaction to news that Meghan was seen wearing the label:
“This is definitely a good step in the right direction, it’s definitely going to get me the international eyes that I need at the moment,” she said.
“Getting that royal stamp of approval is just huge…. It is tough doing this from Calgary but things like this, when the most famous woman in the world is wearing one of your dresses and looking amazing in it, it does wonders for a brand like mine.”
People reports “…the dress is actually a re-wear from her own closet. The duchess purchased it from the Calgary-based designer while living in Toronto, just before she moved to London in the fall of 2017.”
The bag is a Mulberry style we’ve seen Meghan carry before, the Clifton style.
It is a classic grained calf leather with three internal pockets and an adjustable shoulder chain; it measures about 7″ x 8.5″ with a depth of almost 3″. Meghan carries the bag in the rosewater colorway (originally £750/$1000, now £600, about $800). It is available in several other colors. One note, the Clifton is shown only on the UK website, but not the US site.
The Duchess wore Dior heels in the ‘Dioressence’ style. We show the shoe in a patent leather version while Meghan’s appear to be a nubuck leather.
It is a style that was introduced in 2016 and inspired by Dior’s classic heel design from the Spring 1959 collection. Our thanks to Heaven on Twitter for the shoe ID. We will update the post once we have more information on the shoe.
Meghan’s earrings are the Bee Chic studs by Birks ($270 CAD, about $205). UPDATE: The earrings are now sold out on the Birks site as they were a part of the sale.
This pair below from Amazon – the Sterling Silver Cubic Zirconia Cushion Cut Earring for $15.00 are a great #MatchMegStyle.
Thanks to WMW Facebook follower Jessica for the find!
We’re thinking the bracelet Meghan is wearing is one by Zofia Day – the Open Diamond Cuff, $1200.
Meghan is also wearing her Catbird Jewelry ‘Threadbare’ rings in yellow gold stacking rings, $44 and one that we discovered she has had since around 2014 which we think may be the Adina Reyter Pave Flat Bar Ring in diamonds and yellow gold, $595.
This is the last scheduled engagement on the Duke and Duchess’s calendar. We expect to hear about more engagements in the next few days.
We’ll leave you with this 2:20 video recapping today’s event.
Prince Harry and Meghan were shown around the Nelson Mandela centenary exhibition at London’s Southbank centre. #PrinceHarryandMeghan#RoyalFamily pic.twitter.com/ERTorrXl9x
— The Royal Family Channel (@RoyalFamilyITNP) July 17, 2018
- Learn more about the exhibit by visiting the Southbank Centre website here; the Facebook page is here; the Centre’s Instagram page is here and Twitter feed here
- The Daily Telegraph’s story is here; The Mirror’s coverage is here; The Daily Mail’s story is here
- Read more about the Robben Island Bible in this CNN story; The Evening Standard’s story about the exhibit is here
- The Fug Girls slideshow is here; a PopSugar fashion slideshow is here; PopSugar’s gallery on the visit to the Exhibit itself is here