Meghan Markle and Prince Harry paid a heartfelt tribute to Desmond Tutu who died on Sunday aged 90. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex recalled the touching moment their son Archie met the Archbishop of South Africa in what became one of his final public engagements.
They described the anti-Apartheid campaigner as an “icon for racial justice” and praised his life’s work in a statement released on Sunday.
It read: “Archbishop Tutu will be remembered for his optimism, his moral clarity, and his joyful spirit. “He was an icon for racial justice and beloved across the world. It was only two years ago that he held our son, Archie, while we were in South Africa.
“‘Arch and The Arch’ he had joked, his infectious laughter ringing through the room, relaxing anyone in his presence.
He remained a friend and will be sorely missed by all.”
Tutu was instrumental in the dismantlement of Apartheid and witnessed its end in 1994.
Archie was just four months old when he was introduced to the Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 2019.
It marked Archie’s first official engagement as part of Meghan and Harry’s royal tour of South Africa. The event at Cape Town’s Old Granary building highlighted the work being done by the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation which promotes discussions about social justice.
Tutu fought tirelessly against apartheid, South Africa’s regime of oppression against its black citizens. The world famous clergyman campaigned internationally for racial justice and LGBTQ rights.
He was also the first black bishop of Johannesburg and later became the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, earning his nickname “The Arch.”
Tutu retired from public life in 2010 but continued to do charity work through the foundation and speak out on particular issues. He also chaired a Truth and Reconciliation Commission which was founded to unearth atrocities committed under Apartheid.
But fighting Apartheid was just one of many good causes he championed during his lifetime.
In 2008, he accused the West of complicity in Palestinian suffering by remaining silent and in 2013, he declared his support for gay rights, saying he would never “worship a God who is homophobic”.