Ever the romantic, Prince Harry took his U.N. speech opportunity to praise his wife and their love story.
Yesterday, the royal addressed the assembly as part of Nelson Mandela Day in an effort to honor the life and humanitarian missions of the late activist and former president of South Africa.
Among other things, Harry spoke about how much Africa has meant to him since he first visited at age 13 and how it has connected him to the two most important women in his life: his mother, the late Princess Diana, and his wife, Meghan Markle.
“For most of my life, it has been my lifeline, a place where I found peace and healing time and time again,” he said. “It’s where I felt closest to my mother and sought solace after she died, and where I knew I had found a soulmate in my wife.”
Meghan and Harry visited Africa together various times, including in 2016, very early on in their relationship. The couple previously said they had gone on just two dates in London before Harry asked Meghan to travel to Botswana with him for nearly a week.
“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 their engagement in 2017. “So then we were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure that we had a chance to know each other.”
The couple—who married in 2018—have made sure to honor that memory and their connection to Africa ever since, with Harry even choosing a diamond from Botswana to make Meghan’s engagement ring. The shimmering piece is flanked by two smaller diamonds that belonged to Princess Diana.
Harry has also kept his mother’s relationship to Africa close to his heart since her passing. In his U.N. speech, he recalled a photo that was taken in 1997 of his mother and Mandela, in which he said she looks playful and joyful. The photo, given to him by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, he said, is “on my wall and in my heart every day.”
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.