Prince Harry was visibly moved when he visited the cell in Robben Island, South Africa, where the country’s former President Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his life.
The 23-year-old royal was joined by his colleagues from the Household Cavalry Regiment – who have spent two weeks on an expedition across Botswana and Namibia – as he stood in the 7ft by 8ft room which housed Mandela, admitting the experience “sent a shiver” down his spine.
After paying a visit to the nearby quarries where Mandela worked as part of his sentence, the tour were given a talk on life on the island by a former prisoner.
Prince Harry has always been interested in the life of Mandela and is said to “idolize” the anti-apartheid campaigner.
One of Harry’s Army colleagues said: “Harry has read Mandela’s autobiography and idolises him. He thought it a very good thing for the men to experience and later spent a moment in quiet reflection.”
Nelson Mandela was sent to Robben Island in 1964 before being transferred to a mainland prison in 1982. He was finally freed from jail in 1990 and become President of South Africa in 1994.
During their trip, Harry and his colleagues have been helping to refurbish a special needs school in the African kingdom of Lesotho, which is plagued by the HIV and AIDS viruses.