Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter today appeared to backtrack in a panic after she furiously accused Harry and Meghan of using her grandfather’s name and legacy to ‘make their millions’.
Ndileka Mandela had told The Australian newspaper that she was angry the Duke and Duchess of Sussex appeared to compare their battles in the Royal Family with her grandfather’s long walk to freedom, calling it ‘upsetting and tedious’.
But in an extraordinary climbdown, she has now insisted she ‘honestly doesn’t find anything wrong with them using that opening thing inspirational with a quote from granddad’ – and accused the couple’s critics of ‘making a mountain out of a mole hill.. .for no reason’.
She told Fox News: ‘Meghan has always been an activist, and this is in her activism work which my grandfather was, he was, a social justice activist through and through.
Harry says in the trailer for their latest film, part of their $100million (£83million) deal with the streaming giant: ‘This was inspired by Nelson Mandela’
Ndileka Mandela (left), pictured with sister Nandi Mandela (right) and her son Luvuyo Madasa in London last month, hammered the Sussexes for their use of their family name. She appears to have since backtracked
And his entry point into politics was through social activism, which is exactly what Meghan and Harry are doing.
‘Like I said earlier on, a lot of people use granddad’s quotes, and nobody has made such a big rah-rah as they are making out of Harry and Meghan using this quotation.’
MailOnline has contacted the Nelson Mandela Foundation for comment.
In the trailer for the couple’s latest Netflix film Live To Lead, part of their £83million deal with the streaming giant, Harry said: ‘This was inspired by Nelson Mandela.’
Ms Mandela had previously said: ‘That’s chalk and cheese, there is no comparison. I know the Nelson Mandela Foundation has supported the initiative but people have stolen grandfather’s quotes for years and have used his legacy because they know his name sells – Harry and Meghan are no different from them.
I admire Harry for having the confidence to break away from an institution as iconic as the Royal Family.
‘Granddad rebelled against an arranged marriage to find his own path in life,’ she told The Australian. ‘But it comes at a price, you have to then fund your own life, I’ve made peace with people using granddad’s name but it’s still deeply upsetting and tedious every time it happens.’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex meet Graca Machel, widow of the late Nelson Mandela, on the last day of their tour in Africa in 2019
South African president Nelson Mandela and Princess Diana at Mandela’s home in Cape Town, South Africa, on March 17, 1997
Nelson Mandela and wife Winnie, walking hand in hand, raise clenched fists upon his release from Victor prison, Cape Town, this Sunday, February 11, 1990
In the trailer for Live To Lead, which was co-produced by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Harry quotes Mandela: ‘What counts in life is not the mere fact that we’ve lived…’
Meghan then appears and finishes the quote: ‘…It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.’
The couple were executive producers, according to the credits, and introduced each of the series’ seven episodes. With Harry’s book Spare released next week, Ms Mandela warned: ‘Harry needs to be authentic and stick to his own story, what relevance does grandfather’s life have with him?
‘I don’t believe he nor Meghan have ever properly met granddad, maybe when Harry was young at Buckingham Palace, but they are using his quotations in the documentary to draw in people and make millions without the Mandela family benefiting.’ The Mail has asked a spokesperson for the Sussexes to comment.
The couple have previously been criticized by the Mandelas.
Zwelivelele ‘Mandla’ Mandela told MailOnline he was ‘surprised’ at her remarks in The Cut magazine when she claimed that three years ago a cast member of the Lion King told her that ‘we rejoiced in the streets the same we did when Mandela was freed from prison’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the premiere of The Lion King at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on July 14, 2019
Questions were raised in August over Meghan’s suggestion that her wedding to Harry prompted celebrations in South Africa. The duchess told The Cut magazine that while she attended the 2019 London premiere of The Lion King, a South African actor told her his country had ‘rejoiced in the streets the same way we did when Mandela was freed from prison’.
The interview prompted anger in the country, where Mandela’s grandson said his release from prison should not be compared to a royal wedding.
Zwelivele Mandela said: ‘Madiba’s [Mandela’s] celebration was based on overcoming 350 years of colonialism with 60 years of a brutal apartheid regime in South Africa. So it cannot be equated to as the same.’
And an actor who claimed he was the only South African cast member in The Lion King said he was ‘baffled’ because he did not attend the London premiere and he has never met the duchess.
Dr John Kani, 79, who voiced the monkey shaman Rafiki in the film, said: ‘I have never met Meghan Markle. This seems like something of a faux pas by her.’
The actor, a friend of Mr Mandela, said the moment the anti-apartheid campaigner walked free from prison could not be compared to a royal wedding.
He said: ‘It lives in our memories for ever to the world. It is a kind of, ‘Where were you when JFK was shot… where were you when Nelson Mandela was released’? You can’t really say where you were when Meghan married Harry.’