King Charles recalls Nelson Mandela’s ‘special’ nickname for Queen

King Charles and Camilla prepare for state banquet

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King Charles has recalled Nelson Mandela’s “special” nickname for his late mother during South Africa’s state visit to Buckingham Palace. Cyril Ramaphosa, who worked as Mandela’s secretary-general in the African National Congress, arrived in the UK for the first state visit of Charles’ reign.

The South African President attended a state banquet in Buckingham Palace’s ballroom without his wife after she was forced to miss the trip following an eye operation in the Rainbow Nation.

Speaking about Anglo-South African relations during his mother’s reign, Charles said: “During one of my own visits to South Africa, in 1997, President Mandela told me he had conferred on my mother a special name – Motlalepula, meaning ‘to come with rain’.

“I have been reassured that this was a mark of the particular affection President Mandela felt for the Queen… rather than a remark on the British habit of taking our weather with us!”

The King and Mr Ramaphosa voiced their mutual admiration for both Mr Mandela and the Queen.

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Mr Mandela, who served as South African President between 1994 and 1999, died in 2013 at the age of 95.

Queen Elizabeth’s passing came just under a decade later in September during a visit to Balmoral.

Mr Ramaphosa picked up a photograph of the Queen alongside Mandela and said: “This lovely picture.”

King Charles replied: “You were lucky to have known both.”

King Charles went on to highlight how the “links between our countries run deep, with extensive family, professional and cultural ties”.

He also acknowledged the UK’s colonial history.

Charles said there were “elements of that history which provoke profound sorrow”.

The 74-year-old added: “We must acknowledge the wrongs which have shaped our past if we are to unlock the power of our common future.”

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The monarch was accompanied by his wife Camilla.

Prince William and Kate Middleton also welcomed Mr Ramaphosa to the UK.

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