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.”
The monarch was accompanied by his wife Camilla.
Prince William and Kate Middleton also welcomed Mr Ramaphosa to the UK.