The Duke of Sussex has described the Roe v Wade abortion ruling in America as a “global assault on democracy and freedom”.
The Duke appeared to criticise the ruling of the US Supreme Court during a speech at the UN headquarters to mark International Nelson Mandela Day. It follows comments from the Duchess of Sussex after the reversal of Roe v Wade last month, when she spoke of the couple’s “guttural” reaction and claimed that the “feminist” Duke had been equally despairing.
While the Duke would not have made such remarks when he was a working member of the Royal family, he and his wife have become increasingly vocal on certain topics since their move to the US.
The Duke also spoke of the inspiration he had taken from Mandela and of the former South African president’s relationship with his late mother. He said he had a photograph of Mandela with Diana, Princess of Wales, taken five months before her death in 1997 “on his wall and in his heart every day”, and that “global uncertainty and division” had inspired him to “go back to Mandela’s writings” for insight into how to find light in the darkness.
The Duke told UN ambassadors it had been “a painful year in a painful decade”, expressing empathy with those who felt “battered” and “helpless” in the face of what he described as a seemingly endless stream of disasters and devastation.
“Climate change wreaking havoc on our planet, with the most vulnerable suffering most of all,” he said. “The few, weaponising lies and disinformation at the expense of the many.
“And from the horrific war in Ukraine to the rolling back of constitutional rights here in the United States, we are witnessing a global assault on democracy and freedom – the cause of Mandela’s life.”
The Duchess accompanied the Duke in New York for their first public appearance since they returned from the UK after the Platinum Jubilee.