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The Prince of Wales attends the funeral of Nelson Mandela

15th December 2013

The Prince of Wales speaks with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma before the funeral service for former South African President Nelson Mandela in Qunu, South Africa

The Prince of Wales speaks with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma before the funeral service for former South African President Nelson Mandela in Qunu, South Africa

The Prince of Wales joined dignitaries from around the world for the state funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

More than 4,000 people, including Mr Mandela's family members, African leaders and several heads of state, attended the final farewell service in a specially erected marquee in the former President's home village of Qunu.

After the ceremony, his casket was carried by the military, accompanied by family and friends, up a hill to the graveside.

The burial marked the end of a week of memorial events for Mr Mandela which have attracted thousands of South Africans and world leaders.

The Prince of Wales, who arrived in South Africa this morning, attended the service along with prominent US civil rights activist Reverend Jesse Jackson, entrepreneur Richard Branson and broadcaster Oprah Winfrey.

Addressing the congregation, South African president Jacob Zuma said:  "It is the end of an extraordinary journey that began 95 years ago.

"It is the end of 95 glorious years, of a freedom fighter, a dedicated and humble servant of the people of South Africa.

"Fountain of wisdom, a pillar of strength, and a beacon of hope for all those fighting for a just and equitable world order.

"Your long walk to freedom has ended in a physical sense.

"Our own journey continues. We have to continue working to build the kind of society you worked tirelessly to construct. South Africa will continue to rise."

Reading an obituary, Mr Mandela's grandson Ndaba Mandela said the former leader became "one of the world's greatest icons".

"It is through Mandela that the world cast its eyes on South Africa and took notice of the severe and organised repression of black South Africans," he said.

"Yet it was also through Mandela that the world would learn the spirit of endurance, the triumph of forgiveness and the beauty of reconciliation."

In the Xhosa language, Mr Mandela's granddaughter Nandi Mandela said:  "Go well Madiba. Go well to the land of our ancestors, you have run your race."

She added: "We will carry lessons you taught us throughout our lives.

"As South Africans we must stop pointing fingers, but must rather lead by example, as you did."

The Prince represented The Queen and made the journey to South Africa for the ceremonies to mark Mr Mandela's death.

 

The Prince of Wales with Nelson Mandela in 1996 when His Royal Highness invited Mr Mandela to Brixton to see charity projects and meet the community

The Prince of Wales with Nelson Mandela in 1996 when His Royal Highness invited Mr Mandela to Brixton to see charity projects and meet the community

After the former statesman's death, The Prince described Mr Mandela as the "embodiment of courage and reconciliation" and said his passing had left "an immense void" in the lives of everyone who had been affected by his fight for justice and freedom.

The Queen said:  "The Queen was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Nelson Mandela last night. He worked tirelessly for the good of his country, and his legacy is the peaceful South Africa we see today.

"Her Majesty remembers with great warmth her meetings with Mr. Mandela and sends her sincere condolences to his family and the people of South Africa at this very sad time."

The 95-year-old former leader, who was imprisoned for 27 years for opposing apartheid before emerging in 1990 to forge a new democratic South Africa, died on 5th December.