‘Can we have a group hug?’ Prince Harry is embraced by South African choir and tells them to ‘keep spreading the love’ after its conductor said he was ‘so modest for such an icon’
- Duke of Sussex urges Stellenbosch University choir to ‘keep spreading the love’
- He met singers at ISPS Sports Values Summit ‘Special Edition’ in Tokyo today
Prince Harry asked a South African choir for a group hug backstage at a summit in Tokyo today after its conductor told him he was ‘so modest for such an icon’.
The Duke of Sussex urged the Stellenbosch University singers to ‘keep spreading the love’ and asked ‘can we have one group hug?’ before they all shouted ‘South Africa’.
Their conductor André van der Merwe praised Harry for meeting with them, saying: ‘Thank you that you spent so much time with us, for such an icon, so modest.’
Mr van der Merwe added ‘unlike her’ – but it is not clear from the video posted by the university whom he was referring to. Harry is then heard to say: ‘Well you are very…’
In a post, the university said: ‘That moment Prince Harry meets the Stellenbosch University Choir and confesses to be a big fan… it’s the group hug at the end for us.’ It also posted what was labelled as a ‘selfie with the Duke of Sussex’ on Instagram.
Fifty choristers were invited with the university’s rector and vice-chancellor Professor Wim de Villiers to the summit on sport, community and philanthropy.
The group of students sang to help open the event, which was officially called the ISPS (International Sports Promotion Society) Sports Values Summit ‘Special Edition’.
Prince Harry enjoys a hug with the Stellenbosch University choir at a summit in Tokyo today
The Duke of Sussex asked a South African choir for a group hug backstage in Tokyo today
Harry shares a joke with Stellenbosch University choir conductor André van der Merwe today
Harry and Stellenbosch University choir conductor André van der Merwe hug in Tokyo today
Stellenbosch University also posted what it labelled a ‘selfie with the Duke of Sussex’ today
Ahead of the event, Mr van der Merwe was quoted in a university announcement as saying: ‘We are honoured to have received this invitation and we are filled with excitement to showcase a taste of our rich South African culture on the global stage.’
READ MORE ‘I would happily live here if you’d have me!’ Prince Harry tells Tokyo summit ‘I’ve really enjoyed being here’ as he thanks his hosts and reveals he’s been treated to ‘the most incredible Kobe steak’ during visit to Japan without Meghan Markle
At the summit today, Harry – who is without wife Meghan and children Archie, four, and Lilibet, two – told the audience that he would ‘happily live here if you’d have me’.
He smiled, laughed and gleefully waved to the crowd as he praised the ‘warmth, compassion and generosity’ of the ‘special’ Japanese culture.
Harry was greeted with rapturous applause at the summit after saying: ‘Well, firstly, hello everybody.’
The beaming 38-year-old son of King Charles III told the crowd: ‘I’ve been involved in many charities for most of my life and I get a huge amount of fulfilment giving back to as many people as possible. My life is charity, always has been, always will be.’
Harry said he had enjoyed ‘the most incredible Kobe steak, both for dinner last night and lunch today’, adding: ‘Your warmth, your compassion, your generosity, every single element of the Japanese culture is really unique and very, very special.
‘I noticed it my first visit four years ago when I came for the Rugby World Cup. And I would happily live here if you’d have me. Thank you for your hospitality. I have really, really enjoyed being here in Japan again and I’m looking forward to my next visit.’
He also said that ‘the power of sport… brings people together and connects people, and, as you heard from my friend Steve (Royal Australian Navy Veteran and Invictus Games gold winner Steve James), really does have the ability to heal people as well.’
Harry will travel to Singapore later this week for his fundraising Sentebale Polo Cup on Saturday, which he has said will help young people affected by HIV/Aids.
The Duke of Sussex at the summit in Tokyo today about sport, community and philanthropy
Prince Harry talks with ISPS Handa’s founder Haruhisa Handa (centre) next to ex-New Zealand rugby player Dan Carter (left) and Argentine polo player Nacho Figueras (right) in Tokyo today
Prince Harry laughs today at the ISPS Sports Values Summit ‘Special Edition’ in Tokyo, Japan
It comes after friends of the Sussexes blasted claims of marriage ‘tensions’ amid speculation about their Hollywood future and rumoured strains behind the scenes.
Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace has quietly ditched his His Royal Highness title from the Royal Family’s website, and it emerged Netflix executives paid £3million for the film rights to a novel that the Sussexes will produce for the network.
Yesterday, Harry beamed while walking through Tokyo’s Haneda Airport among other passengers, wearing a dark cap bearing the Archewell Foundation logo.
Today, he took part in a summit panel discussion with former New Zealand rugby player Dan Carter, an ambassador for ISPS Handa which is sponsoring his polo cup.
Harry seemed delighted, acknowledging the crowd as he was welcomed on stage by ISPS Handa’s founder Haruhisa Handa – before roaring with laughter as they spoke.
The Duke was joined by his long-time friend, Argentinian polo player Nacho Figueras, who will be at the polo match and with whom he was pictured arriving yesterday.
Workers in ninja attire arrange the stage while Harry talks to other participants in Tokyo today
A staff member applauds as Prince Harry walks on stage at the summit in Tokyo today
Prince Harry and former New Zealand rugby player Dan Carter at the Tokyo summit today
The Duke of Sussex is greeted by ISPS Handa’s founder Haruhisa Handa in Tokyo today
Prince Harry, former New Zealand rugby player Dan Carter and Argentine polo player Nacho Figueras participate the summit about sport, community and philanthropy in Tokyo today
Also present today was Sentebale chairwoman Sophie Chandauka. The Duke was attending in his role as the co‑founder and patron of Sentebale.
In quotes reported by Omid Scobie, co-author of the controversial Harry and Meghan biography Finding Freedom, Harry said: ‘The lessons we learn on the field are the same principles of philanthropy: that a mission, hard work, dedication, and partnership can make even the impossible, possible.
‘Whether banded together in victory or showing up with respect in loss, no one ever crosses a finish line or scores a goal without the help and belief of others. That, to me, is the power of sport.’
Mr Scobie added that Figueras said: ‘It’s wonderful to be here in Japan on behalf of Sentebale taking the opportunity to talk about the power of polo, a sport I love, and how it serves as a platform to raise awareness for our work.
‘Next stop is Singapore, where we will be raising funds for Sentebale’s important work in southern Africa whilst enjoying a great afternoon of polo.’
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