Topline

Prince Harry delivered an impassioned speech to the United Nations Monday in which he called on world leaders to “be brave” in the face of climate change, a global pandemic and the spread of disinformation, and also cited the “rolling back of Constitutional rights” in the his new home, the US — a surprisingly political comment given the British monarchy’s longstanding policy of political neutrality.

Key Facts

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Harry gave the keynote speech to mark Nelson Mandela Day at the UN, and acknowledged it has been a “painful year in a painful decade,” given the multiple crises facing countries around the world.

Harry, who lives in the US, said inflation and the pandemic have been felt more acutely in more “vulnerable countries,” and have left Africa “mired in a food and fuel crisis, the likes of which we have not seen in decades,” in his speech.

Key Background

The speech comes nearly one month after the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, leaving the right to an abortion up to individual states. Judges in Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Texas, Utah and West Virginia have since blocked “trigger laws” banning abortions. Judges in Mississippi and Ohio denied requests to block the state's trigger law, while judges in Alabama, Indiana and Tennessee allowed bans to take effect. Trigger laws are also expected to go into effect in Idaho, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wisconsin, although abortion providers and Democratic politicians have filed lawsuits against the bans in those states. In his opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas urged the court to reconsider the cases that protect same-sex marriage and birth control, prompting members of Congress to draft a bill to codify same-sex marriages. The Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015.

Crucial Quotes

“We are witnessing a global assault on democracy and freedom, the cores of Mandela's life,” Harry said.

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