The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have paid tribute to their "friend", Archbishop Desmond Tutu, following his death.

The Sussexes met with Desmond Tutu in 2019

The Sussexes met with Desmond Tutu in 2019

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan - who have children Archie, two, and Lili, six months, together - recalled their meeting with the South African clergyman during their visit to his home country two years ago and praised his "moral clarity and joyful spirit" in a touching message after news broke he had passed away on Boxing Day (26.12.21) at the age of 90.

Harry and Meghan said in a statement: "Archbishop Tutu will be remembered for his optimism, his moral clarity, and his joyful spirit. He was an icon for racial justice and beloved across the world.

"It was only two years ago that he held our son, Archie, while we were in South Africa – 'Arch and The Arch' he had joked, his infectious laughter ringing through the room, relaxing anyone in his presence. He remained a friend and will be sorely missed by all."

Their message followed a statement from Queen Elizabeth, issued on behalf of the wider royal family, that paid tribute to the anti-apartheid campaigner.

The queen said: "I am joined by the whole Royal Family in being deeply saddened by the news of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a man who tirelessly championed human rights in South Africa and across the world.

"I remember with fondness my meetings with him and his great warmth and humour. Archbishop Tutu’s loss will be felt by the people of South Africa, and by so many people in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and across the Commonwealth, where he was held in such high affection and esteem."

South Africa's president, Cyril Ramaphosa, said the archbishop's death marked "another chapter of bereavement in our nation's farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans".

He added: "A man of extraordinary intellect, integrity and invincibility against the forces of apartheid, he was also tender and vulnerable in his compassion for those who had suffered oppression, injustice and violence under apartheid, and oppressed and downtrodden people around the world."

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