Prince Harry has thanked two friends in Botswana for their help writing his book just weeks after claiming he had a “beloved second family” in Africa.
In the acknowledgements section of his memoir, Spare, the Duke of Sussex sends his love and thanks to friends who reminded him of memories from his younger years.
He names Tania Jenkins and Mike Holding who run the Botswana-based AfriScreen, an award-winning nature documentary production company that made the BBC’s TV series Planet Earth.
It is understood the Prince’s friendship with the pair dates back to his teenage years when he began visiting the southern African country.
The pair also appeared momentarily in the first episode of the Netflix documentary series Harry & Meghan released in December.
Country ‘close’ to Harry’s heart
Prince Harry suggested Ms Jenkins and Mr Holding were like a “second family” to him, in what some have considered a snub to King Charles.
In footage from his earlier years, he is shown saying: “Botswana is a country very close to my heart. The fact that I spend more time here than at home worries my father a lot.”
Then, he is interviewed for the documentary saying: “I’ve got a second family out there. A group of friends that literally brought me up.”
It is then, that a photograph of Prince Harry with Ms Jenkins and Mr Holding apparently on safari appears, as the Prince says: “For me it’s always been quite special.”
It is not the first time that his friendship with Ms Jenkins and Mr Holding has been described as familial.
In her 2018 biography, Harry: Life, Loss, and Love, Katie Nichol’s wrote: “Over the past decade [Tania] and Harry have formed a close bond – so much so that friends say Harry jokingly refers to her as ‘mom’, because she looks out for him when he is in the country.”
In the book, Roger Dugmore, a long term friend of Harry’s, described Ms Jenkins – or “TJ” – as “very organised” and “like a mother”. He added: “She’s a very well-grounded woman. When Harry comes out Tania does help a lot with the logistics with regard to trying to keep it as quiet as possible.”
Another of the Prince’s inner circle is reported to have said: “Harry adores TJ and they are very close. He has a lot of good friends in Botswana, they are a bit like a second family to him. Botswana is his home away from home. Harry loves it there more than anywhere else on earth.”
The friend added that Harry refers to Mr Holding as “Uncle Mike”.