Meghan Markle’s wild claim that her royal wedding was compared to the release of late anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela is being challenged by the only people it appears she could have been referring to.
Markle, 41, told New York Magazine’s The Cut for its cover issue this week that the gushing praise was made by a South African cast member of Disney’s live-action version of “The Lion King” at the 2019 premiere.
“He said, ‘I just need you to know: When you married into this family, we rejoiced in the streets the same we did when Mandela was freed from prison,’” she claimed of the mystery admirer.
The comment was all the more powerful because it came during the “cruel chapter” of Markle’s life when she was too “scared to go out” while still in the UK, she claimed as part of her latest attacks on the royal family.
However, none of the South Africans known to have been involved in the production know anything about the widely derided comparison to their nation’s late, pioneering president’s freedom after 27 years in prison.
Actor John Kani said he was the only person to fit the description exactly — a male cast member from South Africa — but he “did not attend the London premiere,” his agent told the Telegraph.
“He has unfortunately no recollection of meeting Meghan Markle,” his agent said.
Kani, who voiced Rafiki in the Disney movie, said he was “truly surprised by” Markle’s suggestion that any South Africans would have viewed the royal wedding so highly.
“It is baffling me,” the actor told DailyMail.com.
“This seems like something of a faux pas by her. … It just may be a mis-remembering on her side,” he said, charitably.
While not a cast member, South African composer Lebohang Morake, best known as Lebo M., was at the London premiere — but also had no memory of anyone having such lofty praise during his brief chat with Markle and her husband, Prince Harry.
“I don’t remember details of that conversation which was less than a minute, except the Royals were going to South Africa or Botswana,” he told the Telegraph.
Video from the event shows the composer smiling while exchanging pleasantries with the then-senior royals as he stood next to pop star Pharrell Williams.
The footage appears to show Harry speaking of the importance of people “all over the place, South Africa, England” working together — but nothing about Mandela or the royal wedding, the Telegraph noted. There was also no sign of him pulling her aside for a secret chat.
Only one other South African involved in the production — actress Lindiwe Mkhize — was at the premiere, the UK paper said. But she could not be the “he” the duchess quoted, and never met Markle, the UK paper said.
One of Mandela’s grandsons derided the suggestion that anyone would compare the national joy at a moment marking the final days of apartheid to the “Suits” actress marrying “a white prince.”
The 1990 Mandela celebration “was based on overcoming 350 years of colonialism with 60 years of a brutal apartheid regime in South Africa,” Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela told the Daily Mail.
“It can never be compared to the celebration of someone’s wedding.”
The Mail said neither the Sussexes nor Disney have responded to requests for comment about the latest claims.
The Cut declined to comment, the outlet said.