The South African composer who met the Duchess of Sussex at the Lion King premiere does not recall speaking to her about Nelson Mandela, the Telegraph has confirmed, after the film’s only South African actor says he has never met her.
Lebo M, who created the African vocal and choir arrangements for the live action film, spoke to the Duke and Duchess for around a minute at the London event in 2019, but does not remember details of the brief conversation.
The trio were filmed making enthusiastic conversation about the Sussexes’ own trip to South Africa during a meet-and-greet line-up on the special “yellow carpet” rolled out for the A-list occasion.
Lebo M, who has worked on the Lion King film and the Broadway production, told the Telegraph he did not remember details of the conversation.
He told the Telegraph: “Indeed I was at The Lion King 2019 premier and met the Royals.
“I cannot comment on the matter as it was 3 years ago and I don’t remember details of that conversation which was less than a minute, except the Royals were going to South Africa or Botswana.”
A video of their conversation appears to show him telling the Sussexes it was a pleasure to meet them, with Prince Harry speaking of the importance of people “all over the place, South Africa, England” working together to help each other.
The mystery identity of a South African creative who met the Duchess and compared her wedding to the freeing of Mandela remains unsolved.
In her interview with The Cut, published this week, the Duchess told how she had taken comfort from a conversation with a South African cast member at the premiere, who pulled her aside.
“I just had Archie. It was such a cruel chapter,” she said. “I was scared to go out.
“He looked at me, and he’s just like light. 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’.”
John Kani, who played Rafiki in the film, has admitted he is “baffled” by the report, saying he was the only South African cast member but has never met the Duchess.
Dr Kani’s agent told the Telegraph: “Dr Kani attended the Premier of The Lion King in Los Angeles and did not attend the London Premier.
“He has unfortunately no recollection of meeting Meghan Markle.”
He has suggested the account may have been “something of a faux pas by her”, adding: “It just may be a mis-remembering on her side.”
The actor told MailOnline he did not believe that the people of South Africa celebrated the Royal Wedding on the scale of Nelson Mandela’s release.
“In my memory, nobody would have known when she got married, when or what,” he said.
“We had no South African link to the wedding or to her marrying Harry.
“I am truly surprised by this. For me it is a non-event, the whole thing.”
Lindiwe Mkhize, a South African actress who sang the opening song The Circle of Life in the film, was at the premiere but did not speak to the Duchess.ORDER A COPY OF ROB’S NEW BEST SELLING BOOK! Called “America’s Number ONE Gossip Columnist” by The National Enquirer. Rob ‘Naughty But Nice’ Shuter breaks celebrity news every day on his website NaughtyGossip.com where he delivers all the dish about the stars we love in his naughty but nice signature style. You can also catch him co-hosting and breaking celebrity news on Good Day New York, The Today Show, The Talk, Wendy Williams Show, CNN, Extra and Z100’s ‘Elvis Duran.’ Previously, Rob was the Huffington Post’s only celebrity columnist and the former executive editor of OK! Magazine. Rob has also hosted his own Saturday night talk show on Mark Cuban’s channel and his own daily morning show, ‘The Gossip Table,’ on VH1! Breaking some of the biggest entertainment stories, including Jamie Lynn Spears’s pregnancy news, Britney’s first post-meltdown interview, Eva Longoria’s wedding, and baby exclusives for Jessica Alba, Tori Spelling and Mathew McConaughey’s tots, Rob always knows where to find the best scoop. Before Rob was one of the world’s most successful entertainment reporters, he was a publicist working for Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, P. Diddy, Jessica Simpson and Jon Bon Jovi! Now he is bringing all this experience to his new show on I HEART MEDIA in his unique cheeky way, that is always a pinch and never a punch!