4 AUGUST 2008

The life of Nelson Mandela has inspired thousands, Prince Harry among them. This week the 23-year-old got to visit the former prison 12 kilometres off the coast of Cape Town where his hero spent such a large slice of his life.

Standing in the seven foot by eight foot room on Robben Island where the former South African president was held for 18 years, the 23-year-old was visibly moved by the experience. It "sent a shiver" down his spine, he admitted.

On the three-hour visit to the island with fellow Household Cavalry Regiment soldiers, Harry also listened to a talk on life in the prison by a former inmate and visited the quarry where the anti-apartheid leader once laboured.

"Harry has read Mandela's autobiography and idolises him," an Army colleague said. "He thought it a very good thing for the men to experience, and later spent a moment in quiet reflection."

The Prince and his army collegues have just finished a three-week stint helping refurbish a Lesotho school supported by Harry's Sentebale charity.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
Harry boards the ferry for Robben Island to see the cell where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned Photo: © Rex
Photo: © Alphapress.com
The Prince, for whom Mr Mandela - pictured outside his cell on the island in 2003 - is an inspiration, admitted that being in the cell was an emotional experience which sent shivers down his spinePhoto: © Getty Images