Prince Harry has thanked his ‘beloved second family’ in Botswana for their support in his leaked memoir Spare, naming them in its acknowledgements just weeks after the Netflix docuseries with wife Meghan Markle described how they ‘brought him up’.
Tania Jenkins and Mike Holding, who also appeared briefly in Netflix’s Harry & Meghan, formed a close bond with the Prince when he visited Botswana as a teenager in the aftermath of his mother’s death.
In what was perceived by some to be a snub to King Charles, Harry spoke candidly about his affection for the couple in the series, describing how being away from the spotlight in Africa helped him as a teen.
MailOnline can reveal that while Mr Holding is an award-winning cameraman and director, Ms Jenkins is an equally talented producer who says she is a ‘gypsy spirit’.
Prince Harry (right) pictured with Tania Jenkins (middle) and Mike Holding (left)
Mr Holding and Ms Jenkins run Afriscreen, a company that films and produces footage in Botswana
Prince Harry’s memoir Spare was leaked after Spanish bookstores began selling the work early this week. It was originally due to hit shelves across the world on January 10.
The book has made a series of damaging claims about the royal family, including details of William and Harry’s testy relationship and the Duke’s version of events in how the palace treated his wife.
Harry’s ‘second family’ has an intriguing history in the African country which includes videography, working with streaming giants such as Disney and Netflix and rescuing wild animals from the bush.
In Harry & Meghan, Prince Harry described how it ‘worried’ his father that he was spending so much time in Botswana.
He said: ‘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.
‘I’ve got a second family out there. A group of friends that literally brought me up.’
A photo shown in the documentary features Harry standing next to a laughing Ms Jenkins, with Mr Holding seated next to her on a safari truck.
Royal biographers have claimed that the bond between them was so close, Harry used to jokingly call Ms Jenkins ‘mom’.
Ms Jenkins describes herself as a film producer, as well as a ‘Life and Purpose coach’ and ‘gypsy spirit’.
His second mother figure after the death of Princess Diana when he was just 12 years old is the executive producer at Afriscreens, a video company that was launched with Mr Holding in 1998.
The couple, who have been together for 26 years, have filmed and produced nature programmes for major clients including a recent documentary Elephants for Disney+.
They also had roles in the production of Wild Babies, a Netflix series voiced by Helena Bonham Carter.
Mr Holding has won awards throughout his career including two team Emmys
Ms Jenkins began her film career working on films with stars such as the Wenger brothers and Paul Werner, as well as Whoopi Goldberg
Harry has visited Botswana multiple times and even took his wife Meghan on a holiday there for their third date
Prince Harry has spent extensive periods of time in the country doing charity work and meeting locals
Teenager Tlotlo Moilwa hugs Britain’s Prince Harry during a visit at the Kasane Health Post, run by the Sentebale charity, in Kasane, Botswana in 2019
Based in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, often described as one of the most unique places in the world, the pair say they are ‘grateful that we are able to do what we love – living and working in a truly wild place, among the animals and environment we have come to know so well.’
Ms Jenkins began her film career in 1986, spending time on films with stars such as the Wenger brothers and Paul Werner, as well as Whoopi Goldberg before she began travelling around the world to focus on nature documentaries.
She formed Afriscreen Films in 1996, which then became just Afriscreen with partner Mr Holding.
Meanwhile Mr Holding was born and raised in the wilds of Kenya and studied a degree in zoology from the University of Exeter before pursuing his career as a director and videographer.
He has won several awards during his career, including two team Emmy awards, and began as a cameraman for the BBC in Kenya in 1978.
He first spent an extended period of time in Botswana in 1993, and still lives there with Ms Jenkins.
Photos from Ms Jenkins social media accounts portray a happy life in the African nation with friends and family, as well as numerous encounters with local wildlife.
Facebook posts show they have previously tried to help animals struggling the sweltering Okavango dry season, and have particular experience with elephants.
Ms Jenkins is executive producer for Afriscreens while Mr Holding directs, films and edits
The couple’s social media accounts show a happy life in nature, a world away from the strict rules of royal family
It makes a stark contrast to life behind palace walls and the strict rules Harry discusses in his new book, Spare.
Royal experts previously said his comments about how the couple ‘brought him up’ were a dig at his father and the rest of the royal family, given that he did not travel to Botswana until his late teens.
Prince Harry has visited Botswana on multiple occasions, sometimes spending months in the country.
As well as helping conserve wildlife populations, he also frequently met with local communities and did charity work.
It holds such a place in his heart that he took Meghan Markle to the country for a week-long holiday as their third date.
Meghan told interviewers for Harry & Meghan: ‘So I had one week off [work] and it was the same week, so he said do you want to come to Botswana? I said let me think about it and then I did.’
Harry admitted he was ‘astonished that she said yes’ as he had only met Meghan twice at the point.
He said: ‘This woman that I have only met twice, she’s coming to Botswana and we are going to be living in a tent for 10 days.’
Meghan admitted: ‘I am getting on a plane, and we are living in the middle of a bush, what, like what if we don’t like each other and then we are stuck in the middle of a bush in a tent.’
The couple have also visited the country since they became engaged.