November 3 [16:00 EDT] -- It could be genuine enthusiasm or merely good diplomacy, but former freedom fighter and current South African President Nelson Mandela appeared to be exceptionally thrilled that he was meeting the Spice Girls this past weekend.
The 79-year-old, who entertained the group at his residence the day of their appearance at a charity concert Saturday in Johannesburg, called the band his "heroes" and told the press, "It is one of the greatest moments in my life." The girls were their usual familiar selves; they hugged him, held his hand, leaned on his shoulder, flirted and mugged for the cameras.
The girls were almost as informal with Prince Charles and his youngest son Prince Harry, who got a heavy dose of the group at the Prince's Trust-sponsored benefit concert. Harry, 13, had a private chat with the girls, received a hug and a kiss and posed for photographers with his father sandwiched by the girl group. Charles had met the girls before in London
-- in light of the Mandela comment, he joked to the press that it had been the highlight of his life, too -- and that time received kisses on the cheek and a decidedly non-protocol pat on the bottom.
The Spice Girls second album, "Spiceworld," is out Monday in Britain, and Tuesday in the U.S.