Queen Elizabeth II has paid tribute to Archbishop Desmond Tutu who died on boxing day.
Tutu, who helped end apartheid in South Africa, was a relentless champion of human rights, according to the Monarch.
The Queen expressed her condolences to the 90-year-old, who died in Cape Town, saying that the news had “deeply saddened” the entire royal family.
She added: “I am joined by the whole Royal Family in being deeply saddened by the news of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a man who tirelessly championed human rights in South Africa and across the world.
“I remember with fondness my meetings with him and his great warmth and humour.
“Archbishop Tutu’s loss will be felt by the people of South Africa, and by so many people in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and across the Commonwealth, where he was held in such high affection and esteem.
Nicknamed “The Arch”, Tutu was made the first black Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town in 1986 and was a driving force to end the policy of racial segregation and discrimination in South Africa from 1948 until the early 1990s.
His achievements earned him numerous doctorates and academic honors around the world, including the Nobel Prize.
Tutu left public life in 2010, although he continued to undertake charity work and speak out on specific subjects through the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.
Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell described him as a “giant”, adding that “the world itself feels a little smaller without him”.
He said: “His expansive vision of how the Christian faith shapes the whole of life has touched many hearts and changed many lives.
“The Anglican church in particular gives thanks for one of its greatest saints.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, described Tutu as “a man of words and action”.
Outlining Tutu’s legacy, he added: “Can we be a humanity that says, ‘My gain need not be your loss, your gain need not be my loss? We can both flourish and grow’. That is, I think, the greatest part of Tutu’s legacy for the world.”
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa said it was “another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa.”
The Nelson Mandela Foundation, which highlighted the friendship between Mandela and Tutu, said the loss of him was “immeasurable”.