London provided a base for many of South Africa's anti-apartheid leaders in the 1960s, leading to a special relationship between Britain and the campaign that Nelson Mandela would come to symbolise.
ITV News Special Correspondent Rageh Omaar reports on how Mandela influenced Britain:
Nelson Mandela touched aspects of British public life in a way that very few other international figures and the presence of his statue on Parliament Square is a symbol of what he meant to the country.
While he was still a prisoner in 1988 thousands attended a concert to celebrate his 70th birthday, Annie Lennox was one of the stars that performed that day, said that he inspired Britons in a way that will be hard to replace.
I don't think that in the last century there have been many people that could ever compete with the value and the profile of an individual of Nelson Mandela.