Monday, June 17, 2024

Meghan and Prince Harry ‘are planning to do more royal-style tours this year’ after they were delighted by reception to their Nigeria trip

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Meghan and Harry were so delighted by the reception they received on their trip to Nigeria that they are planning more quasi-royal tours, a source has claimed.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited the country for three days last week to promote mental health initiatives and the Invictus Games, the sporting event Harry, 39,  founded for wounded military veterans.

The couple visited a local charity and met with military leaders, injured soldiers and school children, all of whom welcomed them smiles and enthusiasm.

The Sussexes now have ‘other trips planned for the remainder of the year’ and hope to ‘share more details in the coming weeks’, a source close to them told The Mirror.

The insider added: ‘It is definitely possible they could return to Africa for more tours after that.’

Prince Harry and Meghan visit army wives at the Defence headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria on Friday, May 10, 2024

The Duchess of Sussex shake hands with a girl on a wheelchair during the Giant of Africa Foundation at the Dream Big Basketball clinic in Lagos Nigeria on Sunday, May 12, 2024

The Duchess of Sussex shake hands with a girl on a wheelchair during the Giant of Africa Foundation at the Dream Big Basketball clinic in Lagos Nigeria on Sunday, May 12, 2024

Meghan takes a selfie with students as she arrives with Harry during their visit at the Lightway Academy in Abuja, Nigeria on Friday, May 10, 2024

Meghan takes a selfie with students as she arrives with Harry during their visit at the Lightway Academy in Abuja, Nigeria on Friday, May 10, 2024

The Sussexes, in the Nigeria for the first time on the invitation of its military, arrived last Friday amid pomp and dancing. 

The couple began their three-day visit by going to the Lightway Academy school which receives support from their Archewell foundation to train young girls affected by conflicts in Nigeria, before going on to meet with the nation’s military officers.

Harry and Meghan, 42, visited a local charity – Giants of Africa – which uses basketball to empower young people. There, they were treated to another round of dancing before unveiling a partnership between the organisation and their Archewell Foundation. 

They later attended a fundraiser for Nigeria’s soldiers wounded in the country’s fight against Islamic extremists and other armed groups in the country’s conflict-battered north. The event was related to Harry’s Invictus Games, which Nigeria is seeking to host in the future.

The couple were also hosted at the Lagos State Government House, where Meghan received another handwoven Nigerian fabric, and enjoyed a trip to a polo club.

At the ed of the tour, Harry said that he and Meghan ‘look forward to travelling more because the work matters’, the newspaper reported.

‘Whether it’s the Archewell Foundation, Invictus or any of our other causes, there will always be reasons to meet the people at the heart of our work,’ the Duke said.

He also described Africa as a ‘very, very special place’ and said he was ‘very happy’ to now be able to include Nigeria in the Invictus Games.

Prince Harry (right) and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, (left) attend an exhibition sitting volleyball match at Nigeria Unconquered, a community-based charitable organisation dedicated to aiding wounded, injured, or sick servicemembers, as part of celebrations of Invictus Games anniversary in Abuja, Nigeria on May 11, 2024

Prince Harry (right) and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, (left) attend an exhibition sitting volleyball match at Nigeria Unconquered, a community-based charitable organisation dedicated to aiding wounded, injured, or sick servicemembers, as part of celebrations of Invictus Games anniversary in Abuja, Nigeria on May 11, 2024

Dr. Abike Sabri-Erewa at her office in Abuja, Nigeria.Dr Abike met with Prince Harry and Meghan at the weekend

Dr. Abike Sabri-Erewa at her office in Abuja, Nigeria.Dr Abike met with Prince Harry and Meghan at the weekend

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit Lightway Academy on May 10, 2024 in Abuja, Nigeria

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit Lightway Academy on May 10, 2024 in Abuja, Nigeria

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend a polo fundraiser event in Lagos, Nigeria, May 12, 2024

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend a polo fundraiser event in Lagos, Nigeria, May 12, 2024

Meghan and Harry greet children on their visit to the Polo Club on May 12, 2024 in Lagos

Meghan and Harry greet children on their visit to the Polo Club on May 12, 2024 in Lagos

The couple appear quite found of Africa, having visited Botswana for their third date in 2016. Harry, the following year, proposed to Meghan with a diamond sourced froi the country.

The Sussexes returned to Africa to celebrate Meghan’s 36th birthday and carried out their first-ever royal tour together across South Africa, Botswana, Angola and Malawi in 2019.

However, their recent regal-style trip to Nigeria has been highly criticised by experts who allege the quasi-royal tour is a ‘bold statement that they refuse to accept they are no longer working royals’.

Speaking to The Mirror, author Tom Quinn remarked that the whistlestop 72-hour visit ‘confirmed the worst fears’ for the Duke of Sussex’s family, and has left the King and Prince of Wales ‘absolutely furious’.

‘Everything you might expect from an official royal visit was there – the receptions, the visits to schools and charities, to wounded soldiers and the disabled,’ he explained. 

‘Meghan and Harry’s speeches and their whole attitude has been designed to give the impression that they are still fully paid-up royals and William and his father King Charles don’t like it one bit.’

Mr Quinn said that Harry and Meghan appear to have ‘gone rogue’ – and alleged that the Firm has been worried they would ‘try to pull a fast one’. 

‘For Charles and William, it’s as if Meghan and Harry are saying, “We don’t need your permission to be working royals – we will do it on our own terms whenever and wherever we like”,’ he added.

While much about the Sussexes’ visit seemed like a royal tour, the Duke and Duchess set foot in the West African nation very much on their own terms after being invited by its military for the three-day trip.

Sources within the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office have confirmed to MailOnline that Harry and Meghan were ‘visiting Nigeria in a private capacity’, with the UK Government ‘not involved in arranging or facilitating their programme’.

Meghan and Harry arrive at the Lightway Academy in Abuja on May 10, 2024 as they visit Nigeria as part of celebrations of Invictus Games anniversary

Meghan and Harry arrive at the Lightway Academy in Abuja on May 10, 2024 as they visit Nigeria as part of celebrations of Invictus Games anniversary

Harry and Meghan visit the Giants of Africa charity at Ilupeju Senior Grammar School on May 12, 2024 in Lagos, Nigeria

Harry and Meghan visit the Giants of Africa charity at Ilupeju Senior Grammar School on May 12, 2024 in Lagos, Nigeria

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit the Lagos State Governor's Office on May 12, 2024 in Lagos, Nigeria

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit the Lagos State Governor’s Office on May 12, 2024 in Lagos, Nigeria

But while Harry and Meghan quit as senior royals in 2020, their visit had various similarities to foreign trips undertaken by working members of the Royal Family.

Royal expert Michael Cole told MailOnline that although the couple were on ‘a private visit by two royal personages’, they ‘exploited their royal status to the very limit and in every way, trying to give the impression that it was the real thing’. 

He said that although the Sussexes’ trip ‘wasn’t a state visit, an official visit or a royal tour’, it seemed like a ‘tour proposed by Buckingham Palace and sanctioned by the British government’. 

He added that the couple ‘succeeded to such an extent that they will return to California well satisfied with their three days in Nigeria’.

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