Duchess of Sussex revealed all of the engagements carried out by herself and Prince Harry in Africa over the last ten days were organised around Archie’s feeds. Pictured: Archie met Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Royal tours are normally choreographed to the last second.
But when you are taking a five-month-old baby with you, that kind of timing goes out of the window.
Speaking to newspaper reporters on the penultimate day of their successful tour of South Africa, Botswana, Angola and Malawi, Meghan, 38, described the the trip as being a ‘full plate’ but thanked royal aides for being ‘really kind to me’ in taking account of her baby son’s schedule.
She also talked about being re-united with her husband, Prince Harry, last night after he concluded a six-day solo leg of the trip, saying that she missed him ‘so much’.
Smiling, the royal said: ‘It’s my first time being in this country……and Harry has continued on in a couple [of] other countries – we are reuniting today, which I can’t wait for, I miss him so much! But I think for us it has been a really special trip, because you get to see when you’re focusing on the causes that are really important to us, you can see that the impact is good, and it feels meaningful.’
Asked how it had been for them as a family, she said: ‘Oh my goodness, well, we’re doing well. I think the schedule – they have been very kind to me, because everything is based around Archie’s feed times. So it’s a full plate, but we’re making it work. It’s worth it.’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s successful tour of South Africa, Botswana, Angola and Malawi ends tomorrow. Pictured: The Duchess of Sussex has tied a ribbon at the site where 19-year-old Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana was murdered
The couple have been apart as Harry traveled to Botswana, Angola and Malawi alone
Royal tours are organised by Buckingham Palace at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with the couple’s private office staff responsible for organising the day-to-day actives and the pacing of them.
Never before has a baby as young as Archie been taken on a royal tour, albeit with the help of a nanny, and although neither Harry, Meghan or their staff had no idea how he would fare, he is said to have been ‘as good as gold’.
Meghan described being in South Africa, particularly as a woman of colour, as a ‘powerful’ experience and praised the diversity of the Commonwealth.
Prince Harry walked through a minefield during a visit to see the work of landmine clearance charity the Halo Trust on day five of the royal tour
‘The Commonwealth is a very diverse place with 53 countries, and so being a part of this family, and the platform that comes with that, is an incredible responsibility that I take really seriously. Being able to be in Africa and South Africa – it’s my first time being in this country – has been really powerful,’ she said.
Yesterday, as Harry concluded his solo engagements in Malawi ready to fly back to Johannesburg to be reunited with his family, Meghan was undertaking some public visits of her own at the University of Johannesburg and at Action Aid, exploring female access to further education and the troubling issue of violence against women in South Africa.
Meghan said: ‘It’s been very important to me for a long time to focus on women’s and girls’ rights, and especially their empowerment.’
Meghan met health workers and families during a visit to the mothers2mother charity organisation in Cape Town
During her engagement at Action Aid the duchess said the country was at a ‘crisis state’ and voice how it was ‘staggering’ to learn about the wide range of ages of the victims.
Women have been taking to the streets in their thousands in recent weeks to protest against the nationwide levels of gender-based violence in South Africa, where rape is being used as a weapon.
During a round table discussion with professionals working in the field, Meghan talked to campaigner Bafana Khumalo about ‘patriarchy’ and how there was an acceptance in South Africa that men could do this without impunity.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex met a group of dancers at the Nyanga Township in Cape Town, South Africa, on the first day of their tour of Africa
‘We must challenge men and hold them accountable for their actions,’ Mr Khumalo said.
‘And boys, ‘ Meghan interjected.
‘The trouble is as a young girl if you are not feeling safe at school and not feeling safe at home, where does that leave you? And that really is systemic. That is a huge issue.
‘You will feel very displaced.’
She also voiced her anger about how communities tended to ‘shame’ their victims into not coming forwards.
Children rushed to hug Meghan as she toured the Victoria Yards in Johannesburg yesterday. The couple’s trip will conclude in the city tomorrow
‘Everyone is saying ‘well that’s just what is done, that’s just how it is’, and you’re shamed into not coming forward. It’s so normalised. You’re shamed into not talking about it, even though you are the victim, ‘ she said.
Meghan was presented flowers by eight-year-old Luyanda during her visit to Action Aid
She added: ‘There’s no piece of this conversation that can’t be had without addressing the mental health aspect. The ripple effect of the young girls who were affected by it and then their siblings, their community…. as you say this is generational, this is cultural, norms are passed down and understanding and acceptance is passed down, so there is a mental health aspect for everyone there.
‘But you’re right, if you are doing this work with these young girls then it is trying is some way to break the cycle.’
As she arrived, Meghan, wearing a khaki shift dress and heels with a pair of earrings she bought in Cape Town by a local ethical jewellery brand, Pichulik, was given a pretty posey of flowers by three girls whose mothers work for Action Aid, Luyanda, eight, Kadisha, five, and Kaliso, 13.
Luyanda rushed forwards, curtseyed and gave smiling Meghan a big hug.
The three girls then gave her drawings they had made especially for her.
Luyanda said afterwards that hers ‘was love’.
Asked what love looked like, she said ‘I drew a heart and one clouds above it and a cross below’.
Lindelwe Nxumalo, 37, Women’s Rights Manager at Action Aid, said: ‘I think through her interest and passion in supporting women’s issues around the world she is able to put a spotlight on what we are trying to achieve. For her to highlight the issues going on here particularly violence against girls, is another shot to our government. ‘
The couple’s trip concludes in Johannesburg tomorrow.