ST. LOUIS — Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, kicked off their first official tour as a family Monday. The couple arrived in Cape Town, South Africa with their infant son, Archie.
It’s a continent beloved by the royal couple. Prince Harry and Meghan fell in love on a romantic safari in Botswana.
Harry once described it in an interview just before their wedding.
"I think about three, maybe four weeks later, I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana and we, and we camped out with each other under the stars.”
South Africa is also close to the couple’s hearts because of Prince Harry’s mother Princess Diana. She was famously photographed in a mine field during her 1997 trip to Angola, designed to raise worldwide awareness of the damage they do.
Harry plans to visit Angola on a side trip during the couple’s time in Africa.
Prince Harry and Meghan have more than a full schedule. There are 86 official engagements planned. None of them are state dinners, which seems to be in keeping with the couple’s informal approach to their work.
Here's a look at the highlights of their trip so far:
Monday: After arriving in Cape Town on a commercial flight, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex danced with ladies who welcomed them to Nyanga township. Harry and Meghan each gave short speeches to the crowd gathered to see them, with Meghan telling the audience, “I want you to know that for me, I am here as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of color, and as your sister.”
Tuesday: The couple visited South Africa’s oldest mosque, Auwal Mosque. It opened in 1794 and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited on Heritage Day, which is a public holiday celebrated by South Africans to celebrate their culture and diversity.
Wednesday: We see baby Archie! Prince Harry, Meghan and Archie meet with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter. The four-month-old joined his parents in front of the cameras for a photo op. On Wednesday afternoon, Meghan visited the Woodstock Exchange for female entrepreneurs.
Thursday: Prince Harry took his first solo side trip to Botswana. He met with schoolchildren and helped them plant trees. He also made it clear where he stands on climate change, saying no one can deny science. Meghan stayed in Cape Town, South Africa, with baby Archie.
Friday: Prince Harry followed in the footsteps of his late mother, Princess Diana, whose walk through an active mine field in Angola years ago helped to lead to a global ban on the deadly weapons. He followed the exact same path his mother took in a partially cleared minefield in 1997, the same year she was killed in a car crash.
As part of his work, Harry also detonated a landmine. Angola is now years past a grinding civil war and hopes to be land mine-free by 2025
There’s been some anxiety ahead of this trip, especially for those planning the tour.
Prince Harry and Meghan have had a difficult summer with the British press. The two were criticized for taking private planes on vacation this summer, and questions were raised after they appeared to cancel plans to visit the Queen at her summer home in Balmoral.
Close friends say the criticism has been unfair. They’re hoping the trip will bring the focus back on the good work the Sussex’s are known for.
The couple’s royal tour is being followed by a sizable media contingent.
One veteran of covering the royals was quoted as saying he hasn't seen this kind of media presence since the days of Princess Diana.
Harry and Meghan are said to be determined to keep their focus on the things they really care about during their royal tour. Specifically, women's empowerment, and lifting people out of poverty.
The royal couple's visit will also focus on wildlife protection, entrepreneurship, mental health and mine clearance.
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