Harry & Meghan begin #RoyalVisitMorocco with visit to girls’ boarding school & glitzy reception

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have begun a three-day visit to Morocco, landing in the north-African country late last night after delays to their commercial flight. Today they are spending time focussing on girls’ education.

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Harry and Meghan flew into Casablanca, but were officially welcomed in Rabat at around 9pm GMT, where the Duke inspected a guard of honour; the soldiers carried sabres and were from the Auxiliary Forces, dressed in white uniforms. The couple were also offered local treats on the way inside: milk and dates.

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The couple are staying privately as guests of the King of Morocco in a royal residence, undertaking the visit at the request of the government. Prior to the visit, it was announced the focus would be on female empowerment, inclusivity, education for women and girls, and encouraging young entrepreneurs.

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Morocco is seen as a key focus for UK foreign policy, as a gateway to Africa, and therefore important as Britain exits the EU.

15-year-old Crown Prince Moulay Hassan welcomed the Sussexes to their accommodation, where the official parts of the visit ended for the night.

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Today, they flew into the Atlas Mountains for engagements in Asni. Here, the visited the Education For All boarding house. The facility offers accommodation for girls aged 12 to 18, which enables girls in rural communities to access education. A sixth house is currently being built, to extend the organisation’s reach and success: opened in 2007, Education for All now has 50 girls attending university.

Prince Harry and Meghan were welcomed with a song.

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Inside, the royal couple toured the classrooms and dorms. Meghan flexed her linguistic muscles, and spoke in French to the girls: “Qu’est-ce que tu veux etre quand tu quittes l’ecole?” she asked. (What do you want to be when you leave school?).

The pregnant Royal apologised for her ‘high-school French’, but one girl remarked of Prince Harry, who speaks no French: “She was better than her husband!”

The Duchess lived in Canada for a number of years prior to marrying Prince Harry, so was likely able to practise her French in the bilingual Commonwealth nation.

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Inside the building, Meghan was given a henna tattoo, which is traditional for women in the culture at seven months pregnant. It is supposed to bring luck to the child.

The Duchess of Sussex described the art work as ‘really lovely’ and showed her husband when it was done.

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It was then onto a second EFA building, the school. A short tour of the facility saw the Duke and Duchess learn more about the students there, reading some of their biographies. Harry commented: “This is very interesting, they always mention the father, ‘my father wanted me to do this’, ‘my father that’ etc’.”

“Yes that paternal narrative is very strong,” replied Meghan.

After watching an English lesson, Prince Harry asked: “By a show of hands, who was encouraged to come to school by their father?” Around two thirds of the girls raising their hands.

“That’s very good to know, and encouraging,” he said. “Keep it up.”

Out on the football pitch, the couple watched a mixed-sex team play football, chatting to participants before posing for a group photo at Harry’s suggestion.

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Next came a more formal event: an investiture. Both Royals changed into smarter outfits for the event. Michael McHugo, founder of EFA, was awarded with an MBE by The Duke of Sussex against the backdrop of the Atlas mountains. Harry pinned the medal to Mr McHugo’s jacket, for his work improving gender equality in education in Morocco.

A short message was read out by the Duke on behalf on his grandmother, The Queen, congratulating him on the all the work he had done.

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Mr McHugo thanked the soon-to-be parents ‘for coming here and shining a light’ on the issues of education. “This visit will help give international publicity to the work we do and will help us raise money to build more boarding houses.

“The recognition for Education For All isn’t about me at all but it’s wonderful to have had Harry and Meghan come out here to shine a light on it is just incredible,” he told the press later.

Rounding off the day was a reception and dinner hosted by the British Ambassador and his wife, back in Rabat. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex met influential Moroccan women, young entrepreneurs and disabled athletes among others.

They were greeted with rosewater to wash and perfume their hands, as is tradition, before mingling with the guests. One in particular that the Prince met was someone from The Moroccan Royal Gendarmerie, who attended Sandhurst.

the duke and duchess of sussex receive flowers as they arrive at the british ambassador’s residence (kensington palace)

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1 comment

Yumiko Kokuryu Sun 24 February, 2019 - 11:45 pm

May Meghan and Harry take a safe trip in morocco.


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