The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited Nigeria for a short 3-day tour. This trip marked the couple’s first official international tour since January 2020, when they stepped down from their official roles, duties and responsibilities within the Senior Royal Family. After more than four years later, the Duke and Duchess are back on the road, but on their own terms. This means that the trip was not in any way connected to King Charles or the U.K. government. Instead, the trip marked an opportunity for Prince Harry to celebrate his Invictus Games in its 10th anniversary. Last year was Nigeria’s first year in the games, and the country’s highest ranking military official, the Chief of Defense Staff, invited the couple to highlight and reinforce Nigeria’s involvement.

As this is the couple’s first time to the country, it is understandable that the Duke and Duchess would want to take full advantage of the trip and its schedule, setting the tone for any international tours they may or may not have planned in the near future. In order to do that, they utilized their Archewell Foundation, which operates under its mission and goal to “Show Up, Do Good.”

Day One: Friday, May 10, 2024

Lightway Academy Visit with The GEANCO Foundation

The Duke and Duchess touched down in the morning at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, and visited Lightway Academy with The GEANCO Foundation in Abuja. The couple launched the school’s first Mental Health Summit which will be an expanded partnership with The GEANCO Foundation.

Chief of Defense Staff Headquarters

Next, the couple visited the Chief of Defense staff headquarters, where General Christopher Gwabin Musa OFR, Nigeria’s Chief of Defense Staff, officially welcomed the Duke and Duchess. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were invited to Nigeria on his invitation to highlight the Prince’s Invictus Games. To show respect for the country’s colors, the Duke and Duchess wore green and white, respectively, which is something royals often do on international tour visits. Although this trip is conducted completely independently from the Royal Family, King Charles and the U.K. government, it appears the couple wanted to keep the tradition and pay homage in the same manner.

A Trip On His Own: Prince Harry At The 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital In Kaduna

Lastly, on his own, Prince Harry visited Kaduna, where he was met by the Governor of Kaduna State, Senator Uba Sani. From there, he visited the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital in Kaduna. Col NS Onuchukwu, the Chief Medical Director gave the Duke a tour of the medical facilities, where the Prince spent time with the injured and wounded service members. The specialized hospital helps wounded service members, both men and women, recover from their injuries. In addition to the medical attention the service men and women receive, they also have access to a gym for physical therapy, as well as access to the in-house high-tech prosthetics lab. While there, Prince Harry visited two wards and even met with two men who participated in Nigeria’s first-ever appearance at the Invictus Games last year.

Day Two: Saturday, May 11, 2024

Nigeria: Unconquered Training Session And Sitting Volleyball Game

The couple’s second day in Nigeria was dedicated to highlighting Nigeria’s involvement in Prince Harry’s Invictus Games. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visited a training session organized by Nigeria: Unconquered. The non-profit organization was inspired by Prince Harry’s Invictus Games, and works to support the rehabilitation of injured and wounded service members. The Duke and Duchess were invited to watch one of their volleyball games played from a seated position, one of the organization’s many sports programs used for recovery and recuperation. It is also worth it to note that the Invictus Games have included seated volleyball as a program since 2014. After the start of the match, Prince Harry was soon invited to join the game.

Reception with Military Families and the Widow Association

In the afternoon, the couple attended a reception at the Defense Headquarters Officers Mess in Abuja. The purpose of the event was to give the Duke and Duchess of Sussex the opportunity to spend time with the families of service men and women, as well as the widow association. A special portion of the reception was used to unveil a new rehabilitation center. The event was hosted by Chief of Defense Staff, General Christopher Musa.

Meghan Markle at the Women In Leadership Conference Nigeria

Next, Meghan went solo to a Women In Leadership conference, where the Duchess joined a panel discussion with the Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The conversation was moderated by Nigerian media mogul and philanthropist Mo Abudu, and the audience was filled with 50 women leaders across Nigeria with backgrounds in politics, business, media, culture and society. Meghan talked about her experience, managing her roles as a wife and mother, while building a business. The main topic of the event, though, was the importance of representation in powerful roles across all fields of discipline.

Recently, the Duchess discovered that she is 43% Nigerian. Meghan opened up about the experience:

“Being African-American, part of it is really not knowing so much about your lineage or background, where you come from specifically. And it was exciting for both of us to discover more and understand what that really means. Never in a million years would I have understood it as much as I do now. It’s been really eye-opening and humbling to be able to know more about my heritage and to be able to know this is just the beginning of that discovery.”

The Duchess Of Sussex, Meghan Markle

Day Three: Sunday, May 12, 2024

Giants Of Africa Basketball Clinic with Founder, and President of the Toronto Raptors, Masai Ujiri

On the couple’s final day in Nigeria, they traveled to Lagos. Many of the events they attended during their stay were held in Nigeria’s capital Abuja. While on tour, Meghan was gifted a traditional Nigerian skirt, which she wore to Lagos. Upon their arrival, they were greeted at the airport by local officials and welcomed with a traditional dance performance. From the airport, the Duke and Duchess traveled to Ilupeju Senior Grammar School to join Masai Ujiri, the President of the Toronto Raptors and the Founder of Giants of Africa, at the organization’s basketball clinic. The Giants of Africa charity strives to empower African youth through education, mentorship and basketball programming. While there, the couple announced that they would be partnering with Ujiri’s organization, Giants of Africa, through their charity, The Archewell Foundation. The partnership will help expand the Giants of Africa programming to help increase accessible sport for Nigerian youth.

Reception at the State Governor House in Lagos

People Magazine, who was exclusively invited on the trip with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, attended all programming, and reported on each of the events on the couple’s schedule. This event, however was not included in the couple’s news section, highlighting the Nigeria tour on the Duke and Duchess’s official website. People Magazine gathered a quote from Governor Sanwo-Olu, while at the reception at his home.

“For Prince Harry, this trip to the country has been very interesting and informative. He has seen a lot and is still soaking in a great deal. One of the things we hope he will take away is the diversity and the extent of how vast our country is, and how we continue to ensure that we live together in peace and harmony.” He went on to say, “we are happy for what they are doing for military personnel and mental health issues,” indicating that he would like to continue support so that “people who require the support, both in the military and private sectors, can seek it. The denial, the stigmatization, is one of the things that [he, Prince Harry, and everyone in attendance] talked about.”

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu

The topic of the day, as well as the reason for the couple’s invitation to Nigeria, was discussed, Nigeria’s involvement in Prince Harry’s Invictus Games. Sanwo-Olu voiced Nigeria’s willingness to host the games in the future, “so the true Nigerian competitiveness can also be reflected” in the mission of the Games and what they represent. He thanked Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle, saying, “on behalf of all of us in Lagos, we are excited, we are happy to have you with us this afternoon.”

A Visit to the Renowned Lagos Polo Club: A Nigeria: Unconquered Reception

Continuing their last day in Nigeria, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visited the country’s premier Polo Club for a special reception in honor of the organization Nigeria: Unconquered. The couple joined the charity’s training session at a rehabilitation facility on the first day of their trip. They were able to meet service men and women, and attend an event with military families and the Widow Association. This special reception, on their last day, took place at the Lagos Polo Club, which was founded in 1904, and represents an air of prestige and social status as one of Nigeria’s oldest and esteemed social clubs. The Club is known world-wide for its robust culture in equestrian activities and its polo tournaments.

The event opened with a parade to start the festivities, and then the polo match began. In honor of the couple, the two teams were fittingly named “Duke” and “Duchess.” Team Duchess beat Team Duke 5 – 3, and Prince Harry spoke at the medal ceremony, thanking the country of Nigeria for the welcoming reception he and Meghan received throughout their tour. The day ended with a reception in honor of Nigeria: Unconquered to help raise funds and awareness for the services they provide to wounded service men and women, which includes physical and sports therapy to aid recovery and resilience.

This is something close to Prince Harry’s heart, and one of the reasons he founded the Invictus Games in 2014. Reports indicate that Prince Harry was moved by the U.S. Wounded Warriors adaptive sports program, the Warrior Games, which he attended in 2013. From there, the Invictus Games were born, and now it celebrates its tenth year. With Nigeria participating for the first time in 2023, and Prince Harry celebrating the Invictus Games’ 10th anniversary, it was good timing for General Christopher Gwabin Musa OFR, the country’s Chief of Defense Staff, to invite the Duke and Duchess to Nigeria. The trip helped to create more publicity around Nigeria’s participation in the Invictus Games, as well as Nigeria’s programming around rehabilitation for service men and women. This event also helped raise funds for Nigerian athletes to continue to participate in the Invictus Games, with a future goal of potentially hosting them in Nigeria. This is an aim that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu shared with Prince Harry, while the couple attended a reception at his home earlier in the day.

All images courtesy of sussex.com
A Surprise Stop In Abuja: Save The Children UK

It is unclear which day the Duke and Duchess visited the Save The Children UK charity, but it did happen sometime within the three-day period. This stop was organized by their friend and personal photographer Misan Harriman, who is a global ambassador for the charity. While on their visit to the site, the couple met with two of the young ambassadors from the program, pictured below. The couple has partnered with the Save The Children UK charity in the past, but did not announce any additional efforts or goals to partner again. Instead Prince Harry and Meghan Markle learned about the organization’s partnership with British pharmaceutical company GSK. This surprise stop was not included in the news section of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex official website.

Image via Yahoo

To learn more about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s tour to Nigeria, and their organizations, please visit their official website.

All images courtesy of sussex.com