We’re back sooner than expected with news the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will visit Morocco from the 23rd-25th February at the request of Her Majesty’s government. Kensington Palace confirmed the news this morning via Twitter.
Normally, news of overseas trips for members of the Royal family are reported months in advance. We often see Palace sources give confirmation to trusted outlets. This trip appeared to come very much to the surprise of the press pack and indeed royal followers who were very interested to hear the Duchess will be undertaking a visit abroad close to her eighth month of pregnancy. Much like Meghan’s work with the Hubb and private visits to her patronages, the Sussexes have managed to keep much of their efforts and plans under the radar. It’s certainly an exciting development. I understand they will arrive in Morocco on the evening of Saturday, 23rd and carry out engagements over the Sunday and Monday before returning to London.
It’s been less than nine months since the royal wedding and already we’ve seen Harry and Meghan deployed to Dublin – an important diplomatic visit given the challenges Brexit poses regarding trade between the neighbouring countries. In October, they carried out a full scale tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. And later this month, ahead of the arrival of Baby Sussex, it’s Morocco. It’s interesting to see their roles as ambassadors for Britain developing apace; the fact the Queen and Buckingham Palace have entrusted Meghan with several visits abroad so early on is a testament to Her Majesty’s confidence in her. We recently chatted about Meghan meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. We’re starting to see the stateswoman she will develop into emerge.
‘A royal aide said the couple were following official NHS guidance which advises that women can fly until they are 37 weeks pregnant, adding: “The Duchess feels well and able to fly. Most airlines permit women to fly up until approximately the last month of their pregnancy.
“We announced the baby is due in the spring and this visit is in February.” They will fly on a commercial airline but Kensington Palace declined to comment on whether a doctor will accompany them.’
What type of engagements can we expect to see during the trip to the North African country? It is thought they will visit popular tourist attractions, potentially meet with Morocco’s ruler King Mohammed VI and prime minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani. Causes close to their hearts such as young people and education for girls will also feature. Simon Perry reports:
They have been asked to go by the British government. “It will build on the close relationship between the U.K. and Morocco,” a spokesperson at their office at Kensington Palace says. “The Duke and Duchess are looking forward to the visit which will highlight the vital roles that girls’ education and youth empowerment are playing in, and shaping, modern Morocco.”
Hannah Furness shared a link to a very interesting piece written by Michelle Obama in 2016 on the global girls’ education crisis following visits to Morocco and Liberia.
‘Rihab Boutadghart lives in a remote part of Morocco near the Sahara Desert. While Morocco has made huge strides in education, and nearly all girls there attend elementary school, girls in rural areas often live far from the nearest middle and high schools, so many of them drop out of school by the time they turn twelve. Right now, only 14 percent of girls in rural Morocco attend high school.
But Rihab, who proudly describes herself as a “feminist,” is determined to finish her education. She dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and being the CEO of a major company, and she recently appeared on Moroccan TV urging girls to work hard and follow their passions.’
One organisation I could see Meghan eager to work with is Education for All Morocco. The organisation supports girls from very rural communities to continue their education beyond primary school. They are often prohibited by the costs associated with travelling to the nearest secondary school, often a number of kilometres away in larger towns. In some rural areas, up to 83% of women are illiterate – a shocking figure. They believe “Educate a Girl, Educate the Next Generation”.
More from the British Ambassador to Morocco Thomas Reilly.
We expect to hear the full itinerary over the next week or so.
And today, the women were visited by a team of designers from Stella McCartney to discuss how they could lend their services to support future projects by the Hubb team. It’s brilliant to see their growth and plans for the future taking shape.
Hope you all have a great weekend!