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Can Harry and Meghan’s Africa Trip Get Their Popularity Back On Track? - TASTE EVERY SEASON

Can Harry and Meghan’s Africa Trip Get Their Popularity Back On Track?

After a summer of negative headlines and a high-profile snub of the Queen, the Sussexes will head to South Africa on Monday for an ambitious, ten-day tour, where a busy schedule and Baby Archie may help send the right message at last.

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With just days to go until the Sussexes touch down in South Africa for their first official tour as a family, the countdown to the royal visit has begun. The ten-day tour, which begins on Monday, has been months in the planning, and will likely be a chance for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to show off their five month old son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, who has not yet officially been seen in public.

It will also an opportunity for the couple to showcase their unique star-power and do what they do best—shining the spotlight on causes close to them.

While the tour itinerary bears all the hallmarks of a traditional royal tour (there’s the obligatory tree planting and plaque unveiling), it has Harry and Meghan’s stamp all over it. Conservation, mental health, female empowerment, and even community cooking are the focus of the itinerary, which Harry has described as “meaningful.” While there will be a handful of formal receptions there are no state dinner (there were several on their trip to the South Pacific last fall); the couple have said they want as little fuss and formality as possible when it comes to protocol.

Harry and Meghan have a particular investment in the Commonwealth—the collection of 53 countries with official ties to Britain—and during their trip will visit the Commonwealth countries South Africa, Malawi, and Botswana, as well as Angola. The trip is seen as an important opportunity for the couple to show how they plan to support and connect with young leaders around the world.

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As Britain’s exit from the EU continues, it’s also a crucial moment for diplomacy. Aides say this will be the first of many trips to Africa for the couple, an opportunity to prove they are not just celebrity royals, but important and vital ambassadors for the Royal Family. In Cape Town, for example, Meghan and Harry will meet young South Africans to discuss the UK’s modern partnership with their country. As one spokesman said, the trip is an opportunity to “to highlight many of the causes they have been involved with for many years (and) demonstrate a modern UK-Africa partnership in action.”

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The itinerary has been planned by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, but Harry and Meghan have been closely involved, spending weeks researching and prepping for the tour.
It marks the end of five months of maternity leave for Meghan, who is said to be looking forward to the trip and seeing South Africa for the first time.

And it will be straight to work. There won’t be a traditional welcome at the airport when the family and their 16 strong entourage arrive on Monday, because the South African prime minister is not there to greet the couple. Instead they will head straight to their first engagement, a visit to a township in Cape Town. Here they will view a workshop that teaches children about their rights and provides self-defense classes and female empowerment training to young girls in the community. Both Harry and Meghan will speak at the event and give speeches they wrote themselves, setting the tone for the tour.
The busy itinerary will see them carrying out up to five engagements a day, and after Harry leaves Cape Town for Botswana, Angola, and Malawi, Meghan will stay behind with Archie and continue a busy schedule of her own, though many of her meetings will be private so as not to detract from Harry’s work.

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While on his own Harry will visit his charity Sentebale’s new project in Kasane, Botswana, which works with young people affected with HIV. In Angola he will visit the landmine site his mother famously visited in 1997 with the Halo Trust; the images of him visiting the very street his mother saw when it was a dangerous minefield, now a thriving town, are expected to be some of the most poignant of the tour. And in Malawi Harry will visit a girls’ educational centre and dedicate Liwonde National Park to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. He’ll then reunite with Meghan in Johannesburg where they will carry out more engagements before the end of the tour.

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