MEGHAN MARKLE and Prince Harry’s first royal tour with their son Archie Harrison starts today, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made it clear that they are traveling to South Africa to do “serious ground work”.
Meghan and Harry‘s first official trip to Africa together “is not a vacation”, as stated by a senior source who has been closely involved in planning the tour since March. In fact, upon arriving in Cape Town this morning to start their 10-day tour, the couple will immediately go to a women’s shelter instead of spending their first minutes in South Africa during a welcome ceremony.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made it clear to their assistants that they have traveled south to maximize impact and meet hundreds of South Africans, according to the insider.
Speaking at a press release in Cape Town prior to the start of the tour, the source told Vanity Fair: “This is not a vacation and they don’t want it to look like one.
“This has been planned for months and a lot of work has been done on the planning.
“Their Royal Highnesses want to do serious work on site, especially at community level.”
Meghan and Harry will make no fewer than 86 official appointments in the coming days – including a solo visit from Meghan to Mothers2Mothers on Wednesday in Cape Town, an organization that helps parents living with HIV, added to the already packed schedule just a few hours ago.
Although the visits of Meghan and Harry have been made public, it is unclear whether their first-born Archie will participate in an official engagement or be seen completely in the coming days.
The family of three travels together throughout South Africa, focusing on Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Harry is also going on a number of solo trips to Botswana, Malawi and Angola.
The long-awaited royal tour is also to mark an emotional moment for Prince Harry, who revealed earlier this month on Instagram that he “can’t wait to introduce Meghan and Archie to the continent that is often visited by his mother, the late Princess Diana.
The Duke of Sussex will pay tribute to his mother’s work later this week as he travels to Angola to discuss the importance of continuing the mine clearance work that began in the 1990s, thanks in part to the Diana campaign.
10.05 am update: Meghan and Harry‘s fly was delayed
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Archie landed safely in Cape Town at 9.45 am (10.45 am local time).
Their British Airways flight from London Heathrow Airport, scheduled to arrive early in the morning, was delayed.
The trio now goes to Cape Town, where Meghan and Harry “hit the ground” and, according to one source, immediately start performing assignments.
9.30 am update: Archie makes ‘things a little livelier’ during the tour
The tour of Meghan and Harry will be “a little livelier” thanks to the presence of four-month-old Archie, a source said.
Their firstborn travels with his parents through South Africa, a journey that “according to a source” will truly demonstrate the modern UK-African partnership in action.
The palace source added: “It is a busy program – covering four countries in ten days.
“And of course we have an extra special little passenger to make things a little livelier.”
Update at 9:00 AM: The charity based in South Africa benefited from Meghan and Harry’s baby shower campaign
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have already helped a South African charity before they arrived in Cape Town.
Thanks to a campaign launched by Meghan and Harry in April, the Lunchbox Fund offers 152,000 school meals to South African children in need.
The duke and duchess launched their # globalsussexbabyshower campaign prior to the birth of Archie, who encouraged royal fans to donate to four organizations of choice of royals, including the Lunchbox Fund, instead of buying gifts for their son.
The South African charity has since received £ 24,900 ($ 31,000) from royal fans and generous donors.
The Lunchbox fund is intended for feeding school children in some of the most impoverished regions of South Africa.
Every meal is given at school, which is a strong incentive for a child to go to school every day and for their families to support and keep their educational progress.
This helps every child get the education they desperately need to build a life without poverty for themselves and their families.
8.37 am update: Meghan and Harry want a relaxed tour without formality
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry want as little formality as possible during their tour, according to assistants.
Security officers will protect the royal family at all times, but the duke and duchess want their engagement to be relaxed and allow them to meet and speak to as many people as possible.
A source told Vanity Fair: “It is very bad how they want things done.
“There is no protocol that says you have to bow or bend when you meet them, it’s really up to the individual.”
8.20 am update: Meghan, Harry and Archie arrive in South Africa
Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and Archie will land in South Africa within a few hours.
The duke and duchess tour officially starts in the early afternoon.
Once in Cape Town, Meghan and Harry will attend a workshop that teaches children about their rights, self-awareness and safety, and take self-defense lessons and training for female empowerment for young girls in the community.