Once upon a time, Sussex might well have proved a power base for its duke and duchess. As it stands today, Harry and Meghan have finally made it over for a visit, nearly five months after Harry was bestowed the dukedom by the Queen directly before the couple’s wedding. Still, they’re doing better on that front than their Cambridge counterparts, who didn’t make it to their namesake county until November 2012, a year and a half after their own wedding. Frankly, I hope both couples begin to steer in the direction of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall who both spend a few days in Cornwall each year.
But never mind that for now, let’s focus on today. Harry and Meghan began with a walkabout in West Sussex made up primarily of schoolchildren where they took their time making greetings and crouching down to talk to the kids. The Sussexes, mind you, are widely regarded as the members of the Royal best with small talk and engaging children.
In homage to Meghan’s nationality, the couple was shown an original of the Declaration of Independence, one of two copies known of. The other, of course, resides within the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The version housed in Sussex was only confirmed in 2016, so its true significance is a bit of a recent win, if you will.
Next up was a stop at the University of Chichester where Harry and Meghan were given a tour and an introduction into the way STEM technologies are being leveraged. Their visit marked the official opening of the Engineering and Digital Technology Park.
Per the Daily Mail:
“The couple met students in an animation and special effects class. Harry jokingly asked them if they had been ‘waiting for hours’ for then to arrive. They were shown a sequence from a film about how objects are shown to bounce in animations. Harry and Meghan then spent a few moments speaking to the students about their work. The duke and duchess also toured an engineering laboratory. They watched a demonstration of a Mecmesin machine, which tests the durability of materials.
“The duchess pressed the button to begin the test and Meghan and Harry both donned safety goggles during the experiment. She exclaimed that it was ‘incredible’ and he remarked that ‘it’s a very cool machine’. Harry and Meghan listened to the student chamber orchestra perform a piece from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Technology students practised filming and recording the performance in the state-of-the-art sound stage.
“Meghan said the piece was ‘so impressive’ and afterwards spoke to the musicians and told them ‘that was so good, beautiful’.”
In the afternoon, Harry and Meghan moved to East Sussex and the city of Brighton, specifically. It’s also the home of Brighton Pavilion, an 18th century architectural gem/nightmare designed and built under the oversight of George IV when he was Prince of Wales. It’s…a lot (as you can glean from some of these photos), but it does illustrate well why young Master George was always in debt.
After another walkabout, Harry and Meghan visited the Survivors’ Network, which supports victims of sexual assault. They then made their way to Brighton Pavilian, and from there moved on to Peacehaven Youth Centre where they discussed mental health issues with staff and participating schoolchildren and adolescents. The conversation was in preparation for this year’s Takeover Day, a national initiative that gives young people a platform to opine on policy issues surrounding mental and emotional health.
Another exchange captured by the Mail from the afternoon walkabout:
Harry immediately spotted the youngsters and exclaimed: ‘You’ve got a very, very similar school uniform to the one I had when I was at Wetherby School in London, all those years ago. Are you on a school trip?’
‘Sort of,’ said one of the boys. ‘Sort of,’ exclaimed Harry, ‘who is your teacher?’
‘We’ve come to see you,’ their teacher, Mrs Sleep, explained. Harry stretched out his arm to shake hands, prompting Mrs Sleep to squeal: ‘I’m not letting go!’
‘Um, please let go,’ he replied, pulling a comedy face. ‘Is this like a maths lesson or a field trip?’
‘This is my beautiful Year 6,’ Mrs Sleep explained, ‘they are form captains and deputy form captains,’ – ‘well done’, interjected Harry – ‘they made you, to help you with your travels around Sussex, an A-Z about where to go, what to eat and what to do. And we’ll be quizzing you at the end!’
‘Cool,’ said Harry.
‘We’re missing double Latin!’ said Tom Symington, ten.
‘What, because you are here?’ exclaimed the prince, and enthusiastically high-fived him.
‘The fact that you got off double Latin because we are here. I think that’s fantastic.’ He added hurriedly: ‘Although education is important!’
I’ll update as more tidbits arise from the day, but in the meantime: Meghan wore a green leather Hugo Boss skirt with a green silk blouse by And Other Stories. This was paired with her camel Armani coat and nude Stuart Weitzman heels. The green bag she carried is Gabriela Hearst.
I loved this look, including the slightly different shades of green. It was very Meghan, but the spot of color was a nice change up from the deluge of black we’ve seen in recent weeks. My only edit, if you will, is that the length of the coat was a smidge too short with the length of the skirt, but that’s minor.
A success all around in my book.