Royal Roundup: South Africa, Angola & a Small Parliamentary Crisis

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Oookay, I had been planning on breaking this up into at least two different posts, but this past weekend got away from me, so a one long roundup will have to suffice. Hey, at least we got some history up, no? Let’s start with the Africa tour and then we’ll segue on over to Balmoral and London.

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So, on Thursday, while we were distracted by Princess Beatrice’s engagement and the Cambridges’ visit to Birkenhead, the Duchess of Sussex hosted a “Women in Public Service” breakfast in Cape Town. The engagement was embargoed until Saturday so as not to detract from Harry’s work in Malawai and Angola, and because the event was private, we were only gifted a couple photos after the fact.

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Meghan wore a new J.Crew skirt with a Misha Nonoo sleeveless top and her favorite black Manolo Blahnik heels.

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Also on Saturday, Meghan made an informal visit to the site where a 19-year-old Cape Town student was murdered last month to pay her respects. The Sussexes’ Instagram account posted a photo of Meghan tying a yellow ribbon at the site in solidarity with efforts to raise the visibility of and end gender-based violence.

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And yesterday, Meghan skype’d into one of Harry’s engagements in Malawi focusing on women and girls. According to eagle-eyed fashion watchers, Meghan is likely wearing the same Lisa Marie Fernandes dress that she wore to attend the charity polo match in July.

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By then, Meghan already made her way to Johannesburg with Baby Archie, while Harry is due to meet them there for a final two days of engagements tomorrow and Wednesday. This tour was definitely slightly offbeat logistically, but I actually thought it was handled very well. Archie is still so young, but it makes sense the Sussexes wanted to include him, and the broken-up schedule allowed Harry’s work to have its moment in the news without being drowned out by Meghan’s star power. The embargoes, carefully released photos, and video session still included her, while also giving a sense for how she was spending her “days off.”

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Harry’s biggest day was without a doubt Friday when he visited Angola and the same site where his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, walked through a field where active landmines were still located to call attention to the cause. Harry has very much picked up her mantle on this issue, and the engagements that day were carefully choreographed to showcase this.

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Harry was photographed making the same walk – albeit in what has since become a town – and marking the progress the world has made in the last 22 years, while still calling out what will needs to be done. That particular street has been named “Princess Diana Street.”

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I’ve seen some discussion of how heavily the Sussexes lean on Diana – or rather, leverage her memory in some of their engagements and work – with a hint of implied criticism. I get that, to a certain extent, but my response to that is 1) Diana’s walk in that minefield is arguably one of the most famous examples of her work and ignoring that would have been silly and 2) this is to be expected now that her sons are older and working full-time. A few years ago the criticism was that Diana’s memory was all but ignored, and now that’s no longer the case. Can we never be happy? 😉

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I was going to do a deeper dive into Diana’s 1997 visit, but unfortunately I’ll have to save that for another time. I particularly wanted to highlight that she actually made that memorable walk twice, understanding how important it was that the photographers got the right images. This was a woman who understood PR and the significance of her and her role — just a reminder that’s not always a bad thing. In fact, it’s quite powerful when used correctly.

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Now back to the UK. As you may recall, last month Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for Parliament to be prorogued until the middle of October. At the time, there was much discussion of the Queen’s approval of said plan, though it was unfathomable that she would contradict the advise of her ministers. That situation was further complicated when, last week, the Scottish Supreme Court ruled that the prorogation was illegal. As the BBC said:

“It wasn’t just Mr Johnson’s request for a prorogation that was found by the Supreme Court to be unlawful, void and of no effect. It was also the Order in Council, the legal mechanism that the Queen personally approves, that was found to be unlawful, void and of no effect. And, said the Supreme Court, it should be quashed.

“More importantly, the Queen has been dragged by the PM’s unlawful prorogation into the place where for decades politicians have agreed she should never be – right into a domestic political argument.”

There was some discussion as to whether the Queen would end her Balmoral residency early to make her way back to London. As far as we know, that hasn’t happened. She was photographed attending church yesterday with her granddaughter-in-law, Autumn Phillips (see above), so all signs point to her returning in time for Monday, Oct. 14 speech before Parliament.

With that, we’ll turn back to Johannesburg tomorrow!

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