The big news is the lawsuit the public became aware of yesterday via a rather dramatic announcement from the Duke of Sussex. The Sussexes are suing the Mail on Sunday for the publication of a private letter the Duchess wrote her father, and which was published without her permission in February. Harry offered context for the suit with a personal and emotional statement that called out the British tabloids writ large for unnecessarily attacking his wife.
We’re going to get there, but first I do want to finish wrapping up the rest of the South Africa tour, as well as the Cambridges’ engagement in London, so keep an eye out later today for a deeper dive into this issue. And for the sake of not writing 1,000 posts today, I’m going to combine all the Sussexes’ Johannesburg engagements into one post 🙂
For starters, the couple is reunited, with Harry having flown in to join Meghan and Baby Archie yesterday afternoon. This morning they kicked off their final day with a visit to YES, an organization focused on supporting and empowering black youths. Business-led with collaboration with the government, the group is focused on employment and economic opportunity.
They also provide skills training in the digital and financial sphere, so the couple were given a tour and shown some of the resources available to participants.
From there they moved on to Blossom Care Solution, which trains young women to produce biodegradable personal health products. Both Harry and Meghan delivered brief remarks, video of which is below via royal reporter Omid Scobie:
The couple went on to meet Graça Machel, widow of the late Nelson Mandela. Harry last met her in 2015, but as far as I know, this is Meghan’s first time.
They attended a reception at the British High Commission where they met with leaders in the arts and business and worlds.
Meghan again delivered a speech in which she spoke of her desire to use this tour as an opportunity to meet women across South Africa, and listen and learn about their experiences. I’ve included the full text below, but here’s a clips via Christin Zi:
On the style front, Meghan wore a new, white shirtdress for her morning engagement that hasn’t been ID’d yet (as far as I can tell). She paired it with Stuart Weitzman heels and red Madewell tassel earrings. It’s a similar silhouette the Room 502 dress she debuted yesterday, but longer, and I love it. Meghan carries off white well and I thought it was perfect for the occasion.
For the afternoon, she changed into her House of Nonie trench dress – amusing to me only because yesterday I referenced it as similar to the Banana Republic trench dress she debuted. I’m not a huge fan of this dress, however the last time she wore it was last summer when she visited a Nelson Mandela exhibit in London. In that sense, it was very fitting, so I’m giving partial credit for that.
So, final thoughts on this tour? I’m afraid that it’s been overshadowed now by the drama swirling around news of the lawsuit, but I want to save a discussion of that timing for my later post. Harry and Meghan are very good at what they do – they’re effective, compelling, and clearly passionate about the issues they take on. That shows clearly in how they approach their engagements and so in that regard, I think this trip was a huge win.
I wasn’t sure how the logistics of the couple handling South Africa together while Harry toured three other countries solo would pan out, but I think it worked. It spared this from feeling too much like a marathon and I’m certainly not feeling the Sussex fatigue I felt by the end of the Oceania tour 😉 There were big moments, sweet moments, and even some solid fashion moments (after a bumpy start). It’s hard to ask for more from a tour.
With that, let’s switch gears to Pakistan and this latest media drama…
Meghan’s Final Speech
Good afternoon. Thank you for yet another wonderful welcome, I can’t believe it’s almost time to say goodbye to this country.
From the moment we arrived we were greeted by the rhythm and energy of the Mbokodo girls in Nyanga – and I knew that this trip was going to be something incredibly special. So, just begin by saying thank you to all of the people we’ve met – on behalf of both of us, and of course Archie – we are so grateful. This trip has meant so much to us as a family, but also to me personally.
As you know, reading about the death of Uyinene, and hearing about the protests weighed heavily on my mind. Gender based violence is a harrowing reality for many women around the world. And for some, like the beautiful and talented Uyinene, this violence has taken women from us who have – who had – a life full of hope and dreams ahead of them. Yet if there is any possible hope in this situation, if there is some sliver of light, it is that people are paying attention like never before.
The recent crisis has sparked a much-needed conversation in South Africa, and the world is listening. I met a group of young girls yesterday who wanted to talk to me about their experience. Some of which was harrowing.
Yet despite everything they had been through, they said the saddest thing was to watch the continued degradation of women, and that they wanted to be part of a movement where both women and men play a role in turning that around.
As someone who has been a long-time advocate of women’s and girls’ rights, I worried about what was happening and my intention on this tour was to meet with women across South Africa to listen and to learn.
So from students to politicians, from apartheid campaigners of the 50s to teenagers on a beach, from the mothers with HIV providing health care to their community, and to the entrepreneurs who are driving the businesses of the future – they all showed me a power and a solidarity that, in this moment, in this time, all women, and all people, can take strength and inspiration from. Because these amazing African women have discovered self-belief and found their worth.
At our visit this earlier this morning I was struck by a small sign that was posted on the wall for the female entrepreneurs – and it said: ‘visualize your highest self, and show up as her’. This is the spirit of the women and girls I have met on this trip.
They are not defining themselves by how they compare to others, or making their success and marking it against historical expectations. They are simply paving their own path, they have their own voice, and they are being listened to.
And as I’ve said before, I firmly believe that all women have a voice, they just need to feel empowered to use it, and people need to feel encouraged to listen. There is a role for all of us here. As women we can listen to one another, and lift each other up, we can raise our boys to be men who value women. And for men and boys, you can lead by example and not let your mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and girlfriends ever feel that they are lesser than you.
I remember being a young girl watching TV and seeing what was happening in the world, and frankly, often feeling despair. Because when you continue and constantly see and hear negativity, it can be overwhelming; you can feel powerless, and lost, you can feel different, confused, or like you don’t belong.
And I’m sure there is a young girl or boy watching this and thinking the maybe exact same thing. So, this is for you.
In a world that that can seem so aggressive, confrontational, and dangerous, you should know that you have the power to change it.
Because whether you’re here in South Africa, at home in the UK or the US, or around the world, you actually have the power within you to change things, and that begins with how you connect to others.
I have learned from the people I’ve met here, that whether it’s about society’s expectations of masculinity or femininity, or how we divide ourselves by race or faith or class or status- everyone has value, and everyone deserves to be heard and respected.
And if you live your life in that way, your generation will start to value each other in ways the rest of us have not yet been able to do so.
Over the past 10 days our family has had emotional moments, we’ve poignant moments, we’ve had spiritual moments; we’ve met inspirational leaders in every walk of life, and we’ve been treated to incredible food, music, and dancing, but above all, we have been able to meet the people that are the rocks behind the sort of work that really means a so much to us. It has been affirming to learn that we’re not alone in the things that we believe in, and the principles we hold so dear.
No matter how different our lives may seem – Africa, you have made us feel part of your community, of our shared community.
On our visit to the Mosque in Bo Kapp, one of the women told us that the way we change the world is to honour the dignity of difference. And in this we can find strength. When we can bridge divides, and meet, as human beings with different experiences, we can all find connection – and in that connection we become more aware of one another, more aware of our place in the world. We find hope, and self-worth, we can find optimism and courage, and ultimately, we can find joy.
So whether for Harry, Archie and me in South Africa, or for my husband as he was travelling Botswana, Angola and Malawi, please know that you have all given us so much inspiration, so much hope – and above all, you have given us joy.