WATCH HARRY AND MEGHAN’S NEW ADVENTURE! Royal Couple Lands in Nigeria to Promote Invictus Games, Following UK Return”

Prince Harry and Meghan

 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrived in Nigeria this morning for their 72-hour whistlestop tour after flying in together following a secret reunion in London.

 

Prince Harry and Meghan

The Duchess of Sussex landed at Heathrow yesterday after flying solo from Los Angeles before meeting up with her husband at the airport’s VIP Windsor Suite.

They both boarded the British Airways overnight flight to Abuja, which was slightly delayed after the scheduled pilot went sick and a replacement had to be scrambled.

The couple, visiting Nigeria together for the first time, were seated in the first class section of the Boeing 777 and were kept apart from other passengers by a curtain.

It comes after Harry said it was ‘great’ to be back in the UK this week to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Invictus Games. The Duke had been in London since Tuesday, attending events relating to the competition including a thanksgiving service.

On arrival in Nigeria just before 5am today, other travellers were held back while the couple were escorted off and they exchanged smiles with cabin crew as they left.

Prince Harry and Meghan

The Duke of Sussex said it was ‘great’ to be back in the UK this week.

Speaking at an event he attended in London yesterday for Scotty’s Little Soldiers, a charity for bereaved military children, Harry was asked by BBC royal correspondent Daniela Relph: ‘Nice to have you back. How is it being here?’

The Duke replied: ‘It’s great. Just as the lights turned off, perfect timing. It’s great, it’s amazing. What Scotty’s is doing with these kids is absolutely incredible, and very needed as well.

‘And the more opportunity we get to do these kind of events, the more that families and kids up and down the country know that Scotty’s exists, which is really the most important thing.’

Ms Relph asked him: ‘How many Maltesers did you eat off the floor?’

And Harry replied: ‘Er, you guys probably know better than I do, but at least three. I think by that point it started getting a little bit weird.’

As he walked away, Ms Relph said: ‘And nice to be back in the UK?’ And Harry said: ‘Yeah, it’s great. Nice to see you.’

Nigerian officials met them at the airport, Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International, and they were taken out of a side door onto the jetty and into a waiting blacked out minibus.

Meghan was wearing black trousers and a brown jacket, while Harry walked behind in a black jacket and trousers and open necked shirt.

Aides carried their luggage, and they were accompanied by the same security team that had been with Harry throughout his recent stay in London.

The couple are thought to be staying in the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja where the presidential suit costs Β£600 a night.

Set in picturesque landscape gardens in the heart of the Nigerian capital, the hotel has a restaurant, pool and spa and is popular with expats and diplomats.

It is also close to the Nigerian Defence Headquarters where the couple will have their first engagement at 12pm with General Christopher Musa, Chief of Defence Staff.

Brigadier General Tukur Gusau told MailOnline: ‘They will be tired after their journey, so they will rest and then the first engagement is at midday at the Defence Headquarters.

After that they will travel to Kaduna to meet wounded soldiers at a military hospital there before returning to Abuja for other engagements.’

The visit is primarily to promote the Invictus Games and comes after Harry met the Nigerian team and General Musa at last year’s competition in Dusseldorf, Germany.

It was there that he told the audience Meghan was ‘rooting for Team Nigeria’ after discovering she had heritage from the west African nation.

Prince Harry and Meghan

Harry and Meghan are visiting Nigeria on the invitation of General Christopher Musa.

The couple are due to visit a school before the duke meets injured service members at a military hospital.

They will also attend a training session for charity organisation Nigeria: Unconquered, which collaborates with the Invictus Games, as well as a reception where military families will be honoured.

Meghan is then due to co-host an event of Women in Leadership with Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the director-general of the World Trade Organisation.

On Sunday the couple will fly to Lagos for the second part of visit where they will attend a basketball camp with the charity Giants of Africa, a cultural reception and a polo fundraiser for Nigeria: Unconquered.

The Defence HQ revealed the Sussexes’ itinerary in a press conference yesterday, and said that while some of the meetings will be private, the couple will do a photocall after.

The department said Meghan was looking forward to visiting Nigeria to ‘explore her Nigerian ancestry’.

It comes after Meghan revealed on her Spotify podcast Archetypes in 2022 that she found out she has Nigerian ancestry, describing herself as ’43 per cent Nigerian’.

During a visit to the Nigerian team at last year’s Invictus Games in Dusseldorf, Meghan was given the name Amira Ngozi Lolo, which holds a special royal meaning.

Harry also joked about Meghan’s ancestry during his opening speech at the games.

He said: ‘Now, I’m not saying we play favourites in our home, but since my wife discovered she’s of Nigerian descent, it’s likely to get a little bit more competitive this year.’

It comes after the duke celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Invictus Games at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Wednesday.

Harry was joined for the service of thanksgiving by close relatives of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales and a mentor who supported him after her death, along with hundreds of people from the ‘Invictus family’.

The St Paul’s service to recognise the Paralympic-style competition the royal founded began as a few miles away the King met guests at the first Buckingham Palace garden party of the year.

The monarch and his son did not meet during Harry’s brief UK visit due to the King’s ‘full programme’, said the duke’s spokesman in a statement.

There have been reports of issues of trust but the statement had a conciliatory tone and mentioned how the duke hoped to ‘see him soon’.

The Invictus Games was founded as a sporting event for injured and sick military personnel and veterans.

Harry met Nigeria’s chief of defence staff in Germany last September at the Invictus Games in Dusseldorf.

Local newspapers reported that Defence Headquarters was ‘honoured’ and ‘delighted’ after Harry and Meghan, who is of Nigerian descent, had accepted the invitation.

In a press briefing broadcast live on Facebook yesterday, Air Vice Marshal Abidemi Marquis, who is the director of sports at the Nigerian Defence Ministry, said Harry and Meghan would visit the Wuse Light Academy – an institution they are supporting – before seeing Nigeria’s security chief.
Later they will travel to Kaduna state to visit the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital where the wounded and injured soldiers are kept for their medical recovery.

Air Vice Marshal Marquis added that the visit would aid the recovery of injured soldiers to boost their personal self-esteem and improve their mental health.

He continued: ‘Their emotional intelligence has been improved and also their families seeing them, as they used to be breadwinners who is capable of continue living.

‘So this engagement with Invictus is giving us the opportunity for the recovery for our soldiers.

‘On Saturday, we’ll be having like an exhibition of novelty match. The CDS (Chief of Defence Staff) team and the Duke’s team will be having a volleyball match at the armed forces officers’ mess in the morning.

‘And this is just to engage with the wounded and injured soldiers. It’s a sitting volleyball match coming in the morning.

So after that, we have a programme for them by 1pm. A reception, where they will be interacting with families of wounded and injured soldiers and families of soldiers and officers killed in action and service members generally.’

While still in London yesterday, Harry chatted and played games with bereaved military children as he made a surprise visit to a charity event.

Harry spent the afternoon with 50 children and young people, aged between six and 22, who have experienced the death of a military parent.

He took part in games – including one which saw the duke use a straw to transport Smarties as quickly as possible – and spoke to the youngsters as part of the fun-filled event hosted in London by Scotty’s Little Soldiers.

Harry also spent time talking to nine members from Scotty’s Council, a group of young people who represent the charity’s other members, who discussed their experiences of growing up without a parent.

The duke, 39, completed two tours of Afghanistan between 2007 and 2013 as a forward air controller and an Apache helicopter pilot, having flown countless training missions in the UK, US and Australia.

He said: ‘It was an honour to meet so many of the wonderful families Scotty’s Little Soldiers supports.

‘I have long believed in the mission of this charity, and I truly believe the work they do to foster community and create space for young people to connect, grieve, but also have fun together is life-changing.

‘I am a huge supporter of their work, and very proud to be their first global ambassador.’

The charity – for which the duke became a global ambassador in November – was one of seven which had been nominated by Harry and Meghan to benefit from donations marking the couple’s wedding ceremony in 2018.