Sunday, 24 February 2019

The Sussexes Visit the Atlas Mountains in Support of Girls' Education Programmes

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex travelled to the Atlas Mountains for day two of Royal Visit Morocco.


It's been a hectic 24 hours for the couple. They travelled from London on a delayed Royal Air Maroc commercial flight yesterday. Following a short arrival ceremony, they were driven to the royal residence in Rabat where they were greeted by Crown Prince Moulay Hassan. This morning, they took a helicopter to the town of Asni for several engagements focused on education. They were both in great spirits upon arrival and we saw plenty of great shots like this...


British Ambassador to Morocco Thomas Reilly told The Times, the visit is intended to "open up new avenues and potential areas of co-operation". Last night a Kensington Palace aide said: "Their Royal Highnesses are very much looking forward to the visit and are grateful to their hosts and the British Embassy for arranging such an interesting programme. They are particularly pleased that they will have the opportunity to meet so many young Moroccans over the next few days."


More from The Sunday Times:

'Despite its brevity, the visit nonetheless represents a testing challenge for the visitors, not least because the town of Asni is only 10 miles from the mountainous area where two Scandinavian tourists were murdered in December, allegedly by Moroccan jihadists. Both British and Moroccan officials are confident that this was an isolated incident and no security problems are expected.
Less predictable are the protests that have lately shaken Morocco, which had seemed to escape largely unscathed from the regional turmoil of recent years.
Police in Rabat last week used water cannons and truncheons to break up a march by teachers and others marking the anniversary of the 2011 Arab Spring protests. Other unforeseen hazards include Morocco’s notoriously mangy cats, which solicit stroking but can often pass on infections.'

The Atlas Mountains extend some 2,500km across northwestern Africa, spanning Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, separating the Atlantic and Mediterranean coastline from the Sahara Desert.


Meghan is incredibly passionate about girls' education, which is why it came as no surprise when Her Majesty passed her patronage of the Association of Commonwealth Universities to her. During Harry and Meghan's visit to Fiji in October, the Duchess gave a powerful speech in which she drew on her own experiences and the importance of making every effort to educate young people. "I am fully aware of the challenges of being able to afford this level of schooling for many people around the world - myself included. It was through scholarships, financial aid programmes and work-study where my earnings from a job on campus went directly towards my tuition - that I was able to attend university,' she said. And, without question, it was worth every effort. Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive the education they want, but more importantly the education they have the right to receive. And for women and girls in developing countries, this is vital."


When it came to planning the itinerary, Educational For All was a perfect match for Meghan.


The organisation supports girls from very rural communities to continue their education beyond primary school. They are often prohibited by the costs associated with travelling to the nearest secondary school, often a number of kilometres away in larger towns. In some rural areas, up to 83% of women are illiterate - a shocking figure. They believe "Educate a Girl, Educate the Next Generation".


Meghan was given a Henna tattoo by seventeen-year-old Samira. It is considered a blessing in Morocco for any significant event.


Chris Ship shared a photo of the tattoo.


According to Roya Nikkhah both Harry and Meghan were eager to speak French to the students. Meghan recently revealed she's been "trying to get better at my French over the last year". Several reporters commented Meghan's command of the language was "impressive".


More from the Mail Online:

'First they chatted in English, 'your English is fantastic' Meghan told her. 'You do your homework here as well as research? It's your last year of school, do you want to go to university and what do you want to do?'
Saida said she wanted to be a writer like her favourite author William Shakespeare. Meghan then started chatting in French to a group of girls, telling them it was nice they could all do their exams together. Saida said: 'Her French was good and it was a surprise she spoke it so well 'But Harry said he didn't speak French at all. 'She was better than her husband!'
As Meghan chatted with the girls, one said (in English): 'Thank you so much for being here with us.' Meghan replied: 'It's an honour to be here 'I'd love to come back. What's happening here and so many places all over the world with more girls getting an education, it changes the future and changes the future for everyone not just the girls.'

Education For All build and run high-quality boarding houses for girls from 12–18. Everything is provided for free including three nutritious meals a day, hot showers, cosy beds, access to computers, study support via an international volunteer programme and dedicated, local housemothers. The overall environment makes it easy for the girls to settle in and thrive in their studies. They see an average of 90% pass rate across all years and over fifty girls from EFA are currently enrolled in University.


The Duchess was delighted to meet students.


Rebecca English reports:

'During their visit to Asni today, Meghan told a group of Moroccan schoolgirls how proud she was of them. At present, few girls from rural communities in Morocco continue their education after primary school due to a host of economic and social reasons. 
Chatting to some of the girls that are being helped by EFA, Meghan said through an interpreter: ‘We are very proud of all of you. You are such good role models. Admiring the view of the mountains from the roof top of a local hotel, Harry said: ‘Maybe we should move here. Amazing views. Have you all been helped to go to school here? Do you take everything back to your communities?’

A video from the engagement.


Meghan and Harry ran over to meet two very excited little girls afterwards.


More from the Mail Online:

'Meanwhile, two little girls got their wish to meet ‘the Prince and Princess’ after waiting in their party dresses for two hours. Rania, five, and Ryannna, two, were taken by their mother, Clare Minejem to see Harry and Meghan as they visited the small town in the Atlas Mountains.
The couple walked in without seeing the youngsters, who were waving a British and Moroccan flags, but they spotted them as they left and Meghan immediately made a beeline for the sisters and bent down to say hello. Meghan shook their hands and said: ‘Hi girls, so cute! What are are your names? So sweet!‘ The duchess also showed them a henna drawing on her hand and said: ‘Nice, isn’t it? So pretty! ‘
The girls’ mother is nurse who moved to Morocco from Bangor, Northern Ireland, 12 years ago and settled down in Marrakesh, where she also runs a health education charity. As her couple said their goodbyes, her father, Russell McCaughey, who is visiting shouted out to a laughing Harry: ‘No grand slam then?‘ in relation to the England rugby result. ‘No-one did,’ he shouted back.'

The Ambassador described it as a "lovely, genuine moment".



Next, the Duke and Duchess visited Lycee Qualifant Grand Atlas to hear about their efforts in education.


They received a very warm welcome.


The Duke and Duchess observed a class practicing English lessons.


The couple very much enjoyed watching students playing football.


They posed for photos.


Finally, at another Education For All boarding house in Asni, Harry invested founder Michael McHugo with his MBE. He was awarded for his work in education and gender equality in the New Years honours list. Harry said: “It is with great pleasure that on Her Majesty’s behalf, I present you with the badge of honour. May I congratulate you on all the work you have done to improve gender equality.”


Meghan changed into a white blouse and heels for the investiture.


Meghan met a group of housemothers who look after up to 40 girls each in the boarding house.


Education For All tweeted this fabulous poster, which was created to greet the couple with the caption: "The perfect day with Harry and Meghan".


The Duchess selected a smart casual look for the engagements in Asni.


The Duchess sported the Alice + Olivia Simpson Collarless Blazer (with many thanks to Meghan's Fashion). The 'sapphire blue' piece features rolled cuffs, a front hook closure and a sharp tailored fit. It's available for £395 in sizes 0-12 on the Alice + Olivia website and Orchard Mile.


Rebecca English revealed Meghan wore Misha Nonoo's Cashmere Crew Neck.


Meghan teamed the blazer with the $68 Artizia Wilfred Diamond Mosaic Scarf  in Birch/Grey (with thanks to Duchess Data).


The Duchess wore her $120 Birdies Starling slippers. She's had them in her closet for several years.


It was very interesting to see Meghan accessorise with the Boh Runga earrings Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave her in New Zealand. The pair got along brilliantly during the tour and last month PM Ardern visited the Duchess at Kensington Palace. The earrings feature the native Miromiro feather, reworked into a kiss motif. In Māori mythology the Miromiro feather was a magic token of devotion that would bring loved ones back to you. They are described as a gift for "The sister with the brave and bold streak".

The eagle-eyed Elizabeth from Meghan's Fashion identified Meghan's sunglasses as the Illesteva York Sunglasses.


A closer look at Meghan's partial change of outfit from Chris Ship.


It appears Meghan wore the $128 Artizia Babaton Roland Blouse (with thanks to UFO No More).


Susan from What Meghan Wore quickly identified Meghan's shoes as the Manolo Blahnik Carolyn
Black Satin and Velvet Polka Dot Slingback Pumps. "I created Carolyne in 1986 - it never gets old! It's a shoe that goes everywhere. You can put on in the morning and forget about it!" - Manolo Blahnik.

The couple will attend a reception at the Ambassadors' residence this evening.

48 comments:

  1. I love this! I wish I’d learned French at school. I love her outfit, too. This is what I wear pretty much most days. I want her Birdies flats!

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  2. Charlotte (or anybody that are more familiar with Morroco), do you know what the “dresscode” is in Morroco, especially for women? I have often seen Lalla Salma in pants and with her hair down and uncovered, but I also saw a picture of Queen Letizia with a headscarf on their recent state visit. Are we expecting to see Meghan in a headscarf at some point?

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    1. Some places requires headscarf in muslim countries (mosque).Letizia was visiting a religious place were the late previous King tomb as I remember but I'm not sure.If Meghan will visit religious places she will wear a headscarf but in other place she can wear normal" dresscode".

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    2. Hi, I worked with a Moroccan woman and the dresscode is pretty much exactly what Meghan is wearing (a long sweater/jacket with pants) with a headdress which was optional depending on how devout you were. The scarf is often worn in countries like Morocco or Iran as a fashion item -- a lot of Iranian women say they like the pop of color a brightly patterned scarf can bring to clothes.

      That being said wow Meghan looks tired. Understandable but she looks like she needs a really long nap.

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    3. Queen Letizia wore the headscarf when she visited the mausoleum of the late King. When I visted Morrocco modest dress an outfit similar to what Meghan is wearing today for a casual look was very appropriate. The only time I told I would have to headscarf if I was going to a mosque etc. Otherwise I noticed alot of young women there don't wear one. Beautiful country really worth a visit.

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    4. I think that Morocco, like Turkey, doesn't require the headscarf unless you're visiting a religious site. Otherwise you just dress conservatively - I've not been to Morocco, but that's how I operated in Turkey.
      I like this outfit for the activities and comfort. M&H look like they're having a great time and the cause being highlighted is very deserving of the extra attention. --OP

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    5. Muslim nation’s ask that a woman covers her arms at least to the wrist, and covers her legs at least past the knee in dress. The headscarf is called a hijab. It is worn by women who are of the Muslim Faith . Women who are not Muslim may be asked to wear a hijab when visiting royalty or a Mosque as sign of respect. When I lived in Kuwait, I was fine if I had my arms and legs covered. It was hard in the warm months 125F/52C Of course if I was with my British, Canadian or US friends, we could be more casual.

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  3. P.S. How would I go about getting a pair for myself here in NZ?

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    Replies
    1. They sell Birdies on Nordstrom.com. They have excellent customer service. I have a pair of the “starling” in black velvet and they Are very comfortable. I ordered the “heron” style in suede and had to send them back. They hurt my feet. I am a true 7.5 in US and the starling fit perfect but the “heron” was too tight and pinched at toes. I didn’t go up a half size.

      Nordstom.com says this about international shipping “Nordstrom partners with Borderfree, a global e-commerce provider, to offer international shopping. Just select your shipping destination below and start shopping. You'll see all shipping fees, tariffs and taxes and get a guaranteed exchange rate during Checkout.”

      http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/international-shopping

      Good luck!
      Allison P

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    2. Kiwi gal-

      Please email us at help@birdiesslippers.com if you’re interested in international delivery to other locations and we will try to get your Birdies to you.

      Customers may be charged duty and other customs fees for international shipments upon delivery as required by their government. We do not have free return labels for international orders.

      https://birdiesslippers.com/pages/faqs

      Delete
  4. Hmm i love these thing there perfect together Nd their are in sync

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  5. The potential photo of the day is so sweet. <3

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  6. Wonderful photos and videos to wake up to this morning! Speaking French as well! Absolutely lovely!

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  7. That early contender for photo of the day. Oh my.

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  8. I love the second photo!Meghan looks so beautiful and fresh faced.

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  9. Wow the camera shutters were terrible, why don’t these cameras have noiseless shutters? I think noiseless shutters should be a requirement if you are part of the press following the royals. This takes away from the people they are greeting. Wonderful visit for Meghan, loved how this stop seemed to be for Meghan to take the lead, she just is so Amazing when doing something she clearly loves!! Here I believe she was more herself than ever!!!

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    1. I have often wondered why, if the majority of cameras used by the press pack, are digital, do we still have shutter sounds?

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    2. From your mouth to the camera makers ears Indigoisle!! I remember W&K's engagement photo call and you could barely hear what they were saying due to the shutter noise.

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    3. I also love that Harry is happy to step back and let Meghan take the lead when it's an event she particularly loves or is more knowledgeable about. No stuffy protocol for this modern couple!

      I was also happy to *finally* see Meghan wearing flats. I honestly don't know how she manages in the sky-high heels she usually wears, especially while pregnant! I'm sure her feet thanked her, too!

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  10. It's wonderful seeing Meghan in very casual outfits again.

    I can not but think of two Scandinavian female students who were brutally murdered in Atlas Mountains last December. May their families & friends live in peace. -Natasha

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  11. It looks to me as if Meghan's baby has dropped. I thought she was carrying high, so the dropping is a good sign of impending labor. I hope this American phrasing about pregnancy makes sense to my global sisters! Do you agree, or am I just super-excited about the birth of this baby?!

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    1. I agree Ms. Cuppa! The baby has definitely dropped down a bit and I bet it's more comfortable for her too. Can I join you on the super-excited about the birth of this baby couch?! We can sit on the edge of it, waiting in breathless anticipation!!

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    2. It may not be as soon as you hope, Lauri -- it could easily be 6-8 weeks before the baby arrives. I've often heard you drop sooner if you're carrying a boy; it may be an old wives' tale, but I know it was true in my case. I dropped nearly 8 weeks before delivery. So she could still be right on schedule from what we've heard.

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  12. Meghan and harry do l[ok relaxed. Dont know how they do it with everything swirling about but glad they can.

    And on 5o the superficial, but Meghan looked incredible last.night and stylishly comfortable today.

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  13. Non-muslim women are not expected to wear head-coverings except when visiting mosques or mausoleums. However, dress code is for modesty, and shoulders and cleavage should be covered, and modest hemlines. From what I can see from official photos, women in the royal family often wear western dress on official duties in the community, such as a two-piece skirt suit or dress.

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  14. Wonderful focus for this segment of their tour. ❤

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  15. Really love this casual yet appropriate outfit! She looks comfortable yet a bit formal. I want those shoes! It's so nice to see her wearing flats! Also, love how she's working on learning other languages. Can anyone else not believe we're just about 2 months away from Harry and Meaghan's first baby?! This is such an exciting time!

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  16. I love when Meghan wears relaxed clothes and minimal makeup and her hair down, although that red dress and incredible bag made a very nice Valentine's Day photo. To see them cuddling and to see happy Harry makes my day! Excellent educational programs, and I hope they can grow.

    I have a real problem with the Times' description of the poor cats.

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    1. Allison, I too loved Meghan's relaxed outfit (and flat shoes!) with her hair down. She looked beautiful. In a close-up of her flat shoes I could tell her feet were swollen. She's so close to popping I'm not surprised.

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  17. That cat description kind of got to me too, Allison.

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    1. Agree. I realize different cultures have different attitudes towards animals but it’s hard to see. I spent 6 weeks in Turkey where the street animal population is overwhelming and cats especially are subject to abuse. It broke my heart as an animal lover.

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  18. Wonderful focus Meghan & Harry are bringing to the education of girls to women. She looks lovely as usual but it's not just that, it's her wonderful spirit of love, interest & happiness at spotlighting such causes that draw you to her for her inner beauty. She didn't even look pregnant in part of the one vid of her running to the little girls!

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  19. I don't really like navy and black together, but this does look nice on her. Very appropriate for this point of her pregnancy. And I'm glad she wore flats! That terrain looks super rough and would've been awful in heels.

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  20. The look with the scarf is my favorite of the outfit combinations from today. I think it ties it all together nicely, because with the plain black shirt alone the white cuffs are more of a distraction. She looks nice overall. I’m more amazed at how she easily squats and gets up again at this stage of her pregnancy. I’m not pregnant and I don’t even move that easily. Lol
    Nice to see them support educational initiatives for girls.

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  21. On the official royal family Instagram they posted that 70% of Moroccan women can’t read or write. I was so shocked to learn that and I’m sure Meghan was too. What an important organization.

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  22. This is exactly how we say it in the states!!! Bravo!! Hint hint, in the South, we don’t say baby bump either, to us that sounds crude, we would just say: cradling your little one or cradling your stomach.

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  23. Tammy from California24 February 2019 at 19:50

    I can't remember exactly, but I thought the earrings from the Prime Minister had to do with some feelings she had about Meghan being part of gender equality. Maybe I am making this up? Anyway, I think it's pretty cool that she brought a little of another country to the one she is visiting. Kinda like a "we are all linked". Especially if it was because of what I said in the first couple sentences.

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  24. What a great post. Love Meghan's casual style!! And I'm learning so much about other parts of the world when reading about H & M's trips abroad. The organization Education for All sounds fantastic. Illiteracy of girls and women is too common in many countries, so yay for Education for All. And the teacher from Colorado and the nurse from the UK--what incredible women to go to a country so different from theirs to do good work.

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  25. I love this day’s engagements. Her outfits look comfortable and very similar to what I wore at work when I was pregnant. My favorite among her pregnancy outfits is the red Valentino. Love that red on her.

    The Atlas is high on my must visit list. That blue sky, the small villages, and white capped peaks, just absolutely stunning. I love the henna touch. When a good friend got married, many of us in the bridal party got henna on our hands and some on the feet. It was an all day thing, with much eating, singing, and merry making. It’s lovely to see henna incoprated into the pregnancy celebration too.
    - Martine

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  26. Such a great spotlight for these organizations. Bravo Duchess! She continues to lead by example and with such grace!

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  27. I was initially disappointed in this lack of color following the vibrant red Valentino. But Meghan looked appropriate, relaxed and happy, and I imagine very relieved to be wearing flats! Her black and navy clothing actually allowed her to be more visible in the sea of gorgeous colors worn by the women around her, especially in the group photographs.

    Meghan’s passion for women’s education and empowerment always shines through, as does her warmth and love for others.

    I love that Meghan and Harry felt relaxed enough to share glimpses of their incredible love for each other. Their love always makes me smile and feel so good.

    Thank you, Charlotte, for your work to research the organizations they are visiting, and to educate us about them. Knowledge of these positive efforts is so welcome in today’s world.

    Thank you also for allowing me to be a bit of a world traveler from the comfort of my arm chair. You are the best.

    R

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  28. Wow, what an interesting place to visit. Wonderful to focus on women in education. Being a woman, I’m excited for those women. The Duchess of Sussex looks nice in her casual attire. Thanks, Charlotte.

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  29. I thought Meghan really captured the right outfit for today. Is this the same sweater she's been really at the previous events she's attended with the skirt? I too like it with the scarf. And the scarf comes in so many great colors. Though Meghan's morning engagements were perfectly inline with her initiatives.

    The switch to the white blouse and heels was smart. She looks great at these morning events.

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  30. I love to see how in love they are. no matter what the haters say and do they are happy and that is what really matters. so let the haters keep hating their love supersedes any hate.

    I think her relaxed outfit is lovely and that's great about french but I read she learned french actually while in high school she went to great schools the press sometimes acts like she came from a ghetto...and of course Harry knew french from his education as well.


    Thanks Charlotte for your great coverage of this tour

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  31. She looks exhausted in the first few pictures on this post, but it looks like she perked up a bit later. Poor Meghan, this must be a lot for her given that she just got back from New York. I know I find flying exhausting, and she has done a ton of it lately!

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