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...
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.
The Duchess of Sussex receives a traditional Henna ceremony at the @EFAMorocco boarding house #RoyalVisitMorocco pic.twitter.com/rZKUnIbVNf— Lizzie Robinson (@LizzieITV) February 24, 2019
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".
“On peut rentrer?” “Can we come in” Meghan asks some of the girls at @EFAMorocco #RoyalVisitMorocco pic.twitter.com/wOsukdozY5— Maddii Lown (@Maddiilown) February 24, 2019
'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".
كانو غادين حتى تلاقين هاد جوج بنيوتات 😏— RàChiDovitCh (@RaCh_glm) February 24, 2019
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.