Monday, 23 September 2019

Duchess Meghan In South Africa "I Am Here With You, As A Mother, A Wife, A Woman of Colour."

"I can't wait to introduce my wife and son to South Africa," Prince Harry excitedly shared on Instagram earlier this month. Africa has served as a second home to the Prince since he first visited with his father shortly after his mother's death. A growing love for each country he has visited, for conservation, and for the people he as met along the way cemented Harry's connection with the continent over the years. "This is where I feel more like myself than anywhere else in the world. I wish I could spend more time in Africa. I have this intense sense of complete relaxation and normality here." When he met Meghan in 2016, he whisked her to Botswana and camped under the stars...and the rest is history :) When it came to his royal tour wishlist, an official visit to southern Africa was always going to be top of Harry's list. Today, he realised that desire as he, Meghan and Archie landed in Cape Town for a ten-day tour which promises memorable moments every step of the way.


Every royal tour serves a purpose. Each one significant, meticulously planned and organised to deploy the Royal family as ambassadors overseas to strengthen bonds and, in these Brexit times, deploy a touch of soft diplomacy. In Harry and Meghan's Commonwealth roles, overseas trips are a key element of their work. A three-pronged approach between the Palace, the Foreign Office and the host countries saw a "meaningful" itinerary come to life supporting the causes closest to Harry and Meghan's hearts, promoting UK-Africa relations and continuing the Royal family's legacy in the Commonwealth.


A senior official from the Foreign office told Rebecca English: "They are a diverse couple, they represent modern Britain. They are also modern, forward thinking, dynamic young people. Everyone is extraordinarily excited about this visit."


Victoria Murphy reports the Sussexes are travelling with a staff of thirteen. Trusted aide Samantha Cohen will wrap up her time with the couple as she leads the tour and shows their new private secretary Fiona Mcilwham the ropes. Assistant secretary Heather Wong, communications secretary Sara Latham, project coordinator Clara Madden, along with a logistics coordinator, travel director and a personal assistant travelled over. Harry and Meghan are privately paying for Archie's nanny and a hairdresser for the trip.


During a media briefing in Cape Town yesterday, the British High Commissioner to South Africa told journalists: "Visits like this play an important part in celebrating, sustaining and renewing what is a dynamic, modern relationship between the UK and South Africa. It’s also an opportunity to shine a spotlight on some issues close to the hearts of the duke and duchess and of real importance to the South Africans. It will also be a chance to underline the strength and continuity of our Royal family’s ties to South Africa. And in particular to recall the warm and special relationship between her majesty the Queen and the late President Mandela."


More from People:

'They “are very much looking forward to their arrival in Africa tomorrow on their first official tour as a family,” a palace source tells PEOPLE on Sunday. “Africa holds a very special place in the Duke’s heart and he’s looking forward to sharing South Africa with the Duchess and their son.”
The program — drawn up alongside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the couple’s main charities or patronages — will “truly demonstrate the modern U.K.-Africa partnership in action. It’s a busy program – which is four countries in ten days. And obviously, we have an extra special small passenger to make things a little more lively.”
There are around 380 media accredited throughout the tour across the four countries. And excitement is growing for Harry, who has visited often, and particularly for Meghan, who is heading to the country for the first time.'

Cape Town, colloquially known as the Mother City, is a legislative capital of South Africa. The port city is on South Africa’s southwest coast, on a peninsula beneath the commanding Table Mountain.


Harry and Meghan's first engagement of the tour took them to Nyanga, known as the murder capital of the country. They were warmly welcomed with music and dancing by a host of locals. The video below is packed with fantastic moments.


Prince Harry shows off his dance moves :)


A hug was in order when one adorable little boy came over to say Hello :)

Embed from Getty Images

The children wore t-shirts with the words "Children's Rights Matter. I'm not too young to be heard".


Meghan was embraced by elders.


The dancing Duchess.


Harry and Meghan getting into the spirit.


Harry loved meeting locals.



They viewed the work of The Justice Desk, a non-profit supported by the Queen's Commonwealth Trust.


They visited a workshop that educates children about their rights and safety, and provides self defence and female empowerment training for young girls in the community.


More from The Telegraph:

'The Royal couple observed the Mbokodo Girls’ Empowerment programme, which teaches self-defence classes to girls who have suffered “major trauma”. The project’s motto is ‘waithint’ abafazi wathint’imbokodo’ (when you strike a women; you strike a rock).

Supporting women and girls is at the heart of much of Meghan's work. An aide told the Telegraph she is keen to display "actions not words" throughout the visit. They added "she wants to be really engaged: this is important to her". With that focus in mind, it came as no surprise to hear Meghan address violence against women in South Africa directly for her first speech of the tour. Meghan addressed the group and said: "On one personal note, may I just say that while I am here with my husband as a member of the Royal family I want you to know that I am here as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of colour, and as your sister." The video below includes footage of both Harry and Meghan's powerful speeches.


More on her speech from The Telegraph:

'The Duchess said: "We are encouraged to hear your President take the next step towards preventing gender-based violence through education and necessary changes to reinforce the values of modern South Africa.
"I have to say I feel incredibly humble to be in the presence of all of you as you stand firm in your core values of respect, dignity and equality.
"I read a quote a few weeks ago and it resonated with me as I've been watching what's been happening here and your efforts. Maya Angelou, the legendary poet and civil right activist, once said: 'Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it, possibly without claiming it, she stands up for all women'.
"Now I know it's not easy and I know it must feel insurmountable at times. But your commitment to what is right gives all of us hope. Especially your brothers and sisters here in your community who need you to continue to shine your light brightly. Your commitment is inspiring, it is energising, and it is extraordinary . You must keep going. You must know that what you're doing not only matters, it is vital because you are vital.
"And just on one personal note, may I just say that while I am here with my husband as a member of the Royal family, I want you to know that I am here as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of colour, and as your sister.
"I am here with you and I am here for you and thank you for showing us your Ubuntu [spirit of togetherness]."

Prince Harry also spoke passionately about gender violence. "No man is born to cause harm to women this is learned behaviour and a cycle that needs to be broken. Your strength is in your spirit, which for me means honouring and protecting my wife, and being a positive role model for my son. To me, the real testament of your strength isn’t physical, it’s what’s up here and what’s in here. Your strength is in your spirit, which for me means honouring and protecting my wife, and being a positive role model for my son." Harry continued "Meghan and I are truly inspired by your resilience, your spirit, your sense of community, and your belief in a better future for everyone here."


Rebecca English reports:

'South Africa has been hit by nationwide protests over the past few weeks after a series of murders of women, and the country’s president has admitted that he is struggling to cope with the crisis.
Among the murders was that of Uyinene Mrwetyana, 19, a student from Cape Town who was raped and bludgeoned to death with a set of scales in a post office. The violence involved in her murder sparked national outrage. Women’s minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said this week that more than 30 women were killed by their spouses last month alone.
On Wednesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced an emergency plan to stop the resurgence in violence against women. During an emergency sitting in the National Assembly, he admitted that South Africa was one of ‘the most unsafe places in the world to be a woman’.

Shenilla Mohamed, Executive Director of Amnesty International South Africa, said:

'Gender-based violence has reached undeniably alarming levels in South Africa. It is absolutely unacceptable that women feel they have to watch what they wear in public and be careful about where they are seen socialising, for fear that they may face violent reprisals including rape or even death.'

South Africa is one of the most violent places in the world for women and girls. The statistics make for horrifying reading. The South African Police Service revealed 80% of sexual offences reported in recent years were rape. Statistics SA noted the rates of femicide (murder of females) in the country were more than five times the global average. In response to the epidemic of attacks and assaults, South African women took to social media and shared their heartbreaking stories as part of the #AmINext campaign. Using the hashtag, they shared experiences and fears.


A group photo with The Justice Desk team.


More from The Queen's Commonwealth Trust: "As President and Vice-President of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, The Duke and Duchess are keen to use their time in Cape Town and beyond to highlight the work of young leaders mobilising positive change in their communities. They both have a longstanding belief in young people and passionately support their ability to spark change through their leadership, passion and creative ideas."


Before they departed, Archie was given the name of Ntsika, a traditional Xhosa name which means pillar of strength.


Victoria Murphy reports:

'Both the Duke and Duchess made powerful speeches at the event before they were presented with a hoodie for Archie and his traditional name was announced. “They said they absolutely loved it. They said thank you so much. They wanted to put on the hoodie and I said ‘Harry that’s too small for you.’ They loved the fact that our presents were for Archie...They love the fact that they’ve brought him here and they can’t wait for him to experience the country,” Dewhurst said of Harry and Meghan's response to the gift.
She added, “For them to come here, it’s them saying that this work is so important they believe in it and they’re encouraging us to keep going and working hard.”
Jessica met Harry after receiving her Queen’s Young Leaders medal for the organization’s work in 2016. She said, “Her Majesty introduced me to Harry and they’ve all just kept tabs with us.”

For her first look of the tour, the Duchess chose the £69 Dalitso Maxi Wrap Dress by Malawi based brand Mayamiko.


More on the brand and their ethos: "Established by Paola Masperi, Mayamiko The Label is an ethical and sustainable woman's wear and life style brand, producing clothes, accessories and homeware, lovingly made in Malawi by our team of tailors, pattern cutters and seamstresses. Our collections are cross-seasonal and are inspired by African artisanal traditions and prints, with ethical trading and sustainability at our core. Our collections are designed for the global modern woman,  while giving ode to their birthplace through the use of traditional African techniques and local printed fabrics, locally referred to as Chitenje. We strongly believe that ethical and sustainable production is the only acceptable way of producing, and feel that shopping ethically should not compromise the quality or design of the product but rather enhance and add value to it."


More from Mayamiko:

'Mayamiko works in partnership with Mayamiko Trust, a charity set up by Paola in 2008 after her extensive travels in Africa. Mayamiko aims to help the most disadvantaged people in Malawi by nurturing their creative talents and turning them in to sustainable activities that could be transferable to trade practices. Lifting people out of poverty and towards a better future.
The Charity and brand work together through the Mayamiko Fashion Lab where our garments are made. The Mayamiko Fashion Lab was designed to provide training, education, nutrition, sanitation and fairer trade practices to all of those involved. The project currently provides training in sewing and tailoring as well as financial and business skills to local, disadvantaged women, many of whom are affected by the HIV pandemic or who are carers of HIV orphans. After their training all trainees receive a recognised qualification as well as mentoring, guidance and access to a micro-finance scheme, enabling them to start their own business.'

Meghan teamed the dress with her Castaner Carina wedges. They are available in an array of colours at Net-A-Porter.


 A closer look at Meghan's jewellery today.


It appears Meghan wore Jennifer Meyer's diamond bezel and turquoise marquise stud earrings.


Harry and Meghan were presented with 'The Justice Desk' bracelets by local children. It's available, along with a number of other items, on their online store.


Next, the Duke and Duchess will visit the District Six Museum to learn about their work reuniting community members forcibly relocated during the apartheid era. The day will conclude with a community cooking activity with former residents of District Six at the nearby Homecoming Centre.

53 comments:

  1. Royal 👑 Watcher23 September 2019 at 15:26

    An exciting introduction to what I think will be an interesting and valuable tour. I hope all will go well and I wish the Sussex’s all the best for the next week and a bit.

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  2. Diana smiles. The Princess of Wales was all about hugs and kindness. She'd be so proud of her son. This is a global problem, violence against women; and good for them to bring it to the fore on their first tour day.

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  3. I love the dress and adore flutter sleeves. I think Meghan and Harry look happy and relaxed. I appreciate Meghan choosing a dress from Malawi and I think it hits the right note for the first engagement and a respectful note. Thank you Charlotte for coverage so far and I’m sure it will be fantastic albeit tiring at times. Your hard work and effort is commendable.

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  4. In 1961 US President Kennedy said “I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris”. After watching that live stream I think Prince Harry could easily say, “I am the man who accompanied Meghan, Duchess of Sussex to South Africa”.
    People were so excited to meet/see/touch her and Meghan does a great job of engaging with everyone on such a personal level. This is in no way a slight against Harry as he obviously does a wonderful job engaging with people too, but you could definitely tell that people were there to see Meghan.

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    1. So many men have to deal with this...Charles with Diana, I think the crowds quickly leaned and cheered for Kate! And so it is. I would imagine Jay-Z has to deal with his wife's popularity as well.

      While I'm sure it's difficult to read (or hear) the negative press....when Harry and Meghan see all of these people (and the video is amazing to watch) yelling and screaming for them, is the negativity washed from their minds? It's fascinating. I don't envy them.

      I wish them nothing but success and kindness on their tour.

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  5. Valencia - Manchester23 September 2019 at 15:56

    I like the dress on Meghan more than on the model. It highlights her curves and makes her look very womanly. I thought this was an excellent visit and M&H nailed their speeches and the interactions. Very warm, casual, and friendly.. they are turning out to be very Good ambassadors to HM. Can’t wait to see Archie one of these days now ❤️

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  6. Is she not wearing her wedding rings? Or are they just twisted around?

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    1. Seeing the area that are in, lots of robberies and murders, she’s just wearing her Welsh gold band and a thin band with a turquoise stone to match her earrings. Just scaling back the bling to be respectful and safe. No need to draw more attention.

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    2. Shylya, While I agree that Meghan may not want to be flashing her rings, is such a poor area, I seriously doubt this is for matters of safety. The security will be very tight. I can't see anyone storming the royals, with the intention of removing Meghan's rings and making a run for it.

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    3. I was just merely curious. It is very rare that she is seen without her engagement ring (except for when she was pregnant). I wasn't trying to make it a big deal, but rather see if anyone else noticed.

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    4. I'm with Laura. It's a matter of not being flashy I think. There's so much security, that wearing a diamond wouldn't be a security risk. I noticed too, Zoe and was trying to figure it out myself.

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    5. Zoe I noticed too but agree with Laura that Meghan would not want to wear diamonds in a poor area that has so little. To me Meghan is respectful of the people she is visiting #lovemeghan

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  7. As a fellow woman of color I'm so beyong proud of Meghan and I just love hearing her speak this way. Also - and this is not intended as an attack on the other members of the royal family - I can't help but notice how refreshing and historically significant it is to finally have a person of color in the royal family to carry out official visits in countries where the vast majority of the population is comprised by people of color; not to mention the extremely positive effects that will be achieved by having little black/biracial girls finally look up to one of their own instead of a typical white woman.

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    1. Come on, RM. We all know what the poster meant. Don't stir things up.

      Girls of color finally have someone who looks a lot more like they do, and that's a lovely thing.

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    2. Wow, RM in PA! I find it really sad that - out of this really personal and moving comment - that is the only thing you pick up on. It seems clear to me that the OP/Anonymous was talking about a typical royal bride being a white woman. Which...true.

      Anonymous - I am also a WOC (black, biracial - just like Meghan!) and I agree with everything you said. Representation matters. I continue to be very moved by and appreciative of Meghan, what she represents, and seeing her as a member of the BRF. And, quite frankly, of Harry in marrying someone different than a typical royal bride. I think they are perfectly suited and he seems so over the moon in love with her and proud of everything she does. I love it.

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    3. Why just Diana? Pretty much everyone else in the Royal family.

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    4. Anonymous 16.13, I respect your point and I'm sure it is wonderful to see a bi-racial woman as a member of the Royal Family. But this family has a German/English heritage and as such, at one time very few black people were even citizens of these countries. The "typical white woman," such as the Queen Mother, Her Majesty Elizabeth ll, Diana, Princess of Wales, The Duchess of Cambridge, have served their country well, done their duty and as far as I can tell, have been open and welcoming to all members of the Commonwealth, regardless of skin colour. Let's not make an issue about race, when this has not been a problem.

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    5. What you say is true, Laura. I'm also happy to see a woman of colour married into the BRF; at the same time, let us not forget that this is possible nowadays - merely a generation ago it would have been unthinkable, I believe. It was not a fault of the BRF - the times have changed (and are still changing) in general. (As the museum of apartheid has reminded us today; the segregation took place merely 50 years ago!)

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    6. I agree, Zora.

      I don't think the original comment was meant as a slight to the other royal women at all. She was simply acknowledging how nice it is that times have changed and that a WOC can now have a royal role like this.

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    7. Ok, ladies. I've been suitably chastised. I see Charlotte removed my comment, but left the rebukes. In reading Anon. 1613's comment again, I see that the "typical white woman" part of her comment really wasn't the problematic line. More problematic would be "...not to mention the extremely positive effects that will be achieved by having little black/biracial girls finally look up to one of their own.." So, the little girls of the African Commonwealth countries had no women of their own to admire before Meghan married a prince? I'm sure there were/are many great African women, who accomplished greater things than getting married.

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    8. Yes, Becca, seeing the whole thread now it is quite obvious. So let us be happy and hopeful! 😃

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    9. And here you're doing it again, RM. Have you never heard of the fairy tale about a regular girl marrying a prince? Disney made a fortune off it. And now little girls of color can see that another girl of color married the prince too.

      It's really not that difficult if you think about it.

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  8. Wow what a great way to start the tour! What a wonderful speech and also a great way of avoiding the sometimes awkward optics when royals tour a country considerably poorer than the UK. I love the dress and shoes -- it's something I'd totally wear. I also love Meghan's post-baby body. She's curvy in all the right places and looks more like she did as Rachel on Suits rather than the super-thin, sometimes drawn look she had when she got married. This tour is going to be great, I can just tell.

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    1. Hi Ivy, As a South African I feel the need to respond to your comment about SA being considerably poorer than the UK. Yes, we are poorer than the UK (as are a lot of countries around the world), but we are not one of the poor African countries where “optics” in smarter clothing could hit a nerve. South Africa has the second largest economy in Africa (second only to Nigeria), and we have millions of immigrants flocking to SA from the other Africa countries, all hoping to share in our strong economy and prosperity

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    2. I think in general I find it awful when royals tour and they're wearing clothing that is above the price range of most everyone, rich or poor. You're visiting a place, act like you';re visiting and it's not just a fashion parade. That's what I meant. I think Harry and Meghan are/will be sensitive about this.

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    3. Thank you, anon. I know very very little and am happy to be told things about SA.

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  9. While I think this dress, indeed the whole outfit is lovely, the Duchess' fashion really takes second place to her inspiring speech. And while I'm not a woman of color, as a woman I find her words to be impactful and inspiring. Lately I have had situations that required me to stand up and be heard and while it hasn't been easy, just hearing that by my actions I'm standing up for all women has given me the courage to continue forward, not only for myself but for all.

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    1. Lauri, you hit the nail on the head here. The speech made me forget the dress:) so excited for this tour! -op

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    2. Agreed. They were both eloquent with their speeches. And Meghan looked darling - the print on the dress, shoes, etc. were all perfect for the event.

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  10. Fantastic start to what will be a fun and powerful tour. Meghan and Harry both look so happy and in their element. They really are the perfect couple for these types of tours. Meghan's speeches are always full of punch and well-delivered; I think she was smart to choose the dress she did. It's not overly expensive and the pattern fits right in with their surroundings. She looks incredibly healthy -- she's lost a lot of the baby weight, but hasn't rushed to get back to any particular shape. And, as always, she's glowing!

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  11. Wonderful start of the tour. I love the empowerment message and that they both look comfortable there. Seems to me Megan and Harry went with open hearts and everyone can feel it, rewarding the two of them with their deep, true warmth.

    Whilst the dress may not be a perfect fit or showing best Megan’s figure, I am delighted with her choice. Not focused in her showing of how fit or slim she is, but rather having people focused on the designer and local talent. It’s how I imagine Megan’s heart works. She is leading with her heart, whilst paying attention and listening to her surroundings. Looking forward to more inspiring causes and to learning about a part of the world I personally am unfamiliar with, but eager to understand a bit better.

    Liv

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  12. Meghan is totally the right wife for Harry. I pray for them for help to stay the course above the noise.

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    1. beautifully said .. I totally agree

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    2. Cynthia, I agree - she is totally right and they are right together. They are committed to and happy with their work. It is a joy to see.

      Charlotte, thanks so much for providing content and depth that is not found elsewhere.

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  13. What an energetic and inspiring start to the tour! Charlotte, I really look forward to your phenomenal reporting skills during these intense engagement schedules. And of course your new graphic banner! :) Thank you in advance for your hard work on your readers' behalfs

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  14. I may have missed it, but is there any information on the pins both Harry and Meghan are wearing?

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  15. That photo of Meghan being embraced by an elder actually brought tears to my eyes.

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  16. The look so cute. Hope their visit makes positive impart on all they highlight and positively improve the UK-SA relations.
    So considerate of her not to be flashing her engagement ring in such humble settings (at least that's what I believe made her not wear it).

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  17. All of this is amazing & I can't help feel that they are fulfilling the dream Diana had before died. So many various stories of her last summer, comment or reveal on the idea she had of wanting to use her global star power to be put to use on a philanthropic level to make a real difference for important causes. I've felt this for a while & watching them yet again doing what they do & feel so passionately about.... I can't help but feel that they were meant to be! :)

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  18. The Duchess wearing a previously worn dress and an inexpensive new dress goes to show that one needn't spend thousands of dollars on an outfit. She looks fabulous and I especially like the Dalitso Maxi - it's summery, comfortable looking, perfect for a walking tour.

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  19. Did my comment get lost? Deleted? I'm not sure, was it what I wrote?

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    1. Hello Bonnieux,

      I didn't receive a comment from you. I'll double check if it's in spam.

      Delete
  20. I love the dress, perfect for a spring day. As for the shoes, wedges are a lot more appointment than stilettos but I tried a similar pair on the other day and after seeing how the black ribbons around my ankles look, I put them back on the shelve.

    Coming from the host country I might be feeling this more acutely than usual, but I see lots of comments on how great it is that she is supporting “local talent” with her choice of dress. She might be supporting “small designers” or “African designs” but the dress is by a Malawian brand, to call it “local talent” is like saying its supporting a local brand when wearing a Spanish designer on tour to Germany.

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    1. Just to clear up, I have no issue with Meghan or the choice of dress. It was perfect for the event and she can wear dresses from anywhere in the world she chooses.
      My issue is with how many people commenting that it is a “local” dress. Africa is a big continent, with lots of different countries.

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  21. What an amazing day and start of a tour. Meghan, Harry and Archie just got off the plane. Usually they schedule a rest day before starting. They look so happy and relaxed, more so than they do in the UK.

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  22. Is her necklace a repeat? It's so pretty!

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  23. She looks great and the dress is lovely and perfect for the event

    I adore that she spoke about being a woman of colour she's an inspiration to all the black women there and across the world

    Thanks Charlotte for your dedication

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  24. Duchess of Sussex really looks good. She and the Duke of Sussex seem so at ease and appear happy to be with the people and the people appear happy to be spending time with them. Thanks, Charlotte. Exciting post.

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  25. The Duchess looks great, appropriately dressed for the event. I am not a fan of wedges, but these work very well here and look good. I love the subtle pieces of jewellery. I don't like bare necklines but this is so simple but lovely, her earrings seal the deal. She has done really well for a first day, her naturalness and warmth shine through.

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  26. Sometimes I wish Meghan could leave her hair with its natural curl - I love the hairdo on the model wearing the dress, but in the end, whatever works for her is fine. She seems to me to be such a beautiful person, inside and out, and I’m so glad that she and Harry met. Now I’m anxious to see Archie!

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  27. What a day ! I laughed I danced and I was moved : How brave are this ying girl you are really strong .
    This is a great way to start a royal tour.

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