Tuesday, 1 October 2019

The Duchess of Sussex Praises "Universality" Of Commonwealth in Johannesburg

For the final leg of the tour in Johannesburg, the Duchess of Sussex continued her focus on education and supporting women and girls with a visit to the University of Johannesburg.

A very warm welcome for the Duchess.

Meghan and Archie travelled from Cape Town to Johannesburg on Saturday whilst Harry's been travelling in Botswana, Angola and Malawi. Buckingham Palace said this tour was very much designed to "demonstrate a modern UK-Africa partnership in action". The trip was requested by the government ahead of UK-Africa Investment Summit in London 2020, and the Duke and Duchess were said to be delighted to have the opportunity to highlight positive partnerships. The UK's trade with Africa is valued at £33 billion. On Sunday, Harry visited the Campaign For Female Education which has been supported by the UK and the Queen's Commonwealth Trust. Joining via Skype, Meghan said: "We’re just so proud as president, and vice-president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, that we can support you in everything that you do because we cannot begin to express how valuable and vital that work is, we’re just incredibly proud to be part of it."

The focus on education continued today when Meghan attended a round-table discussion with her patronage the Association of Commonwealth Universities. In January, Her Majesty passed the patronage to her granddaughter-in-law.

Meghan was welcomed by Susana Glavan, Director of the British Council in South Africa, and Professor Tshilidzi Marwala.

Established in 1913, the Association of Commonwealth Universities is the world’s first international university network, and remains the only accredited organisation representing higher education across the Commonwealth. Founded to lead "common action in matters of common interest", the ACU is governed by its member institutions through an elected council.

Meghan joined students and educators who openly discussed challenges for girls gaining access to university.

Inside, Meghan delivered remarks. More from the Mail Online:

'As patron of the ACU it has been an incredible year now and we are really working to advocate for what is truly and deeply important to me: education and higher education, specifically is such a key element for growth, for economic growth and personal growth.
'I think so much of what we should be talking about at ACU is supporting people to know that... you can take the next step. So much is about having the support and scholarships and funding for students. 
That was the reason I was able to attend university. At the same level you need to have that support on the inside to be able to give as much back to those in the education system.'

The Duchess also touched on her visit to Victoria Yards. "Yesterday I had a really interesting conversation about the economy and well-being. I think so much of what we should be talking about and energies should be focused on, specifically with the ACU is supporting people to know if you don't have the support that is necessary, that you feel you can keep taking the next step, then you're stumbling in growth. I went to University. It takes a village doesn't it?" Meghan referenced the importance of family support and scholarships in her own journey.

Meghan was very excited to announced three new gender grants. "This is key - obviously they are going to be in universities here. The goal here is to be able to have gender equality, to be able to support women as they are working in higher education and research". Meghan continued: "When a woman is in power it changes absolutely everything in the community, and starting in an educational atmosphere is really a key point of that."

The Duchess also announced four new Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships. Students from Tanzania, Zambia and Nigeria have been selected to study in South Africa. Meghan continued: "I think what is so special about this and part of what's incredible about the Commonwealth in and of itself is that 53 countries all so varied with this Commonwealth, with this universality that connects all of us. I'm thrilled given the context of what's happening in South Africa which I've been following so closely, that we're able to do our small part through the ACU to support people who are just eager to learn."

Sussex Royal reports:

'The Duchess said, “Sometimes access to education can seem so big, you wonder where to even begin? So you begin with one student, or one school, you simply begin. And that’s when we see change.” She continued by referencing a Martin Luther King Jr quote: “Take the first step... you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” 

More on Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships:

'Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships are a life-changing opportunity for cultural exchange and academic collaboration, providing opportunities to study for a two-year Masters in unique environments across the globe.
These scholarships are for students committed to creating change in their communities and contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Scholars build deeper and stronger links across the Commonwealth network, acting as ambassadors between home and host countries.
More than 35,000 individuals have benefitted from the life-changing opportunities a Commonwealth Scholarship offers and contribute to the development of the future Commonwealth.'

Some very excited students gathered to see Meghan.

Student Tuni Mampame joined the roundtable discussion. Afterwards she said: "Somebody who looks like me, who is as inspired as me, who possibly has the same background as me is going for it and is giving the necessary support to change difference aspects of our country and continent." She added she's "inspired" by Meghan.

More from The Telegraph:

'Samukelisiwa Nomusa Shongwe, 19, said: "I think she is a great person. She has done so many things. She has contributed to society, especially to African society. She is very interested in playing a positive role by speaking about gender equality and gender abuse."

Town & Country reports:

'During her time in South Africa, Meghan has spoken out on the issue of violence against women and made a private visit to the memorial of murdered 19-year-old Uyinene Mrwetyana in Cape Town.
Hlengiwe said about the duchess's time in the country: “I feel like she’s very caring. With Uyinene, she went, she wanted to learn more about it. She called the mother...she cared, she came. She knew we were going through a rough time as a country with the whole femicide thing. And she showed her face, which means a lot.”
Faith Ghlamini, 22, from Cape Town, who is studying entrepreneurship, missed her finance class to catch a glimpse of Meghan, joking “this is commitment” about her dedication to seeing the duchess. “She paves a path of thinking differently; you can do anything, you can be anything,” she said.'

Johannesburg is South Africa's biggest city, it began as a 19th-century gold-mining settlement. It's sometimes referred to as 'Egoli' meaning 'place of gold'. I was interested to learn the leafy city is home to ten million trees across parks, streets and private gardens. Below, an overview of landmarks and architecture.

The Duchess wore Banana Republic's Double-Breasted Trench Dress in khaki (with thanks to Caroline Parr).

The $139 sleeveless dress is described as a "traditional twist on the season's blazer dress, this trench-inspired version has a double-breasted front." It's available at Banana Republic and The Iconic.

Meghan teamed the dress with her Stuart Weitzman Legend pumps in haze beige.

Later, the Duchess will visit a school to learn about the work of a local charity which receives UK aid funding to raise awareness and tackle sexual violence in schools.


  1. Gal sure does love her trench dresses! (as pointed out by the DM ;) I like this one - especially the colour. Her hair looks amazing!

    1. Please can someone instruct me how i can reply n not do it on the persons reply. Thank u. V. Tucker

  2. That color is so flattering on her skin tone. She looks amazing. Also, in my opinion, her post-pregnancy body is her sexiest body to date, the added curves look great on her.

  3. Admirable causes being showcased today.

    I don't love these trench dresses on her. I feel like she's still figuring out her post-baby body (totally understandable, as it takes a bit to adjust to the new curves) and sometimes gets it right, but sometimes, as with this trench, it doesn't quite flatter. As someone with similar skin tone to Meghan, this color is very unforgiving as well.

  4. She looks happy, but (understandably) very tired. I feel for her - I remember how exhausting the nights with a 4 months old can be, and she has been doing them alone for the past few days, so hats off to her. I'm not a fan of the dress and the way it fits her, so I'm looking forward to seeing her in a different ensemble later today!

  5. It’s so amazing to see the profound impact Meghan is having on the people of South Africa, women and girls especially, on this tour. Also love that she’s chosen to lose her baby weight naturally and sensibly like most women rather than crash dieting to keep up with some celebrity fad. IMHO she has never looked more beautiful. Annie, UK

  6. I mean can we TALK about the clear MVP dresser of the day, Tuni Mampame?? Those blue pants and those heels - LOVING her style too!

    1. Kelly from TX I soo agree. This outfit amazes me! So bold but so appropriate. And I love Ms. Tuni´s hair as well. She looks perfect.

    2. YES! The colour is incredible, as is the cut and style.

  7. These grants and scholarships are great for women in University working for a better future for themselves and their communities. On the fashion front, I can't say I'm a fan of this look. It's very beige. Doesn't Meghan have another very similar dress? I didn't much care for that one either. I do really like her second look of the day. And her hair looks great!

  8. she made helping woman and giving voice to every woman there her outfit flatter her

  9. Another great post. The learning aspect of this tour is so fascinating for me. I am so enjoying it. Thanks, Charlotte. As a side point, yes, the Duchess of Sussex looks lovely.

  10. So encouraging to see her passion in this! Education is so important and there is a lot of work to do regarding women and access to education all over the world including SA. Love that MLK quote she mentioned too. As some have mentioned before, this is not her first rodeo when it comes to reaching out and helping others. Her devotion to making change started at a young age, long before she was royal. I'm in the minority as one who loves Meghan in trench dresses. It's a style she seems to love and enjoys wearing and in my opinion if you feel pretty in it (and for her if it's appropriate for the type of engagement) go for it! Don't worry about "fashion rules" haha. I think it struck the right note, polished but not too stuffy. Her hair is lovely as well.


  11. No, she is lost in this color and everything else is wrong about the dress, nice shoes though.

  12. Caroline in Montana1 October 2019 at 17:58

    Not a fan of these trench/shirt dresses or whatever they are called. this non color does nothing for her and this does not seem to fit so well. also tired of the seemingly constant belted waist, i don't think that flatters her either. Not sure what the fascination is for having a slit up the front of almost everything she wears?? seems begging for a wardrobe malfunction!!

    But fashion aside, these are great causes she is hi-lighting for the world to see. And Charlotte you are such a great writer, I learn something every time! Thank you for your dedication.

  13. This is a superwoman (you too before you meh 😋).
    A baby, No rest day, active engagements and looking like her best version I have seen so far. She glows, she earns respect and shows respect in all the engagements.
    I noticed the people that spoke about her always commented that she was always actively involved in discussions. They could see she was listening and seeking possibly next steps. It was not just a nod a smile affair (which for 10 days is quite impressive) and these women are intelligent women so that is quite a compliment.
    This her outfit compliments her skin tone nicely. She wears these trench well, better now after giving birth with all the enhanced curves. Good Lord!
    Well done to all the hands that have contributed to the success of this tour. I wish them good good success as President and Vice of the common wealth and may all they do indeed bring about lasting improvement in the lives of the youth of the member countries.
    Thanks to all who have reported on their works all these days, thanks Charlotte for what you do is entertaining and educative.
    God bless the remaining of the trip and grant them safe journey home to find rest with family and press.

  14. not a fan of this dress but im sure a fan of her work

  15. I think Megan is deliberately choosing neutral colours and style as she wants the focus to be on her work not on on clothes.


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