Meghan’s Been Busy Since Her Last Public Engagement
Meghan’s official tour schedule included only one formal engagement between last Thursday and this coming Tuesday, but she has not been sitting idly by while Harry carries out engagements in Botswana, Angola, and Malawi. I don’t think anyone will be surprised to see the Duchess has remained busy with private meetings and events that were not listed on the formal schedule. Here’s a quick list showing those activities that we know about; there could well be others that have been kept private.
- This morning she took part in a Camfed Skype session (L).
- Yesterday the palace released a photo taken Thursday of the Duchess visiting a memorial for a young South African student who was brutally murdered (C).
- Thursday she hosted a private breakfast with (R) a group of South African female activists. (This was shown on the schedule.)
We’ll start with today’s surprise “joint engagement” with Camfed (Campaign for Female Education). Many will recall the charity works to “break the cycle of poverty & inequality in rural Africa by educating girls and investing in economic & leadership opportunities for young women.”
You may remember that Meghan originally met Angeline Murimirwa, executive director for CamFed, at the International Women’s Day symposium she attended in March. In the photo below, you see Ms. Murimirwa second from the right.
And in May the Duchess recorded a message for the annual CamFed gala in New York, as seen in a tweet royal reporter Omid Scobie shared.
Duchess Meghan recorded a message for guests at @Camfed’s #EducationChangesEverything Gala in New York this evening, May 9. “A girl who is educated becomes a woman who is influential,” she said for the #Camfed25 event (which @AnnieLennox was honoured at). pic.twitter.com/FCzx14A2W6
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) May 10, 2019
Camfed receives support from the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust; Harry is the president of the trust, and Meghan is vice-president. A Sussex Royal Instagram post about today’s engagement noted, “As President and Vice President of the QCT, The Duke and Duchess both believe in the power of education to empower young girls, and change society as a whole.”
As explained in this Daily Telegraph story, “For the past 25 years the project has been tackling poverty by paying for fees, uniforms, and school books to allow teenage girls to complete their education and not being married off by families who cannot afford to support them.”
Since 1993 the organization has provided support for 2.6 million children to go to school. That success only underscores Camfed’s determination to help more.
Today’s Camfed function with the Duke was in Malawi at the Nalikule College of Education, and the focus was on CAMA, the 20-year-old alumni network of women who were able to attend school because of the support they received from Camfed.
Below, Harry being welcomed by current students.
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It turned out Prince Harry wasn’t the only royal taking part in the engagement. In this video from ITN’s Chris Ship, you’ll hear women singing “Duchess Wathu, Duchess Wamayankho,” which translates to “Our Duchess, Duchess with the solutions.”
At a college in Lilongwe in Malawi where Prince Harry is visiting, Meghan skypes in Johannesburg.
The are promoting girls’ education in one of the most poor countries in the world. #malawi #RoyalTourAfrica pic.twitter.com/y6nf0ZQpRW
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) September 29, 2019
A screengrab shows the Duchess on the monitor.
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More from this Hello! story:
Harry introduced his wife, saying: “I know there’s somebody else you’d far rather hear from than me, hopefully if technology doesn’t fail us you may see somebody on the screen.” Meghan’s beaming face then appeared and she said: “I’m so happy to be with you, is there a delay?” to which Harry responded, “No, it’s great, keep going.”
When asked about Archie Meghan let everyone know he was just fine, telling the group “Archie’s taking a nap.” The Duke smiling at the Duchess via the video feed.
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In addressing Meghan, Ms. Murimirwa said, “Since you yourself were a young girl you have advocated for women as equal beings with the power to make lasting change, and I know this is something you will instill in Archie.”
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Below, Meghan clapping along with the group via Skype.
As the engagement was wrapping up, CEO Angeline Murimirwa lauded the Duke and Duchess in a tweet:
Our reunion with Prince Harry was everything we expected & more …that the Duchess of Sussex “Duchess wathu“ joined online was priceless-they have lived up to their commitment as President & VP of @queenscomtrust -to connect.. champion & amplify young people’s voices & efforts!
The Ceo and Prince Harry.
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High Commissioner to Malawi Holly Tett noted that “over the past few years @DFID_UK [Department for International Development] has supported 35,000 girls in Malawi to complete secondary school.”
The one engagement shown on the tour itinerary was a private breakfast meeting on Thursday with nine of South Africa’s leading female activists. Photos of that event were released Saturday.
Among those attending the breakfast: Nompendulo Mkatshwa, one of the youngest women in Parliament; Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, and the first black woman to get a Ph.D. in mathematics education; Lindiwe Mazibuko, the first non-white person to lead the Democratic Alliance party. The Duchess met with the women in order to better understand the work they’ve done in their communities and the issues they’ve faced, including violence against women. On Instagram, Meghan wrote about the breakfast:
On Thursday we convened a meeting of minds – a group of women ranging from a legendary anti-apartheid activist, female parliamentarians, professors, educators and policy makers to discuss the rights of women in South Africa.
In the lead up to this tour it weighed heavily on my heart to see the countless violations against women, and I wanted to spend my time on the ground learning about the situation at hand,
Below, Meghan with Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, one of the founders of the anti-apartheid movement, who led the anti-apartheid Women’s March of 20,000 women in 1956 when she was just eighteen. Now 81, she is the last survivor of the group of four people organizing the march. Meghan has described Sophia as an inspiration to both herself and women everywhere.
In the Instagram post, Meghan also said:
Issues of gender inequality affect women throughout the world, independent of race, color, creed, or socioeconomic background. In the last week I’ve met with women from all walks of life – religious leaders such as the first female rabbi in Capetown, grassroots leaders in Nyanga at Mbokodo, community activists, parliamentarians, and so many more.
In sitting down with these forward thinkers, it was abundantly clear – it is not enough to simply hope for a better future; the only way forward is “hope in action.”
Yesterday, the Sussex Royal Instagram page showed a photo taken Thursday of the Duchess paying respects at the Clareinch Post Office in Cape Town where 19-year-old University of Cape Town student, Uyinene Mrwetyana, was murdered last month.
More from TIME Magazine’s story:
Her death launched a wave of outrage and protests as women across the country demanded South Africa address the issue of gender-based bias, launching the social media campaign #AmINext? 39,633 rapes and 6,253 sexual assaults were reported in the country in 2017, according to Amnesty International.
Meghan tied a yellow ribbon with a condolence message on it to the memorial. The Sun’s Emily Andrews reported that the Duchess wanted “…to pay her respects and to show solidarity with those who have taken a stand against gender-based violence and femicide.”
From the Sussex Royal Instagram post above (GBV is an acronym for gender-based violence):
Visiting the site of this tragic death and being able to recognise Uyinene, and all women and girls affected by GBV (specifically in South Africa, but also throughout the world) was personally important to The Duchess.
Uyinene’s death has mobilised people across South Africa in the fight against gender based violence, and is seen as a critical point in the future of women’s rights in South Africa. The Duchess has taken private visits and meetings over the last two days to deepen her understanding of the current situation and continue to advocate for the rights of women and girls.’
Visiting the site of this tragic death was personally important to Meghan. ”She made the secret trip to the site in order to keep it a “personal gesture” according to CNN. Below, the railing just outside the post office showing the tribute ribbons.
Below, Harry and Meghan’s ribbon and the handwritten message.
Written in the local language of Xhosa, the couple’s message reads, ‘Simi kuyne kulesisimo’ Harry and Meghan September 26, 2019″. The message translates to “We stand together in this moment.”
The Duchess met privately this week with Uyinene’s mother to personally offer her condolences.
Also on Saturday, we caught a glimpse of Meghan heading toward her flight to Johannesburg with Archie in tow.
It appears Meghan may be wearing her J. Crew linen shirt again and black Mother denim jeans. She may also be wearing her Birdies slippers in the ‘Blackbird’ style which was replaced with a newer version, The Starling, in velvet, $95.
Harry will wrap up engagements in Angola on Monday and Malawi on Tuesday before meeting up with Meghan in Johannesburg Tuesday evening where they will continue their engagements together.
A reminder that Meghan will carry out several solo engagements on Tuesday in Johannesburg.
• The Duchess will attend a roundtable discussion with the Association of Commonwealth Universities in Johannesburg. She will meet academics and students to discuss the challenges faced by young women in accessing Higher Education.
• Meghan will then visit a school to learn about the work of a local charity, which receives UK Aid funding for its work to raise awareness of and tackle sexual violence in schools.
We now look at what Meghan wore for the private breakfast meeting.
The piece is made of 100% cotton and fits close to the body. If looking for a more relaxed fit, the product description suggests ordering one size up.
Meghan was also wearing her Manolo Blahnik BB 105 (Tora heel) pumps in black suede, $665.
ID Update – Meghan’s Hamsa hand necklace worn earlier this week is by UK based Alemdara jewelry. Altan necklace in yellow gold and white diamonds, $553
“Designed to be worn every day, the fine jewelry collection centers itself around symbols of luck and protection.”
For those wondering, Meghan’s jeans worn in the Cape Town image above, are by DL1961 in the cropped style. Susan C. owns the brand and noticed the logo on the pair Meghan is wearing.
Meghan’s top is the Madewell embroidered strap swing top in ivory ($78 – 20% off at ShopBop with code STOCKUP19).
- Learn more about CamFed at the organization’s website here; the group’s Facebook page is here; its Twitter feed is here and Instagram page here
- A Daily Mail piece about the Thursday breakfast meeting is here
- A Time article about the Uyinene Mrwetyana memorial visit is here; a People story is here; The Sun‘s story is here.
- A Town & Country piece on today’s Skype engagement is here