The Duke and Duchess of Sussex took a whirlwind trip to Morocco in February. On their third overseas trip as husband and wife, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visited the region over a three-day period. The purpose of the trip was apparently to build on the close relationship between the United Kingdom and Morocco and to highlight education for girls and youth empowerment.
This will be the last trip for the duchess for some time, as the couple’s first child is due in late April and Meghan will soon begin maternity leave.
Although the visit was brief, it was also packed with events. Check out some memorable moments the royal couple shared on their brief getaway.
Just before the trip, Meghan Markle went stateside. On Feb. 20, the duchess joined friends on the Upper East Side of Manhattan for a baby shower in a $75,000-a-night hotel penthouse. If reports of a late April due date prove true, Markle was moving into her eighth month of pregnancy at that time.
Although the duchess returned from New York on a private jet, she and the duke took a commercial flight to Morocco. The couple flew out of London and landed at Casablanca’s airport. Kensington Palace stated that the visit was at the request of the British Government.
The pair’s flight was delayed, so they landed a bit later than expected. Harry and Markle arrived in Casablanca, Morocco at a little after 9 p.m. local time. The Royals received a guard of honor on arrival. Britain’s ambassador to Morocco, Thomas Reilly, met them at the airport and acted as their escort on the visit.
Upon their arrival, the duke and duchess were offered milk with orange blossoms and dates. The treats are sometimes used to welcome guests to the region. They are also part of traditional wedding ceremonies. Although Markle passed on the evening snacks, Harry reportedly enjoyed a date.
On Feb. 24, the royal couple traveled to the town of Asni to visit a boarding house called “Education for All.” Because it is difficult for parents to send their daughters away to school, many girls from the rural communities of the High Atlas Mountains are not educated past primary school. “Education for All” serves girls from these communities.
A chorus of schoolgirls greeted the royal couple before they sat down with educators at the boarding house. When a teacher congratulated them on Markle’s pregnancy, the duchess thanked her politely. Harry playfully turned to his wife.
“Wait, you’re pregnant?” he joked.
The duchess took part in a traditional henna ceremony during the trip. Henna tattoos are temporary pieces of body art often applied for special occasions. The artist who did her work said that the small flowers running down Markle’s forearm were for good luck for mother and baby.
The Duke of Sussex awarded an MBE honor to Michael McHugo. The British entrepreneur is the founder of “Education for All.” An MBE is a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, which is given by the queen for outstanding community service.
Going To School
The royal couple visited Lycée Qualifiant Grand Atlas secondary school, which the girls from the boarding house attend. The couple took time to chat with teachers as well as students. They also attended a soccer match played by the school’s two mixed teams.
The duke and duchess rounded out the second day of their visit by attending an official reception. The event was hosted by Thomas Reilly and was held in the British Ambassador’s house in Rabat.
“Their visit to Asni was important and especially important to me,” Reilly told Harper’s Bazaar.
Just check out the gorgeous gown Markle wore to the event below.
Making New Friends
At the reception, Harry and Meghan took time to speak with the ambassador’s daughters. Twelve-year-old Orla and 8-year-old Elsa greeted the royal couple upon their arrival. Reilly told Harper’s Bazaar that the couple won over his children.
“The girls got to meet Harry and Meghan twice and they both got big hugs,” Reilly said. “They’re both great role models, and, for the girls, Meghan is absolutely someone they can look up to. She’s a strong woman focusing on the things that matter.”
A Traditional Greeting
Before the reception, Harry and Meghan met Rachida Benaniba and Rachida Jouji, who work at the embassy. The women greeted them by sprinkling the royal couple’s hands with rose water. The scented water is part of a traditional Moroccan greeting that allows guests to freshen up before a meal.
On their final day in Morocco, Harry and Meghan visited the Moroccan Royal Federation of Equestrian Sports. The prestigious equestrian club in Rabat offers therapeutic riding for children with disabilities. As the royal couple walked past a block of stables, they took a few moments to stroke the horses. Meghan’s bump was on display in her striped shirt.
This sounds like something any of us might do on a nice trip! A special cooking class was next on the royal itinerary. The pair visited a cooking school in Rabat, where they viewed a demonstration. At the school, a top Moroccan chef teaches traditional cooking to underprivileged children.
Harry enjoyed pancakes made by Chef Moha. The traditional treats were made using a recipe from “Together: Our Community Cookbook,” which Markle helped create. The duchess gifted the chef with a copy of the book, in which she wrote a personal note.
A Very Special Restaurant
Prince Harry and Meghan met with the restaurant’s staff, as well. The eatery in Morocco’s capital employs chefs who are developmentally disabled. Opened in 2017, the restaurant’s goal is to help young people with disabilities integrate into society and the job market, as well as change the way people with disabilities are viewed.
A Beautiful Gift
Harry and Meghan also visited the Andalusian Gardens. Designed by the French during the Colonial period, the gardens are within the Kasbah Les Oudaias, which is Rabat’s historic citadel. The duke and duchess once again took time to speak with children, who offered flowers to the mother-to-be.
A Sunny Stroll
The Andalusian Gardens are on the ground of a former palace, making them the ideal spot for a royal couple to spend a sunny day. The gardens are woven with pathways. Along with oleanders, shrubs and seasonal flowers, the gardens also feature fruit trees, such as bananas, dates and citrus, as well as ornate fountains. This might have been the most relaxing thing they did on their busy trip!
Browsing The Market
When Harry and Meghan visited the gardens, a craft market was set up. The duke and duchess perused traditional arts and crafts as they strolled the grounds. Several young entrepreneurs were present, as well, which tied into the royal couple’s theme of youth empowerment.
Meeting With The King
Later, on their final day in Morocco, the duke and duchess met with the king. Morroco’s King Mohammed VI welcomed the couple to his residence for a private audience. His son, the crown prince, was present as well.
King Mohammed VI offered a special gift to the duke and duchess. He made sure the royal pair traveled to the engagement in style. The king allowed the couple to ride from Rabat to the royal mansion in the countryside in his vintage Mercedes 600 SEL car. Not bad!
A Special Delivery
Harry carried a large envelope in his hands as he approached the royal residence. He presented King Mohammed VI with the envelope, which contained a private letter from his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II. The contents of the letter were not divulged.
According to the Mayo Clinic, air travel is generally safe prior to the 36th week of pregnancy. That said, royal commentator Omid Scobie tweeted that a source confirmed medical provisions were made for Meghan. Fortunately, all went well and the expecting parents appeared healthy and happy at a reception marking the 50th Anniversary of The Prince of Wales’s Investiture on March 5.
On The Move
The duke and duchess are home and undoubtedly getting ready for the arrival of their little one. Not only are they preparing to welcome their first child this spring, but Meghan and Harry are also moving. Their new primary residence will be Frogmore Cottage, which is located within the queen’s Windsor estate.
Following the couple’s arrival home from Morocco, it seems the duchess will enjoy another celebration of her pregnancy. A second baby shower is reportedly in the works. This time, the celebration will be hosted by Meghan’s sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, and held in the U.K. Did you get your invitation in the mail yet?