Duchess of selfies: Meghan tells children "I believe in you" as she is photobombed by Harry on Nigerian tour

10 May 2024, 13:39 | Updated: 10 May 2024, 14:36

Prince Harry photobombed Meghan's selfie as they visited a school in Nigeria.
Prince Harry photobombed Meghan's selfie as they visited a school in Nigeria. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Jenny Medlicott

The Duchess of Sussex was photobombed by Prince Harry as she posed for a selfie with a group of schoolchildren on the first day of the royal pair’s trip to Nigeria.

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Harry pulled a cheeky smile and waved his hands in the air as he photobombed his wife Meghan’s selfie with a group of four schoolgirls on Friday.

The royal couple were visiting Lightway Academy in Abuja when they met with pupils to give them a talk about mental health - supported by their Archewell Foundation.

The Duchess, wearing a pink maxi dress, encouraged pupils at the schools to “just be honest with each other” as she gave a speech.

Prince Harry, wearing a cream linen shirt and trousers, also spoke during the visit, as he urged the children to check in with each other.

He said: “If you see your friend in your class not smiling, what are you going to do? Are you going to check in on them? Are you going to ask them if they're ok? Because it's ok not to be ok.’

He then passed over the mic to Meghan, who continued: "Do you see why I married him? He's so smart. And so inspiring because he speaks the truth”.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex posed for the photo.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex posed for the photo. Picture: Getty

She continued: “As I look around this room, I see myself in all of you as well. So it is a complete honour to have our first visit to Nigeria, be here with all of you.

"We believe in all of you, we believe in your futures, we believe in your ability to continue telling your stories and to just be honest with each other. There is no need to suffer in silence. Just make sure that you're taking care of yourselves”.

Harry later gave his own speech about mental health, seemingly drawing on his experience of grief at a young age after the death of his mother Princess Diana, as he referred to people who have “lost a loved one in your family and you don't know who to turn to or who to speak to”.

He said there was “no shame to be able to acknowledge that today is a bad day”.

“You can have it, she (Meghan) can have it, I can have it. They can have it. Every single one of us is likely to have it on any given day”.

The pair arrived in Abuja about five hours before they paid a visit to the school and later moved on to their next engagement of the day at the Nigerian Defence Headquarters from noon.

It comes after the Duke of Sussex made a whistle-stop tour in the UK earlier this week to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Invictus Games - although he did not meet with King Charles or Prince William.

Harry said it was "great" to be back in the UK - during a final engagement on a short trip to London.

He attended a party hosted by the charity Scotty's Little Soldiers, which supports the bereaved children of military personnel.

The Duke of Sussex, 39, hopped on a flight with Meghan from Heathrow last night after they reunited in London. They flew to Abuja together after meeting at the airport’s Windsor Suite.

Meghan Markle waves as she and Prince Harry visit Children at the Lights Academy in Abuja, Nigeria
Meghan Markle waves as she and Prince Harry visit children at the Lights Academy in Abuja, Nigeria. Picture: Alamy

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Prince Harry and Meghan clap as they visit children at the Lights Academy in Abuja, Nigeria
Prince Harry and Meghan clap as they visit children at the Lights Academy in Abuja, Nigeria. Picture: Alamy

Harry had been in London since Tuesday.

The couple’s visit to Nigeria is primarily to promote the Invictus Games. Meghan is understood to be 'rooting for Team Nigeria' after discovering she had heritage from the west African nation.

Harry and Meghan are visiting the country on the invitation of General Christopher Musa.

The couple will have their first engagement in Nigeria at around 12noon today local time.

Prince Harry and Meghan meet children at the Lights Academy in Abuja, Nigeria
Prince Harry and Meghan meet children at the Lights Academy in Abuja, Nigeria. Picture: Alamy

The three-day trip has been described as a “faux-royal tour.”

Meghan revealed on her Spotify podcast Archetypes in 2022 that she found out she has Nigerian ancestry, describing herself as '43 per cent Nigerian’.

The Duke of Sussex attends The Invictus Games Foundation 10th Anniversary Service at St Paul's Cathedral earlier this week
The Duke of Sussex attends The Invictus Games Foundation 10th Anniversary Service at St Paul's Cathedral earlier this week. Picture: Getty

The trip comes after Harry didn't meet with King Charles while in the UK because Charles was "busy,” but Harry "hopes to see his him soon".

Prince Harry leaves after a service at St Paul's
Prince Harry leaves after a service at St Paul's. Picture: Alamy

Harry released a statement during his UK visit saying he would not be seeing Charles, due to his "father’s diary of commitments and various other priorities".

On Wednesday afternoon King Charles hosted a garden party at Buckingham Palace, while Harry attended an Invictus Games event around two miles away.

Ahead of flying to Nigeria, The Duke of Sussex chatted and played games with bereaved military children as he made a surprise visit to a charity event.

Harry spent the afternoon with 50 children and young people, aged between six and 22, who have experienced the death of a military parent.

He took part in games - including one which saw the duke use a straw to transport Smarties as quickly as possible - and spoke to the youngsters as part of the fun-filled event hosted in London by Scotty's Little Soldiers.

Harry also spent time talking to nine members from Scotty's Council, a group of young people who represent the charity's other members, who discussed their experiences of growing up without a parent.

The duke, 39, completed two tours of Afghanistan between 2007 and 2013 as a forward air controller and an Apache helicopter pilot, having flown countless training missions in the UK, US and Australia.

He said: "It was an honour to meet so many of the wonderful families Scotty's Little Soldiers supports.

"I have long believed in the mission of this charity, and I truly believe the work they do to foster community and create space for young people to connect, grieve, but also have fun together is life-changing.

"I am a huge supporter of their work, and very proud to be their first global ambassador."

The charity - for which the duke became a global ambassador in November - was one of seven which had been nominated by Harry and Meghan to benefit from donations marking the couple's wedding ceremony in 2018.

Harry has been involved with the charity since 2017 and recorded a special video message in 2022 dressed as Spider-Man for its children's Christmas party.

Georgia Paterson, 16, said it was "amazing" to speak to the duke about the experience of losing a parent growing up.

She said: "Prince Harry was the best person to share that experience with because he's been through it and understands better than anyone.

"It was really moving to see how vulnerable he was with us, which encouraged us to open up as well."

Georgia added: "It felt really connecting because when your parent served, they served for the country, and one of the most important things for the country is the royal family.

"Speaking with someone who is part of that made me feel more connected to my Dad. It was amazing to be connected to him in that moment."

Nikki Scott, who founded the charity in 2010 following the death of her husband during a tour in Afghanistan, said: "It was amazing to see all the smiles in the room when Prince Harry walked through the door.

"The Duke of Sussex has supported Scotty's for a long time, which means a lot to our members because they know he understands what it's like to experience the death of a parent and the challenges they face.

"It's important to our members to maintain their connection to the military community, which Prince Harry is also passionate about.

"Events like these are so valuable to our members because it enables them to develop friendships with others in a similar situation, as well as have lots of fun."

Scotty's Little Soldiers currently supports more than 670 bereaved military children and young people up to the age of 25, offering one-to-one bereavement support, guidance to parents and carers, fun activities such as holidays and group events, and learning assistance.

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