Will the Royal Family send Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to live and work and Africa after their baby is born?
The Sunday Times, one of Britain's most trusted newspapers, is reporting that Harry's advisers have been working on plans to establish a "bespoke" role for him and his wife abroad that would "combine some work on behalf of the Commonwealth along with charity work and a role promoting Britain." The news comes as Harry and Meghan are expected to announce the birth of their first child any day now.
"Discussions are at an early stage, but the plan is to find a new way of using their soft power abilities, most likely in Africa," a source told the outlet.
Buckingham Palace has not denied the report. It said in a statement, "Any future plans for the Duke and Duchess are speculative at this stage. No decisions have been taken about future roles. The Duke will continue to fulfill his role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador."
According to the Sunday Times, the plan has been drawn up by Sir David Manning, the former British ambassador to the U.S. and special adviser on constitutional and international affairs to both Harry and brother Prince William, and that Lord Geidt, their grandmother Queen Elizabeth II's former private secretary and chairman of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust, has also been involved in the discussions.
The newspaper quoted palace insiders as saying that an overseas role for Harry and Meghan would last two or three years, and that any decision on where they would go was unlikely to be made until 2020.
The Sunday Times also reported that the Africa proposal was made after other ideas for overseas roles for Harry and Meghan were rejected.
"There have been various ideas floated for them to take on a job abroad, such as governor-general of Australia or Canada, wherever," the newspaper quoted a close confidant of both Harry and William as saying.
Africa holds a special place in both Harry and Meghan's hearts. He spent his gap year in Lesotho in 2004 and later co-founded the charity Sentebale there. In 2016, he and Meghan took a romantic trip to Botswana. A year later, they returned to celebrate her 36th birthday there. Harry has also visited the country alone as part of his work for Rhino Conservation and has called it his "second home." After their 2018 royal wedding, the two honeymooned in East Africa.
The latest Sunday Times report comes more weeks after Harry and Meghan moved away from Kensington Palace, where they were William and wife Kate Middleton's neighbors, and into Frogmore Cottage at the queen's Windsor Castle estate. Before their move, the ceremonial monarch had agreed to "the creation of a new household" for Harry and Meghan.
A month earlier, E! News and the Sunday Times reported that he and William had plans to split their royal household before the duchess gave birth. A source had told E! News that the two courts would also have separate staff, and that it is hoped the household division will help ease the reported tensions between the Sussexes and the Cambridges.
"It's a bit sad really," the Sunday Times quoted a source who knows Harry and William as saying. "The wives don't get on. The brothers have fallen out."
The Royal Family has not commented on the relationship between the two couples.