by Elyse Dupre | Thu., Jun. 27, 2019 8:44 AM
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are heading to Africa. The two confirmed the news via their official Instagram account on Thursday.
"[Their Royal Highnesses] The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are excited to announce that they have been asked to carry out a tour to Southern Africa this autumn," part of the announcement read.
Britain's High Commissioner to South Africa Nigel Casey let the big news slip at an event in Pretoria on Wednesday.
"They are going to be coming back to visit us this autumn," he said, referring to the royal couple per Jacaranda News. The senior diplomat then said this was "great news for us" and "also good news for the South African economy," joking he expected a "hat and frock buying frenzy" to take place.
Per Jacaranda FM, Casey then said this will be a "much shorter visit" and that the two will "be here for a matter of days and not months."
Reports about the alleged adventure started spreading in April. At the time, the Palace didn't confirm these rumors, but it didn't exactly deny them, either. A press officer for the royal couple told E! News "any official visits or tours undertaken by any members of the royal family are announced the usual way." And here it is!
According to The Sunday Times, which first reported the news, Harry's advisers were working on a "bespoke" role for the couple that involved work on behalf of the Commonwealth, charitable initiatives and efforts to promote Britain. Considering Harry is both Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, as well as president of The Queen's Commonwealth Trust, it seemed like a fit. Meghan is also vice president of the aforementioned Trust.
Even with all these clues, the Palace played coy.
"Any future plans for the Duke and Duchess are speculative at this stage," the Palace said via a statement back in April. "No decisions have been taken about future roles. The Duke will continue to fulfill his role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador."
Now, that we know the tour is definitely happening, here's everything we've heard about it so far.
When is the trip? While Harry and Meghan confirmed the trip will take place this fall, they didn't specify exactly when. Back in April, The Sunday Times reported the tour would take place in October.
Where would they go? According to the couple's announcement, "the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have requested a visit to South Africa." It also revealed the duke will also carry out visits to Malawi and Angola and that he will do a "short working visit to Botswana on route to the other countries."
How did they pick these destinations? While this wasn't revealed by the Palace, ITV News previously reported the couple is visiting Angola to highlight issues associated with the landmines. In addition, it reported they'd stop by Malawi to expand the reach of Sentebale—a charity Harry founded with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho. As for Botswana, Harry has worked on several conservation efforts there and even took Meghan there for her birthday when they first started dating. In fact, the duchess' engagement ring features a center stone from Botswana.
Will they continue Princess Diana's work? Harry's mother famously walked through one of Angola's active minefields in 1997 and has been credited with raising awareness for an international treaty banning their use. While the reasoning behind the visit to Angola wasn't specified in the announcement, Harry has continued to champion Diana's work over the years, such as by visiting Angola in 2013 for a mine-clearing operation. He even spoke about the "vital mission of de-mining Angola and putting it back on the map as a tourist destination" in mid-June.
Will their son come? It looks like he will! The announcement stated "this will be their first official tour as a family!"
If the trip takes place in October, their son, Archie Harrison, will be about 5-months old. As royal admirers will recall, Prince George was 8 months old when he made his first royal tour and visited Australia and New Zealand with Prince William and Kate Middleton. Princess Charlotte was 16 months old when she made her big trip to Canada, and Prince Louis has yet to go on his first royal tour.
Will it be their first tour together? Nope! As royal admirers will recall, the two toured Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand last fall. In fact, it was during the trip that the couple revealed they were expecting their first child.
Will it overlap with William and Kate's rumored tour of Asia? While the Palace has yet to confirm a trip for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, it has been reported that the two will head to Asia this fall. But according to The Mail on Sunday, the trip will be "weeks apart" from Meghan and Harry's trip.
Are they excited about the trip? You bet!
"The Duke and Duchess are really looking forward to meeting so many of you on the ground and continuing to raise awareness of the high impact work local communities are doing across the commonwealth and beyond," the announcement read.
(This story was originally published June 12 at 10:19 a.m. PST).
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