Meghan Markle: What did Nigeria's First Lady really say about the royal when addressing nudity?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle recently went to Nigeria after receiving an official invitation to attend several events and the media are still talking about it weeks later. The latest is about a supposed comment that was made about Meghan, we decrypt it here.

Meghan Markle Nigeria First Lady
© Mat Hayward / GETTY IMAGES
Meghan Markle Nigeria First Lady

Although the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have stepped back from their royal duties and obligations, they often find themselves on the road. Indeed, the two are still attached to many charities and organisations on top of having their own foundation.

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From 10 to 12 May 2024, the couple went to Nigeria after they received an invitation from Defence Headquarters. The trip made sense for the couple as it was centred around many of their interests and work.

At the time, they made positive headlines in the US and abroad, while in the UK many referred to it as a 'private tour' for people who want to be 'an unofficial renegade royal family.'

Now, comments from the First Lady of Nigeria have sparked more debate on Meghan's presence in Nigeria and specifically on what she wore.

Meghan's change of clothes

Meghan is said to have changed her wardrobe in order to be well prepared for this trip. Indeed, it is believed that the woman was really keen to give the best impression as she had recently found out that she is 43 percent Nigerian.

But she doesn't seem to have quite hit the mark with her expensive wardrobe—she is said to have spent a total of over 140,000 euros on the dresses and matching jewelry. In all fairness, the Duchess admitted that she had to change her clothes after only being in the country for a short time. While attending a panel, she said:

It has been a whirlwind 24 hours since we arrived, and I very quickly got the memo that I need to wear more colour so I can fit in with all of you in your incredible fashion.

The wardrobe that left no one silent

The British Royal Family, for example, are said to have been anything but pleased with the way Meghan presented herself. Some experts admitted that Meghan looked really good in the dresses. Talking to Mirror, fashion expert Susie Nelson explained:

The wearing of bright colours was a good idea, Nigerian clothes are colourful and Meghan wanted to be noticed.

Nelson then added that, since Meghan Markle is no longer working for the Royal Family she isn't required to follow protocol. Expanding, the expert said:

She didn't have to think about royal rules and protocol regarding her clothes. The blush pink Heidi Merrick dress would not have been seen on an official royal tour having an open back.

But at the same time, it is also not a very good choice to wear such expensive clothes and jewelry in a country like Nigeria, where many people suffer from hunger. That is something that Jennie Bond, former BBC Royal correspondent, explains in Mirror:

I personally have a bit of a problem with Meghan or anyone, including members of the Royal Family, wearing such expensive outfits and dripping with jewels that are worth thousands and thousands of pounds when you're going somewhere like Nigeria.
Personally, I don't see how you do that, it feels a bit out of tune when most Nigerians are thinking where the next meal is going to come from. But it's not only Meghan who does that, the royals do as well.

Criticism from the First Lady?

Since 28 May 2024, reports of Nigeria's First Lady, Oluremi Tinubu, being bothered by Meghan's choice of clothes have surfaced. Indeed, the woman does mention the Duchess' name in a speech where she talks about American celebrities' influence. The Independent relayed the speech and, while talking about the way Nigerian young girls dress, Tinubu said:

The message here is we have to salvage our children. We see the way they dress. They keep forgetting that Nigeria, we are beautiful. You can see what they showcase on the stage, I said, ‘We are fashionable, we see what is going on.

She then added quite clearly that 'nakedness' was not acceptable.

And everyone, the nakedness, is just everywhere and the men are well-clothed. So we have to do something. Tell them we don’t accept nakedness in our culture. That is not beautiful. It’s not beautiful at all.

What the media reports as a blow against Meghan is the end of the First Lady's speech when, addressing young Nigerian girls, she stated:

Why did Meghan come here looking for Africa? That is something we have to take home with. We know who we are. Don’t lose who you are.

While media decided to interpret her comment as a 'snub' to Meghan, looking at the whole speech the phrases can be interpreted in various ways. Indeed, just before mentioning Meghan's name, the First Lady says, talking about Americans, that 'they don’t know where they come from'.

Emphasising the importance of preserving Nigerian culture and identity, she seemingly uses Meghan as an example of an American trying to find out more about part of her heritage by coming to Nigeria.

That would also make sense as preserving Nigerian culture is something the First Lady advocates for. On X, on 25 May, she posted:

As First Lady of Nigeria, I am deeply concerned about our children losing their identity if we do not take immediate action. [...] We must nurture our children, instill good morals, and preserve our cultural values. [...]
Without intervention, our society risks losing its identity. I urge all women to be unifying forces in their homes and communities, drawing inspiration from the pioneering women who paved the way

This article has been adapted from Oh!mymag DE.

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Sources used:

Metro: Meghan Markle’s ‘nakedness’ slammed during ‘Royal trip’ to Nigeria

GB News: Meghan Markle suffers swipe from Nigeria's First Lady over 'nakedness' on unofficial royal tour

Mirror: EXCLUSIVE: Meghan Markle 'broke dress code' in Nigeria amid concerns Duchess 'bared too much skin'

Blick: Nigeria's First Lady criticizes Duchess Meghan's revealing choice of dress: "We do not accept nudity in our culture"

Gala:: HERZOGIN MEGHAN: Fierce criticism of her outfit choice in Nigeria - for this reason

Watson: Royals: First Lady of Nigeria criticizes Meghan's revealing outfit

Express: Piers Morgan slams Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for 'trash' move - 'it stinks'

OK! Magazine: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Nigeria trip is 'awkward' for Royal Family – 'King Charles and William not pleased'

Mirror: Meghan Markle's subtle sign she 'still feels like a royal' despite quitting Firm

The Independent: Nigeria’s First Lady slams US celebs after Meghan Markle visit: ‘We don’t accept nakedness’

Sen Oluremi Tinubu, CON on X

Royal expert claims Meghan Markle is behind Prince Harry and Prince William’s communication Royal expert claims Meghan Markle is behind Prince Harry and Prince William’s communication