Prince Harry and Meghan facing criticism over Nigeria visit despite receiving special invitation

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s recent Nigeria tour has been dubbed as an ‘unofficial Royal tour’ thanks to the grandeur and attention they received. Here’s what happened on the trip.

Prince Harry Meghan Markle unofficial Royal tour Nigeria Piers Morgan
© Gary Miller/Getty_Images
Prince Harry Meghan Markle unofficial Royal tour Nigeria Piers Morgan

Prince Harry recently visited the UK for the Invictus Games Foundation’s 10th Anniversary. The quick trip saw him attend a Thankgiving Service at St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday, May 8. The Duke visited the UK alone as Meghan Markle decided to stay at home to not overshadow the message of the Invictus Games with her visit.

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However, the Sussex couple travelled to Nigeria right after Prince Harry's UK visit. The kind of reception and warmth they received on their 3-day private tour to Nigeria has been labelled by many as an ‘unofficial Royal tour.’

Piers Morgan slams Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

This comes as the tour may have been a ‘private tour’ yet it unfolded in the most Royal way possible. The grandeur, attention and security the couple received were similar to the ones typically reserved for Royals on tours. Expectedly, this annoyed many people. One of them is former GMB presenter Piers Morgan who slammed the Sussex couple for behaving like an ‘unofficial renegade royal family.’

Piers Morgan - who has been pretty vocal about his thoughts on the Royal Family in the past - has previously openly slammed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. However, the recent visit to Nigeria became the final nail in the coffin that urged him to insist on the idea that King Charles needs to ‘strip them of their titles.’

According to Express, Piers told Billy Bush on Extra's that their Nigeria trip was ‘a shame’ considering what has been happening with the Royal Family. He shared:

They can do what they like, but I don’t like them doing it as an unofficial renegade royal family.
The truth is, the real royal family right now, back here in England, are going through an awful lot of turmoil of all these senior members of the royal family, either dying literally or facing very serious health crisis.

Piers - who recently recalled his first meeting with Prince William - highlighted that the Sussex couple has stepped down from their Royal status and therefore shouldn’t be holding such tours. He added:

You have the Duke and Duchess of Montecito running around like a rival royal family trashing their family, trashing the monarchy, but wanting to exploit their royal titles. I think it stinks.

Meanwhile, the trip also reportedly ruffled some feathers within the Royal Family - especially with King Charles and Prince William. According to Royal Expert Jennie Bond, the visit hasn’t gone down well. She told OK! Magazine:

The King and Prince William are firmly of the belief that you are either in or out of the working Royals.
This seems to be a rather strange halfway house. I think both the King and the Prince, and indeed the Government will want it to be made clear that Harry is not representing either the Royal Family or Britain on this trip.

Official clarification on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s trip

Express confirmed that the irritation within the Royal Family and the UK government was so great that a statement was issued to clarify that Prince Harry - who was offered Royal residence during his UK visit - and Meghan Markle visited Nigeria in a private capacity and ‘not an official one.’

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Richard Montgomery stated:

It's great that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are visiting Nigeria, which I understand is at the invitation of Defence Headquarters. But they are visiting in a private capacity, not an official one.

In his conversation with the News Agency of Nigeria, Montgomery emphasised that the British High Commission is not involved in arranging or facilitating the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s programme in Nigeria. He added:

They are not representing the work of His Majesty's Government on this visit.

Why did Prince Harry and Meghan Markle go to Nigeria?

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were invited to Nigeria by the country’s highest-ranking military official, Christopher Musa. Despite stepping down from their Royal positions, the couple’s itinerary resembled previous official Royal tours they carried out before their departure from the Royal Family in 2020.

The visit that took place from May 10, 2024 to May 12, 2024 saw the couple ready to tackle a three-day schedule filled with activities and events. The first day had them receive a red-carpet welcome with dancers performing after their arrival in the Nigerian capital of Abuja. The couple then kicked off a multi-day mental health summit at Lightway Academy, confirms CNN World.

The pair also met Christopher Musa at the Nigerian Defence Headquarters and Meghan signed a guest book thanking the officials for ‘welcoming me home.’ This comes after the Duchess shared on her Archetypes podcast two years ago that she had taken a DNA-based test that showed she was ‘43% Nigerian.’

On Saturday 11 May, she hosted a women’s leadership event with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation. The event had about 50 leading women from across Nigerian society and politics, business, media, and culture. The Duchess spoke passionately about uncovering her Nigerian roots and its significance to her own identity.

The Duchess - who has a net worth of £48 million - shared how the entire experience of learning about her heritage was ‘eye-opening’ and ‘humbling.’ She said at the event:

I want to start by saying thank you very much for just how gracious you’ve all been in welcoming my husband and I to this country … my country.

The former actress praised her home country and added that the remarks about her origin should be a compliment for them as Nigerian women are ‘brave, resilient, courageous, beautiful,’ reports NY Times.

At another event on Sunday - when the Duchess missed her children on Mother’s Day - she was honoured with royal titles. The event that took place at the prestigious Delborough Hotel in Lagos saw three powerful rulers honoured her with the following:

  • The Obi of Onitsha, His Majesty Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe gave her the title ‘Ada Mazi’ (the daughter of the Igbo ancestral palace)
  • The Oluwo of Iwoland, southwest, Nigeria, Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi christened her with a Yoruba name - Adetokunbo (royalty from across the seas)

Meanwhile, Prince Harry spent three days visiting the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital to meet young men recuperating from their injuries and a polo match at the historic Lagos Polo Club.

The trip was an opportunity for Nigeria to demonstrate its capability to host such high-profile guests. The entire three-day event for the couple saw them get involved in events and activities that circulated around their passion - sports rehabilitation, mental health, and women’s empowerment.

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Sources Used

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'

Express: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Nigeria tour in full - six biggest bombshells revealed

CNN World: Meghan visited Nigeria as a duchess and left an African princess

NY Times: Meghan Markle declares Nigeria as ‘my country’ during visit with Prince Harry

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry face serious humiliation as they are labelled 'losers' by magazine Meghan Markle and Prince Harry face serious humiliation as they are labelled 'losers' by magazine