Meghan Markle has kicked off what promises to be a blockbuster royal tour of Africa with a speech in which she described herself publicly for the first time as “a woman of color.”
Speaking to a crowd of women and teenage girls at their first engagement, a township in Cape Town, where they had earlier danced in the streets with locals, Meghan declared: “While I’m here with my husband as a member of the royal family, I want you to know from me I am here with you as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of color and as your sister.”
Meghan and Harry touched down in South Africa on Monday morning to start a 10-day tour.
They are traveling with their baby, Archie Harrison, whom they were pictured carrying as they deplaned.
The resulting pictures are among the first less-than-perfectly-staged shots of the family together as opposed to the carefully curated images they have been releasing on Instagram since the birth of their baby in the spring.
Pictures of the trio would be hugely valuable to photographers covering the tour but the palace has not yet suggested that Archie will make any formal appearances. However, in a statement last night the palace said Harry “can’t wait” to introduce their son to Africa, provoking hopes they might yet stage a formal photocall.
Harry and Meghan, who arrived in Cape Town 40 minutes late following an overnight flight from London, were photographed smiling broadly as they carried their four-month-old off the plane.
After settling Archie in at their base, which is believed to be the High Commissioner’s house, Harry and Meghan visited a Cape Town township, where they greeted youngsters and well wishers.
Nyanga township, where Meghan was speaking, is one of the most dangerous places in South Africa: 1,500 people were murdered there over the past five years, including 289 last year.
Hours before the visit, South African police announced they were hunting a gunman on the loose who had shot at officers on patrol Saturday and then fled, The Telegraph reported.
The royals visited a workshop which teaches children self-defense and provides “female empowerment training to young girls.”
Later in the week, Harry will head off to Malawi via a small propeller plane while Meghan and Archie will stay in Cape Town.
Security concerns mean many engagements are not being announced in advance, however the palace has said that Meghan will be passing on some of the many clothes sent to her son by well-wishers. It is believed she will take clothes, books, and pens to the mothers2mothers charity, which assists families with HIV.