Will the Sussexes move to Africa?
Before Prince Harry fell in love with Meghan, he fell in love with the continent of Africa.
It was his safe place. The one place where, as Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams said recently, “he feels he can be very much the person he would like to be, away from the trauma he’s experienced in the past decades.” He has been doing charity work in Lesotho, a country that is nestled within the borders of South Africa, for nearly 15 years; he began a charity there called Sentebale – which means “forget me not” in Sesotho, a nod to his mother’s favorite flower – in 2006 to aid children orphaned by HIV and AIDS. He has been on official visits to South Africa and Malawi, and is president of African Parks, a conservation NGO. Famously, he and Meghan – who had only been dating for under two months – spent three weeks together in Botswana in August 2016; it is where they fell in love and the large center diamond of her engagement ring was sourced from Botswana because the country means so much to Harry, and, now Meghan as well. His connections to the continent run deep, and the Sussexes even went on an official tour to Africa earlier this year, visiting Morocco.
But could the Sussexes be moving there, as has been rumored?
Well, let’s first start with the move they just made – out of Kensington Palace, where William and Kate live, and into Frogmore Cottage, pictured above. There is a beautiful article about the property from House Beautiful that you should read if you want more intel, but here’s the quick skinny – Frogmore Cottage was gifted to Harry and Meghan by the Queen and underwent a 3 million pound (I have no idea how to do the pound symbol on the computer – someone help me figure this out!) renovation before Harry and Meghan moved into it in April, right before Archie was born. I don’t think that Harry and Meghan moving out of KP (the slang term for Kensington Palace) had anything at all to do with a rift with William and Kate; Harry and Meghan have made it very clear that privacy is valuable to them, and Frogmore simply affords them that. (By the way, it is called Frogmore because of the frogs that are in the marsh by the property; you might recognize Frogmore because that’s where Harry and Meghan took their engagement photos and they held their wedding reception at Frogmore House, the larger house on the Windsor Estate where the property is located.)
The cottage isn’t really a cottage – when I think cottage I think small and quaint – it is 10 bedrooms, has two stories, and boasts a Gone With the Wind-style double staircase and a yoga room (hi, Doria!). As a housewarming gift – as if the gift of the property itself wasn’t enough – the Queen offered Harry and Meghan any art they wanted from the Royal Art Collection to make the house a home. She even took the time to list which of the Collection – which includes works by Leonardo de Vinci, Canaletto, and Michelangelo – she thought would work best in the cottage, because of course she did because she’s a #bossgranny and I think she would give Harry the moon and the stars if she could. Those that have been to Frogmore say that it feels warm and cozy and like the Sussexes and isn’t stuffy like KP was. (I’ll make sure to let you know my thoughts after my inevitable visit there someday.) With the move came the natural time to rebrand as the Sussexes. Everyone that’s making much ado about nothing over the move and the rebrand need to realize that, simply, William and Harry are very different people, and no matter who Harry married – Chelsy, Cressida, Meghan, or me, which he considered, I’ve heard – they would have “split households” eventually because their work was always going to take them in different directions. Don’t borrow trouble, people.
So, back to the Africa question. Are they moving or are they not? Well, here’s what we do know.
You can expect Harry, Meghan, and, hopefully, Archie – it will be a game time decision, sources say – to visit Africa on a two-week official tour when Archie is about six months old, so in November of this year. The tour will focus on youth empowerment, education, and conservation, according to the Sunday Times. We don’t know exactly where in Africa they’re going yet, but one can expect it will be heavy on Commonwealth countries. I think I touched on this in a previous blog post, but there are 19 Commonwealth nations in Africa. What is the Commonwealth, you ask? Its long title is the Commonwealth of Nations or the British Commonwealth, and it is a political association of 53 countries, almost all of them former territories of the British Empire. The Queen is the Head of the Commonwealth and, because it would be nearly impossible for her to travel to all 53 countries on a semi-regular basis, she dispatches her descendants to visit Commonwealth countries all the time. The Commonwealth is home to a whopping 2.4 billion people, most of them in Asia and Africa.
I’ll go into a post about all of the Commonwealth countries in a later blog, but here are the 19 Commonwealth countries in Africa which are likely contenders for not just Harry and Meghan’s official tour later this year but also for a possible future residence:
· Kingdom of eSwatini
· Seychelles (where William and Kate honeymooned and where I want to honeymoon – are you reading, future husband? Are you saving your money now?)
· Sierra Leone
· South Africa
· The Gambia
· United Republic of Tanzania
The great bulk of these countries are in the southern part of the continent, with some on the central western side.
I personally think that – like everything the Sussexes do – this tour is very strategic, and during the tour, they will announce that they are moving to Africa. It won’t be a forever move; it might be for maximum two or three years, before Archie and any future Mountbatten-Windsor children are in school. They have shown already that they value privacy, want to do things their own way, and, though Royals have certainly lived abroad before – the Queen and Prince Philip began their marriage in Malta, an archipelago in the Mediterranean, which the Queen still says is the best time of her life – no senior Royal of the modern age (or ever, that I could find) has ever lived abroad in Africa, despite nearly half (19 of 53) Commonwealth countries being on the continent. While living there, the Sussexes would serve as ambassadors of the Commonwealth; the Times of London is saying the move could be for two or three years, but Harper’s Bazaar is predicting just a few months. After their stay in Africa, they’ll purportedly return home to Frogmore.
I think this is definitely going to happen, and, once again, the Sussexes will make history by doing so. I think it will be for at least a year, and I think it will be fabulous. I think, like the Queen’s time in Malta, they will look back on it as one of the best times in their lives. (The Queen only came home to the U.K. because her father, King George VI, died unexpectedly and she had to come home and, you know, be Queen.) I think tourism in Africa will spike, and I think they will do a great job telling the story of Africa – and I can’t wait for it. Like Diana always said, Harry is the one to watch, and now with Meghan and Archie, the Sussexes/little Mountbatten-Windsor will change the game. What an exciting time to be watching this Family!