As I wrote on Friday, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s trip to Nigeria has been a smash hit, and there’s no other way to describe it – not even the British tabloids can deny that this non-royal tour, which has been the most high-profile royal or non-royal tour of the year, has been a massive success. Which is why, lol, now that it has concluded, they’re now, yet again, calling for King Charles to strip the Sussexes of their titles. Like somehow Harry and Meghan not having titles would have made Nigerians less enthusiastic about their visit?! And also… how is this good advice? 

 

Let’s play this out. Harry and Meghan go to Nigeria and it’s a slam dunk – worldwide headlines, the pictures are beamed out across the planet. So the king’s next move is to take away their titles? Why would the monarch throwing a jealous hissy over his son and daughter-in-law being so popular in Nigeria be a good look?! It would read only one way: petty and vindictive. Which is SO not the vibe. And if that’s the counsel that the king and his people are getting… well… it’s yet another example that these senior royals are surrounded by f-cking idiots. 

 

Anyway, back to Harry and Meghan’s triumph and we’ll start with the anthem. On Saturday night the Sussexes attended a reception alongside among military families at the Defense Headquarters Officers Mess in Abuja to unveil a rehabilitation centre. Per PEOPLE:

“Hosted by the Chief of Defense Staff, General Christopher Musa, it was a chance for the couple to speak to families of servicemen and women. Shortly after being seated, the couple rose along with everyone else to listen to the national anthems. The ceremony began with "God Save The King," during which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stood at attention. Harry stood with his eyes forward and his arms by his side as the anthem played. The British anthem was followed by the Nigerian anthem.”

Nigeria is a Commonwealth nation, it is customary at this kind of occasion for the anthems to play. What makes this noteworthy, of course, is that this happened in the presence of Prince Harry who is no longer a senior member of the British royal family on a trip with his wife that is not considered an official royal engagement. And yet… well… like I kept saying last week, it FEELS like a royal engagement. Harry was referred to as a “prince” while he was there and Meghan was called “princess” at one point in the night by Abike Dabiri Erewa, the head of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, when she said that “Princess Meghan is a Nigerian!” 

 

The Commonwealth is a major priority for the royal institution. The relationship with Nigeria, then, is critical. And here we have Nigerians paying no mind to whatever bullsh-t rules and protocols that the British royals insist must be observed and basically saying, yeah, yeah, whatever, they’re still prince and princess to us, no matter what you decided we can and can’t and should and shouldn’t call them. These are the two people from your family that we wanted here. 

And part of that has to do with the fact that many people in Nigeria who were in attendance at the events planned for Harry and Meghan consider Meghan to be one of them. Following the revelation that ancestry testing confirmed that her background is Nigerian, Meghan talked about representation on Saturday afternoon during a panel discussion with Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation in front of an audience that included women from “various sectors of Nigerian society and industry”. 

"Representation matters tremendously," Meghan said. "You need to see it to believe it. That starts when you're very young...I often find that whatever travels I've done, regardless if it's Nigeria or another country around the world, oftentimes when women reach the peak of success, they leave. 

“But you need to come back home. You need to at least be a familiar face for the next generation to say, ‘oh, she looks like me. And I can be that.’...You still always want to come back home because that's how you're going to help shift any sort of generational pattern that might be stifling, especially for young girls who need to see someone who looks like them in that same position.”

 

So there’s a member of the British royal family, by marriage, who Nigeria, a member nation of the Commonwealth, recognises to have roots in their country – you could say that’s representation too, right? And yet… and yet… 

I’m thinking what you’re thinking and you’re thinking what I’m thinking, right? What an opportunity squandered by the people at the royal institution who did not recognise the asset they had when they had it. And that’s both Meghan and Harry. Because their performance this weekend was outstanding. 

It was an approachable performance. They were *CLOSE* to people. Look at these pictures, how tactile they are, in comparison to, you know, the distance that’s observed whenever those royals go out there. Occasionally one of them might allow a hug but they look like they would rather be anywhere else. Harry and Meghan and the team planning this tour made sure to create as many opportunities as possible for these two to be in close proximity with the people they were trying to connect with, which is something Princess Diana understood when she was alive. We’re just not getting this energy with the others. And when they do try it they look stiff, because it’s not natural to them. And I understand that because, frankly, it's not natural to me, to enjoy being close to people. Not everyone is built the same way. But that’s how Harry and Meghan are built! That’s their skillset! And it could have been such a superpower for the institution. 

 

You know what else Meghan did well this weekend? She talked about the clothes. Clothing is an important part of every royal tour so I’m not saying she’s the only one who puts thought into it. Princess Kate is also quite considered when it comes to what she wears on tour. The difference though? It’s the open acknowledgement. 

At that same women’s empowerment seminar, Meghan wore a red dress by Nigerian designer Orire and made the clothes part of the conversation: 

"I am just flattered and honored and inspired. It has been a whirlwind 24 hours since we arrived, and I very quickly got the memo that I need to wear more color, so I can fit in with all of you and your incredible fashion!" 

 

It’s a rather ordinary thing to say, no doubt. The reason I’m singling it out is because it feels extraordinary in this setting. Normally they send out a press release or something much more formal to fill out the details about the royal tour wardrobe as royals could never be seen engaging in such “frivolous” behaviour as talking about clothes, even though they clearly f-cking care about the clothes. But what could be a better way to honour and appreciate someone’s work and what could be a better way to relate to other people than to talk about getting the memo about wearing more color?

It was a charming remark – and what’s more, it was easy for her, it would be easy for anyone. The kind of effortless little detail that makes all the difference. The kind of detail missing from a tired playbook that could use the update. 

All of Meghan’s looks this weekend were great but my favourite was the palm dress.