Harry & Meghan to visit South Africa in fall, British official confirms

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex ride by carriage down the Mall during Trooping The Colour parade, on June 8, 2019 in London. (Photo: Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Ooops: Sometimes high-ranking officials in the far-flung reaches of the old British Empire can’t wait to spill the tea when star royals like Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan of Sussex are scheduled to come calling.

So it was Wednesday when Nigel Casey, the British High Commissioner in South Africa (meaning, he reps Queen Elizabeth II in the former British colony), held a press conference to mark the queen’s 93rd birthday and let slip that, hang on to your hats, Harry and Meghan will visit South Africa in October.

But will baby Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, by then only about four months old, be going with? Not clear so stayed tuned. 

The news was posted by local media in South Africa and most definitely did not come from Buckingham Palace, which has steadfastly refused to comment about the Sussex travel plans despite leaks about those plans (will they go to Asia, too?) in the British media over the past week. 

BREAKING NEWS: Casey has confirmed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, will be coming to South Africa later this year. pic.twitter.com/No90q574Tl

Jacaranda News posted the news with a video of a delighted Casey at his press conference, predicting that the visit would be “great” for the economy of South Africa, one of the 50-plus nations in the Commonwealth.

“I predict a hat and frock buying frenzy…which could restore economic growth all on its own,” Casey joked. “We’re hugely looking forward to that and thanks in anticipation for that and all the support that I know we’re going to receive.”

Buckingham Palace declined to comment in a message to USA TODAY. But typically, the palace waits until the Foreign and Commonwealth Office signs off before announcing the details of a royal visit. So stay tuned.

British publications such as the Daily Mail instantly jumped on the news, reporting that “it is understood” that the Sussex trip will range beyond South Africa and will focus on Commonwealth countries, including possible stops in Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (R), and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose for a photo with their newborn baby son in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London on May 8, 2019. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski / POOL / AFP)DOMINIC LIPINSKI/AFP/Getty Images ORIG FILE ID: AFP_1GA04T (Photo: DOMINIC LIPINSKI, AFP/Getty Images)

Last week, The Sun tabloid reported that Harry and Meghan will go to Angola during the fall tour to continue his mother, Princess Diana’s, campaign against landmines through the anti-landmine Halo Trust, for which Harry is a royal patron.

Harper’s Bazaar also reported last month that Harry and Meghan would hit the road, pointing out that in Malawi, also in southern Africa, the couple could visiting to support the African children’s charity, Sentebale, that Harry set up years ago with his pal, Prince Seeiso of Lesotho.

Even before Archie was born on May 6, the Sunday Times was reporting the royal duo were not only going to visit Africa, they might even move there for a few years. 

Both Harry and Meghan are youth ambassadors to the Commonwealth, the organization of former British colonies beloved by the queen. At the time of their marriage in May 2018, it was made clear that their royal job assignments would be heavily focused on the Commonwealth and would likely involve a lot of travel given that the queen no longer takes long-haul trips abroad. 

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