Royal reporter Omid Scobie dishes about the fashion, the events, and when we can expect to see baby Archie
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — a.k.a. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex — are now in Africa for a 10-day tour, and they brought along some precious cargo: their five-month-old son, Archie Harrison. We’re already counting on some inspiring moments (and some incredible fashion from the Duchess herself!), but what else should we expect? To make sure our Wake-Up Call newsletter family is fully prepped, we turned to our regal pal Omid Scobie, the Royal Editor of Harper’s Bazaar and a royal contributor to Good Morning America. Here’s what he told us.
Katie Couric: The Sussexes are in Africa for their first royal tour as a family of three. What’s on the agenda?
Omid Scobie: We’re currently in sunny Cape Town for Harry and Meghan’s first day of activities, which will see the couple welcomed in one of the local townships before they throw on aprons in the inner-city to join a cooking activity showcasing the cultural diversity of the area through cuisine. There will be at least thirty-five engagements across four countries in 10 days, so it’s going to be a busy time for all of us!
This royal tour will obviously be quite different from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s previous engagements — namely, since baby Archie will be with them. How has Archie factored into the couple’s plans for this trip?
Royal babies rack up Air Miles fast! Much like when the Cambridges traveled with their children on tours, Archie’s movements will be kept to a minimum — being based at Cape Town and then Johannesburg. He’s only five-months old, so making sure he’s comfortable is important. Plus, we all want him to be well-rested for his royal tour debut. Palace aides tell me that Harry and Meghan are planning to bring him out for an engagement before the tour ends on October 2.
What sort of causes and organizations will the Sussexes be highlighting during this tour?
The itinerary carries all the classic tour hallmarks — from planting trees [for the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy] to meetings with state officials — but Harry and Meghan have made sure they’re also focusing on their own areas of interest, including gender equality, universal education opportunities, wildlife conservation and youth empowerment. The couple also plan to shine a light on the work being done by grass-roots organizations here, too. Tomorrow we’ll be at Monwabisi Beach, once a dangerous and gang-ridden place, to see how community-led initiatives like Waves for Change, which works with local surf mentors to provide mental health support to disadvantaged youth, have helped transform the area.
In previous tours, royal couples have had a chance to sneak off for some time to themselves. Will the Sussexes get to have any nights off as a family while they’re abroad, and what might they do with that time?
In South Africa the schedule will allow the three to spend their evenings as a family, but Harry’s itinerary gets pretty intense when he flies solo. From Wednesday, the royal charter will take him to Botswana, Angola and Malawi in just six days. Meghan will remain in South Africa with Archie and take on a number of her own engagements. There’s very little downtime.
One exciting aspect of the royal tour is getting to see the incredible fashions worn by the Duchess of Sussex, often from brands based in the areas she is visiting. What can we expect from Meghan this tour, fashion-wise? And does she travel with a team helping her with wardrobe on these tours?
Their team on the ground here is light (just one palace assistant!), so extra care goes into packing each outfit before they leave the U.K. — color-coded garment bags, tissue paper between each piece as its placed in suitcases. The amount of planning that goes into tour wardrobes is nothing short of impressive. I hear that Meghan will be acknowledging local designers throughout the trip, having carefully selected pieces by emerging South African designers to mix in with her own favorites. And keep an eye out for item or two from her recently-released Smart Works collection!
And we’d love to know what goes into being a royal reporter on one of these tours! What are some of the most memorable things you’ve experienced on royal tours?
The most memorable moments usually involve things going off-script! Royal tours are meticulously planned but there are some things you can’t predict — especially when it involves animals. I was lucky enough to be the journalist with Cambridges for a safari tour of the Kaziranga National Park in India. The engagement was running to schedule until we found ourselves blocked in the road by a rather curious black female rhino, who had stepped out in front of us and was in no rush to move. I was sitting in the back of an open-top Jeep next to the couple’s press secretary and I remember all of us being in complete awe of this beautiful animal — and trying our best to suppress giggles as rangers spent several minutes trying to move the stubborn rhino along.
This interview originally appeared on Medium.com