Harry and Meghan ponder their next home in Africa, but where?
The move will be seen as a symptom of a split between the young dukes
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are considering a move to work in Africa after the birth of their first child as Prince Harry and his older brother map out their separate working lives.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who are already president and vice-president of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, have been in discussions with advisers over a bespoke international role for the next phase of their work in the royal family.
Planning is in its earliest stages as the couple awaits the changes that family life will bring, with their team considering how they can best make a positive impact in the Commonwealth.
The move will be viewed as a symptom of the recent formal split in the young royal household of Kensington Palace, with William and Harry working in increasingly different ways amid rumours of a rift.While the Duke of Cambridge prepares to one day become Prince of Wales and then the king, the Duke of Sussex and his wife are increasingly building a platform of celebrity allies and social media followers that will ensure global interest in their next move.Suggestions of tensions between the two brothers were not aided on Sunday by their appearance at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, for the Easter Mattins service, where they did not exchange a word in view of the public.
Instead, the Duke of Sussex appeared in good spirits when he arrived at church with Peter and Autumn Phillips and left with Zara and Mike Tindall while the Cambridges walked together, as the royal family gathered to celebrate the 93rd birthday of the queen.
A spokesperson for the Sussexes said: “Any future plans for the duke and duchess are speculative at this stage. No decisions have been taken about future roles. The duke will continue to fulfil his role as Commonwealth youth ambassador.”
According to a report, a formal plan to move the couple to work overseas was being drawn up by Sir David Manning, a former special adviser on constitutional and international affairs to both dukes.
Lord Geidt, the queen’s former private secretary and chairperson of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, has also been involved, with Simon Case, the Duke of Cambridge’s private secretary, expected to be “pivotal” in negotiating the details of any move with the government, it said.
Such a position would be designed to “harness” the star power of the couple while keeping them within the fold of the royal family, it is claimed.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have long been expected to focus their working lives on the wider Commonwealth after making clear their support for its young people around the world.
While posts in Canada and Australia have also been considered, it is understood that a country in Africa is the frontrunner for a period of sustained, long-term work.
The couple is unlikely to make a permanent move abroad, with options under discussion including recurring trips to one region for several months at a time to allow them to undertake “meaningful” work.
Such a plan could allow them to change the tried-and-tested royal schedule of taking several high-profile, one-off visits to different countries each year at the request of the government with the idea of building relationships between Britain and the rest of the world.
Prince Harry has previously spoken of his deep affinity to Africa, having spent time in Lesotho in his 20s, founding HIV charity Sentebale.
He has also called Botswana his “second home”.
He and his future wife spent time in Botswana while they were dating, with Prince Harry introducing her to elephant conservation work in 2017.
A source said an African country was considered an ideal fit for the types of causes they wanted to focus on, which have so far included women’s empowerment, education and young people.
Any plans to work overseas would be designed to make use of the couple’s global status while balancing the need for them to work in support of the queen and to benefit Britain.
Aides will also need to navigate both significant security issues and the shadow of colonialism, requiring a role that could not be open to accusations of a visiting duke and duchess patronising Commonwealth citizens.
Discussions are said to be in the very earliest stages, with the safe arrival of the Sussex’s first baby being the top priority in the coming days.Once the couple has settled in as a new family of three, a source said, the duke and the duchess will then “map out the long-term strategy for their working lives over the next few years”.A royal source said the Duke of Cambridge would continue to be “fully supportive” of his brother as the pair set out on their separate working lives.– © Telegraph Media Group Limited (2019)