Royal News

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s clever ploy to avoid ‘royal tour from hell’

Meghan and Harry have set out to define their own roles outside of the Royal Family in the last six months — after struggling with life behind Palace walls for some time. Their penultimate royal tour, in February 2019, saw the Sussexes travel to Morocco for a brief three-day trip. This was abruptly announced and its purpose seemed unclear to the public, although a spokesperson claimed that it “will build on the close relationship between the UK and Morocco”.

According to Candian publication Maclean’s, royal watchers commented: “It is just so askew, off kilter, weird, like there’s something we don’t know.”

Another said: “It is so weird; seems like there must be another agenda — why send seven-month pregnant Meghan here for this? I don’t get it.”

The remarkable trip seemed to amplify claims that the couple were out of sync with the rest of the Royal Family.

Additionally, while it was thought that the couple were going at the request of the Government to help improve Brexit relations, it was noted at the time that Morocco only sends 3.2 percent of its exports to the UK.

Maclean’s also noted: “Though the two are famous for their warm, spontaneous interactions with crowds of onlookers, none of the events are open to the public.”

Yet, a glance back at the Royal Family’s history within Morocco provides some insight into Meghan and Harry’s supposedly haphazard trip there.

The Queen’s trip to the African country was dubbed the “tour from hell”, and seen as one of the diplomatic monarch’s most trying events.

The nation was then ruled by King Hassan II, the current monarch’s father, who was “infamous for his ill-temper, capricious nature and ability to avoid assassination attempts”, according to Maclean’s.

The outlet claimed he “ripped up the agreed-upon schedule, drove usually unflappable royal courtiers to despair and insulted the Queen”.

Royal biographer Ann Morrow also alleged: “Shortly after the official welcome, the tour started its decline and took on an Alice in Wonderland quality that had none of Lewis Carroll’s zany charm.”

For instance, the Moroccan king decided to go golfing rather than attend the Queen’s welcoming lunch.

The monarch was also more than an hour late to the state banquet because the chosen venue was suddenly closed.

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She was then taken to an unplanned reception with Moroccan dignitaries.

Reports claim the Queen was infuriated, especially after Hassan then cancelled a trip to Fez, too.

On another trip, the Queen was forced to abruptly change vehicles because the Moroccan king was worried about security.

Then the monarch was left waiting in a hot desert tent while Hassan spent time in his air-conditioned caravan.

Reports from the time claim the Queen was “clearly very angry”, and showed her frustration by fidgeting and tapping her foot.

She allegedly told photographers: “Keep your cameras trained. You may see the biggest walkout of all time.”

In hindsight, Maclean’s noted that while Meghan and Harry’s trip “may be an odd duck” it was “a swim in a calm lake compared to what Harry’s grandmother had to endure”.

It seems that after the Queen’s scheduling difficulties with Morocco, the Sussexes’ team decided not to announce their plans until just before their departure.

For instance, it was announced only two weeks before they left, and no other information was available for the public until just four days before the trip began.

Additionally, there was no mention of any engagements with the Moroccan royal family in the lead-up to the tour.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex did end up meeting King Mohammed VI in Rabat on their final day in the country, for a formal dinner, but it was clear their visit was more focused on “female empowerment” and the Moroccan community.

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