- Video report by ITV NewsRoyal Editor Chris Ship
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arrived in Morocco for a whirlwind three-day tour that will see Meghan’s promotion of gender equality at the fore.
Harry and Meghan are making their first official visit to north Africa to strengthen Britain’s links with one of the few stable countries in the region, and a nation which will be an important post-Brexit market for the UK.
Britain’s ambassador to Morocco Thomas Reilly, who welcomed the couple when they arrived at Casablanca airport on Saturday evening, said Morocco’s promotion of women and girls, its inclusivity, and social entrepreneurship are “close to their royal highnesses’ hearts”.
The Duke and Duchess were two hours late for their welcoming ceremony due to the knock-on effect of an earlier delay to their scheduled air service.
In darkness, Harry inspected a sabre-carrying guard of honour from the Auxiliary Forces, dressed in their pristine white uniforms and formed in two rows.
The heavily pregnant Duchess walked behind her husband as he looked over the troops, who had been patiently waiting for their arrival for more than an hour.
Despite spending a busy few days in New York recently for her luxury baby shower, which featured a string of A-list celebrities, Meghan looked relaxed and wore a striking red Valentino dress for their arrival.
Red is an important colour in Morocco, representing hardiness, bravery, strength and valour on the national flag.
A spokesperson for Kensington Palace said the couple are "very much looking forward to the visit and are grateful to their hosts and the British Embassy for arranging such an interesting programme.
“They are particularly pleased that they will have the opportunity to meet so many young Moroccans over the next few days.”
ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship reported that "medical provision" has been made for the Duke of Sussex who is almost eight months pregnant.
The couple began their tour, which will see them visit Morocco’s famous Atlas Mountains and the capital Rabat, by walking along a red carpet that led to Casablanca airport’s royal suite.
As they entered the building they were offered milk and dates – a traditional welcome in Morocco.
It was not apparent if Meghan used a spoon to sip the milk in an ornate bowl but Harry could be seen nibbling on a date.
A large motorcade of black limousines was waiting to take the couple and their entourage of nine – which includes a hairdresser – to meet Morocco’s Crown Prince Moulay Hassan.
They are staying as guests of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI at a royal residence.
Mr Reilly said it was "hugely exciting" to have the Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit, adding that their tour would "showcase the vital roles that girls’ education and youth employment are playing in shaping modern Morocco".
The ambassador continued that the whirlwind trip would "focus on women’s empowerment, girls’ education, inclusivity and the encouragement of social entrepreneurship.
“From a girls’ education project in the High Atlas Mountains, to programmes working with children with disabilities and young people with mental health challenges, to meeting with young social entrepreneurs, their royal highnesses will be shown first-hand the transformational impact of community-based programmes and Morocco’s changing social attitudes towards women.”