Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Visit Their Namesake County For The First Time
Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arrived on “home” turf.
On Wednesday, the couple made their first joint visit to Sussex, situated approximately 50 miles south of London.
Dressed in a cream cashmere coat from Giorgio Armani and a striking green leather pencil skirt by Hugo Boss, Meghan was all smiles as she greeted a group of kids from Westbourne House School who made an adorable — and rather handy — A-Z Guide to Sussex for the couple.
It was a busy day for the royal pair as they took in the sites and sounds of the county — complete with history lessons. One month after they took in a performance of the Tony-winning musical Hamilton in London, the newlyweds jumped at the chance to catch a glimpse of the Sussex-housed Declaration of Independence. Yes, that’s right. Sussex has one of only two handwritten manuscripts. (The other is in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.)
Wendy Walker, the West Sussex archivist, showed the duke and duchess the rare copy, telling them how “it was drawn up in America, possibly in New York or Philadelphia,” to which the American-born duchess responded, “Wow, that’s really special.”
The couple then made their way to the coast at Bognor Regis, where Harry and Meghan officially opened the University of Chichester’s Engineering and Digital Technology Park.
Next on the itinerary, the duo headed east, leaving the county of West Sussex for East Sussex to check out the city of Brighton, where they walked to the Survivors’ Network, a charity that supports victims of sexual abuse in Sussex. The couple met with volunteers and staff.
As a vocal advocate of the #TimesUp movement, Meghan has placed women at the centre of her work since she first took on her royal duties. (For more on her recent charity cookbook, click here.)
The Director of Survivors’ Network, Jay Breslaw, told the BBC that Harry and Meghan’s visit created “a mood of real jubilation in the office” and that their recognition of the organization’s work is of “huge importance to us as a small charity in Sussex, and particularly in this time when funding is difficult.”
As part of a longstanding tradition, Queen Elizabeth gifted Harry and Meghan with their new royal titles on the morning of their May 19 nuptials. (They also hold the titles of Earl and Countess of Dumbarton and Baroness Kilkeel, which is how they are recognized when visiting Scotland and Northern Ireland.) When Prince William wed Kate Middleton in 2011, they subsequently became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
As is the case with most royal dukedoms, the title of Duke of Sussex is steeped in rich history. Although the name first appeared in historic documents in the 800s, the origins of the title itself have been traced back to Prince Augustus Frederick, son of King George III (who was the monarch during the American Revolution). Harry is the first to hold the title since 1843.
Even more fascinating — for Meghan’s fans, especially — is the fact that the former actress is the first-ever Duchess of Sussex. It would appear, in her nearly five months as a member of the Royal Family, that Meghan has already blazed her own trail.