Prince Harry and Meghan Markle began their 72-hour whistlestop tour of Nigeria today with a trip to a school supported by the couple’s Archewell Foundation.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex met officials and children at the Wuse Lightway Academy this morning, hours after their arrival in Abuja in the early hours.

Harry spoke about mental health, telling a group of pupils that there was ‘no shame to be able to acknowledge that today is a bad day, OK? That you woke up this morning feeling sad. That you were at school, feeling stressed, that you’ve lost a loved one in your family and you don’t know who to turn to or who to speak to’.

The Duke added: ‘You can have it, she (Meghan) can have it, I can have it. They can have it. Every single one of us is likely to have it on any given day. So if you take anything away from today, just know that mental health affects every single person.’

The couple flew in together just before 5am following a secret reunion at London Heathrow’s VIP Windsor Suite yesterday after the Duchess arrived from Los Angeles.

They both boarded the British Airways overnight flight to Abuja, which was slightly delayed after the scheduled pilot went sick and a replacement had to be scrambled.

The Sussexes, visiting Nigeria together for the first time, were seated in the first class section of the Boeing 777 and were kept apart from other passengers by a curtain.

It comes after Harry said it was ‘great’ to be back in the UK this week to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Invictus Games. The Duke had been in London since Tuesday to attend events relating to the competition including a thanksgiving service.

Harry and Meghan clap as they meet children at the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja today

Harry and Meghan clap as they meet children at the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja today 

Meghan Markle waves as she and Harry visit the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja today

Meghan Markle waves as she and Harry visit the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja today

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive at the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja this morning

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive at the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja this morning

Harry and Meghan at the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja today as they speak to children

Harry and Meghan at the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja today as they speak to children

Prince Harry and Meghan visit children at the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja this morning

Prince Harry and Meghan visit children at the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja this morning

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive at the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja this morning

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive at the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja this morning

Speaking at Wuse Lightway Academy this morning, Harry said: ‘In some cases around the world, in more than you would believe, there is a stigma when it comes to mental health.

‘There is no shame to be able to acknowledge that today is a bad day’: Harry’s full quotes in speech to children

Prince Harry spoke to children at Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja this morning, saying the following:

‘In some cases around the world, in more than you would believe, there is a stigma when it comes to mental health.

‘Too many people don’t want to talk about it, because it’s invisible – something in your mind that you can’t see. It’s not like a broken leg, it’s not like a broken wrist, it’s something we are still relatively unsure of.

‘But guess what? Every single person in this room – the youngest, the oldest – every single person has mental health. So therefore you have to look after yourselves to be able to look after other people, and other people have to be able to look after themselves to be able to look after you. That’s the way it works.

‘And there is no shame to be able to acknowledge that today is a bad day, OK? That you woke up this morning feeling sad; that you were at school, feeling stressed; that you’ve lost a loved one in your family and you don’t know who to turn to or who to speak to. All of these things you may even be led to believe are not for conversation.

‘We are here today to tell you that that is not the case. Every single one of those things is completely normal, it is a human reaction, whether it’s grief, stress, whatever the feeling is. It comes from an experience that you have had – you can have it, she (Meghan) can have it, I can have it. They can have it. Every single one of us is likely to have it on any given day.

‘So if you take anything away from today, just know that mental health affects every single person.’

‘Too many people don’t want to talk about it, because it’s invisible – something in your mind that you can’t see. It’s not like a broken leg, it’s not like a broken wrist, it’s something we are still relatively unsure of.

‘But guess what? Every single person in this room – the youngest, the oldest – every single person has mental health.’

He said that people had to ‘look after yourselves to be able to look after other people, and other people have to be able to look after themselves to be able to look after you’, adding: ‘That’s the way it works.’

The Duke continued: ‘And there is no shame to be able to acknowledge that today is a bad day, OK? That you woke up this morning feeling sad; that you were at school, feeling stressed; that you’ve lost a loved one in your family and you don’t know who to turn to or who to speak to. All of these things you may even be led to believe are not for conversation.’

He said the Sussexes were ‘here today to tell you that that is not the case’.

Harry continued: ‘Every single one of those things is completely normal, it is a human reaction, whether it’s grief, stress, whatever the feeling is. It comes from an experience that you have had – you can have it, she (Meghan) can have it, I can have it. They can have it. Every single one of us is likely to have it on any given day.

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‘So if you take anything away from today, just know that mental health affects every single person.’

Nigerian defence spokesman Brigadier General Tukur Gusau confirmed today that Harry and Meghan arrived in Abuja early this morning.

They will be meeting wounded soldiers and their families in what Nigerian officials have said is a show of support to improve the soldiers’ morale and wellbeing.

Abidemi Marquis, the director of sports at Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters, said: ‘This engagement with Invictus is giving us the opportunity for the recovery of our soldiers.,’

Harry served in Afghanistan as an Apache helicopter co-pilot gunner, after which he founded the Invictus Games in 2014 to offer wounded veterans and service members the challenge of competing in sports events similar to the Paralympics.

Nigeria was among the nations that participated in last year’s edition of the games.

The Nigerian military has touted the Invictus Games as one which could help the recovery of thousands of its personnel who have been fighting the homegrown Boko Haram Islamic extremists and their factions since 2009 when they launched an insurgency.

James Holt (left), the executive director of the couple's Archewell Foundation, in Abuja today

James Holt (left), the executive director of the couple’s Archewell Foundation, in Abuja today

Harry and Meghan at the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja today as they speak to children

Harry and Meghan at the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja today as they speak to children

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive at the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja this morning

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive at the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja this morning

Harry and Meghan begin their tour of Nigeria with a trip to the Wuse Lightway Academy today

Harry and Meghan begin their tour of Nigeria with a trip to the Wuse Lightway Academy today

Harry and Meghan chat as they meet children at the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja today

Harry and Meghan chat as they meet children at the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja today

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive at the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja this morning

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive at the Wuse Lightway Academy in Abuja this morning

Mr Marquis said: ’80 per cent of our soldiers that have been involved in this recovery programme are getting better (and) their outlook to life is positive,’

Prince Harry says it’s ‘great’ to be back in UK

The Duke of Sussex said it was ‘great’ to be back in the UK this week. 

Speaking at an event he attended in London yesterday for Scotty’s Little Soldiers, a charity for bereaved military children, Harry was asked by BBC royal correspondent Daniela Relph: ‘Nice to have you back. How is it being here?’

The Duke replied: ‘It’s great. Just as the lights turned off, perfect timing. It’s great, it’s amazing. What Scotty’s is doing with these kids is absolutely incredible, and very needed as well. 

‘And the more opportunity we get to do these kind of events, the more that families and kids up and down the country know that Scotty’s exists, which is really the most important thing.’

Ms Relph asked him: ‘How many Maltesers did you eat off the floor?’ 

And Harry replied: ‘Er, you guys probably know better than I do, but at least three. I think by that point it started getting a little bit weird.’

As he walked away, Ms Relph said: ‘And nice to be back in the UK?’ And Harry said: ‘Yeah, it’s great. Nice to see you.’

‘The recovery programme has given them an opportunity to improve their personal self-esteem, to improve their mental health and emotional intelligence.’

As Harry and Meghan arrived in Nigeria just before 5am today, other travellers were held back while the couple were escorted off and they exchanged smiles with cabin crew as they left.

Nigerian officials met them at the airport, Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International, and they were taken out of a side door onto the jetty and into a waiting blacked out minibus.

Meghan was wearing black trousers and a brown jacket, while Harry walked behind in a black jacket and trousers and open necked shirt.

Aides carried their luggage, and they were accompanied by the same security team that had been with Harry throughout his recent stay in London.

The couple are thought to be staying in the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja where the presidential suit costs £600 a night.

Set in picturesque landscape gardens in the heart of the Nigerian capital, the hotel has a restaurant, pool and spa and is popular with expats and diplomats.

It is also close to the Nigerian Defence Headquarters where the couple will have an engagement at 12pm with General Christopher Musa, Chief of Defence Staff.

Brigadier General Tukur Gusau told MailOnline: ‘They will be tired after their journey, so they will rest and then the first engagement is at midday at the Defence Headquarters.

‘After that they will travel to Kaduna to meet wounded soldiers at a military hospital there before returning to Abuja for other engagements.’

The visit is primarily to promote the Invictus Games and comes after Harry met the Nigerian team and General Musa at last year’s competition in Dusseldorf, Germany.

It was there that he told the audience Meghan was ‘rooting for Team Nigeria’ after discovering she had heritage from the west African nation.

Harry and Meghan are visiting Nigeria on the invitation of General Christopher Musa.

The couple are due to visit a school before the duke meets injured service members at a military hospital.

They will also attend a training session for charity organisation Nigeria: Unconquered, which collaborates with the Invictus Games, as well as a reception where military families will be honoured.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit the Wuse Lightway Academy in Nigeria this morning

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit the Wuse Lightway Academy in Nigeria this morning

Prince Harry speaks at the Wuse Lightway Academy today as the royal tour of Nigeria begins

Prince Harry speaks at the Wuse Lightway Academy today as the royal tour of Nigeria begins

Harry and Meghan begin their tour of Nigeria with a trip to the Wuse Lightway Academy today

Harry and Meghan begin their tour of Nigeria with a trip to the Wuse Lightway Academy today

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit the Wuse Lightway Academy in Nigeria this morning

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit the Wuse Lightway Academy in Nigeria this morning

Meghan is then due to co-host an event of Women in Leadership with Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the director-general of the World Trade Organisation.

On Sunday the couple will fly to Lagos for the second part of visit where they will attend a basketball camp with the charity Giants of Africa, a cultural reception and a polo fundraiser for Nigeria: Unconquered.

The Defence HQ revealed the Sussexes’ itinerary in a press conference yesterday, and said that while some of the meetings will be private, the couple will do a photocall after.

The department said Meghan was looking forward to visiting Nigeria to ‘explore her Nigerian ancestry’.

It comes after Meghan revealed on her Spotify podcast Archetypes in 2022 that she found out she has Nigerian ancestry, describing herself as ’43 per cent Nigerian’.

During a visit to the Nigerian team at last year’s Invictus Games in Dusseldorf, Meghan was given the name Amira Ngozi Lolo, which holds a special royal meaning.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk down the steps of a British Airways plane at Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Nigeria early this morning shortly after landing

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk down the steps of a British Airways plane at Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Nigeria early this morning shortly after landing

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, pictured in Abuja this morning, were seated in the first class section of the Boeing 777 flight and were kept apart from other passengers by a curtain

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, pictured in Abuja this morning, were seated in the first class section of the Boeing 777 flight and were kept apart from other passengers by a curtain

Prince Harry is spotted arriving at the VIP Windsor suite at London Heathrow Airport yesterday

Prince Harry is spotted arriving at the VIP Windsor suite at London Heathrow Airport yesterday

Prince Harry walks into the Windsor Suite at Heathrow yesterday to be reunited with Meghan

Prince Harry walks into the Windsor Suite at Heathrow yesterday to be reunited with Meghan

Prince Harry's team are pictured outside the Windsor Suite at Heathrow Airport yesterday

Prince Harry’s team are pictured outside the Windsor Suite at Heathrow Airport yesterday

‘Amira’ means warrior princess from a legend, while ‘Ngozi’ means blessed and ‘Lolo’ means royal wife.

Harry also joked about Meghan’s ancestry during his opening speech at the games.

He said: ‘Now, I’m not saying we play favourites in our home, but since my wife discovered she’s of Nigerian descent, it’s likely to get a little bit more competitive this year.’

It comes after the duke celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Invictus Games at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Wednesday.

Harry was joined for the service of thanksgiving by close relatives of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales and a mentor who supported him after her death, along with hundreds of people from the ‘Invictus family’.

The St Paul’s service to recognise the Paralympic-style competition the royal founded began as a few miles away the King met guests at the first Buckingham Palace garden party of the year.

The Duke of Sussex visits an event in London yesterday hosted by Scotty's Little Soldiers

The Duke of Sussex visits an event in London yesterday hosted by Scotty’s Little Soldiers

The Duke of Sussex plays games at a Scotty's Little Soldiers event in London yesterday

The Duke of Sussex plays games at a Scotty’s Little Soldiers event in London yesterday 

Prince Harry makes a surprise visit to the Scotty's Little Soldiers event in London yesterday

Prince Harry makes a surprise visit to the Scotty’s Little Soldiers event in London yesterday 

The Duke of Sussex plays games at a Scotty's Little Soldiers event in London yesterday

The Duke of Sussex plays games at a Scotty’s Little Soldiers event in London yesterday

The Duke of Sussex on a visit to an event in London hosted by Scotty's Little Soldiers yesterday

The Duke of Sussex on a visit to an event in London hosted by Scotty’s Little Soldiers yesterday

The Duke of Sussex plays games at a Scotty's Little Soldiers event in London yesterday

The Duke of Sussex plays games at a Scotty’s Little Soldiers event in London yesterday

The Duke of Sussex poses with a group from Scotty's Little Soldiers in London yesterday

The Duke of Sussex poses with a group from Scotty’s Little Soldiers in London yesterday

The Duke of Sussex plays games at a Scotty's Little Soldiers event in London yesterday

The Duke of Sussex plays games at a Scotty’s Little Soldiers event in London yesterday

A group from Scotty's Little Soldiers take a selfie with the Duke of Sussex in London yesterday

A group from Scotty’s Little Soldiers take a selfie with the Duke of Sussex in London yesterday

The Duke of Sussex during a visit to the Scotty's Little Soldiers event in London yesterday

The Duke of Sussex during a visit to the Scotty’s Little Soldiers event in London yesterday

The Duke of Sussex plays games at a Scotty's Little Soldiers event in London yesterday

The Duke of Sussex plays games at a Scotty’s Little Soldiers event in London yesterday

The Duke of Sussex attends an event in London hosted by Scotty's Little Soldiers yesterday

The Duke of Sussex attends an event in London hosted by Scotty’s Little Soldiers yesterday

The monarch and his son did not meet during Harry’s brief UK visit due to the King’s ‘full programme’, said the duke’s spokesman in a statement.

There have been reports of issues of trust but the statement had a conciliatory tone and mentioned how the duke hoped to ‘see him soon’.

The Invictus Games was founded as a sporting event for injured and sick military personnel and veterans.

Harry met Nigeria’s chief of defence staff in Germany last September at the Invictus Games in Dusseldorf.

Local newspapers reported that Defence Headquarters was ‘honoured’ and ‘delighted’ after Harry and Meghan, who is of Nigerian descent, had accepted the invitation.

In a press briefing broadcast live on Facebook yesterday, Air Vice Marshal Abidemi Marquis, who is the director of sports at the Nigerian Defence Ministry, said Harry and Meghan would visit the Wuse Light Academy – an institution they are supporting – before seeing Nigeria’s security chief.

Harry and Meghan are thought to be staying in the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja (file picture)

Harry and Meghan are thought to be staying in the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja (file picture)

Harry and Meghan are visiting Abuja in Nigeria, which is pictured in a file photo from 2022

Harry and Meghan are visiting Abuja in Nigeria, which is pictured in a file photo from 2022 

Prince Harry and Meghan, pictured in South Africa in 2019, will be visiting Nigeria this week

Prince Harry and Meghan, pictured in South Africa in 2019, will be visiting Nigeria this week

Later they will travel to Kaduna state to visit the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital where the wounded and injured soldiers are kept for their medical recovery.

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Air Vice Marshal Marquis added that the visit would aid the recovery of injured soldiers to boost their personal self-esteem and improve their mental health.

He continued: ‘Their emotional intelligence has been improved and also their families seeing them, as they used to be breadwinners who is capable of continue living.

‘So this engagement with Invictus is giving us the opportunity for the recovery for our soldiers.

‘On Saturday, we’ll be having like an exhibition of novelty match. The CDS (Chief of Defence Staff) team and the Duke’s team will be having a volleyball match at the armed forces officers’ mess in the morning.

‘And this is just to engage with the wounded and injured soldiers. It’s a sitting volleyball match coming in the morning.

Prince Harry meets well-wishers outside St Paul's Cathedral in London on Wednesday

Prince Harry meets well-wishers outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Wednesday

Prince Harry at the Invictus Games service at St Paul's Cathedral in London on Wednesday

Prince Harry at the Invictus Games service at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Wednesday

Fans take photographs as Harry shakes hands outside St Paul's Cathedral on Wednesday

Fans take photographs as Harry shakes hands outside St Paul’s Cathedral on Wednesday

‘So after that, we have a programme for them by 1pm. A reception, where they will be interacting with families of wounded and injured soldiers and families of soldiers and officers killed in action and service members generally.’

While still in London yesterday, Harry chatted and played games with bereaved military children as he made a surprise visit to a charity event.

Harry spent the afternoon with 50 children and young people, aged between six and 22, who have experienced the death of a military parent.

He took part in games – including one which saw the duke use a straw to transport Smarties as quickly as possible – and spoke to the youngsters as part of the fun-filled event hosted in London by Scotty’s Little Soldiers.

Harry also spent time talking to nine members from Scotty’s Council, a group of young people who represent the charity’s other members, who discussed their experiences of growing up without a parent.

King Charles III during a visit to Gibraltar Barracks in Minley, Hampshire, yesterday afternoon

King Charles III during a visit to Gibraltar Barracks in Minley, Hampshire, yesterday afternoon

The King meets the staff and families of the 3 Royal School of Military Engineering yesterday

The King meets the staff and families of the 3 Royal School of Military Engineering yesterday

The duke, 39, completed two tours of Afghanistan between 2007 and 2013 as a forward air controller and an Apache helicopter pilot, having flown countless training missions in the UK, US and Australia.

He said: ‘It was an honour to meet so many of the wonderful families Scotty’s Little Soldiers supports.

‘I have long believed in the mission of this charity, and I truly believe the work they do to foster community and create space for young people to connect, grieve, but also have fun together is life-changing.

‘I am a huge supporter of their work, and very proud to be their first global ambassador.’

The charity – for which the duke became a global ambassador in November – was one of seven which had been nominated by Harry and Meghan to benefit from donations marking the couple’s wedding ceremony in 2018.

Harry has been involved with the charity since 2017 and recorded a special video message in 2022 dressed as Spider-Man for its children’s Christmas party.

Prince William poses for a selfie with a fan at Fistral Beach in Newquay, Cornwall, yesterday

Prince William poses for a selfie with a fan at Fistral Beach in Newquay, Cornwall, yesterday

The Prince of Wales holds a volleyball during a visit to Fistral Beach in Newquay yesterday

The Prince of Wales holds a volleyball during a visit to Fistral Beach in Newquay yesterday

Georgia Paterson, 16, said it was ‘amazing’ to speak to the duke about the experience of losing a parent growing up.

She said: ‘Prince Harry was the best person to share that experience with because he’s been through it and understands better than anyone.

‘It was really moving to see how vulnerable he was with us, which encouraged us to open up as well.’

Georgia added: ‘It felt really connecting because when your parent served, they served for the country, and one of the most important things for the country is the royal family.

‘Speaking with someone who is part of that made me feel more connected to my Dad. It was amazing to be connected to him in that moment.’

Nikki Scott, who founded the charity in 2010 following the death of her husband during a tour in Afghanistan, said: ‘It was amazing to see all the smiles in the room when Prince Harry walked through the door.

Queen Camilla at Buckingham Palace in London yesterday to mark the 90th anniversary of Brooke, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys, and mules

Queen Camilla at Buckingham Palace in London yesterday to mark the 90th anniversary of Brooke, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys, and mules

Queen Camilla speaks to Angela Rippon at the Brooke event at Buckingham Palace yesterday

Queen Camilla speaks to Angela Rippon at the Brooke event at Buckingham Palace yesterday

‘The Duke of Sussex has supported Scotty’s for a long time, which means a lot to our members because they know he understands what it’s like to experience the death of a parent and the challenges they face.

‘It’s important to our members to maintain their connection to the military community, which Prince Harry is also passionate about.

‘Events like these are so valuable to our members because it enables them to develop friendships with others in a similar situation, as well as have lots of fun.’

Scotty’s Little Soldiers currently supports more than 670 bereaved military children and young people up to the age of 25, offering one-to-one bereavement support, guidance to parents and carers, fun activities such as holidays and group events, and learning assistance.

Harry and Meghan moved to the US in 2020 after stepping down from royal duties, and now live in a £12million mansion in Montecito, California, with their children Archie – who turned five on Monday – and Lilibet, who will be three next month.

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