Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Return Home to U.S. Following First Official Tour Post-Royal Life

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are back home after three nonstop days in Nigeria

Published Time: 15.05.2024 - 13:31:14 Modified Time: 15.05.2024 - 13:31:14

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are back home after three nonstop days in Nigeria.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex landed in Los Angeles on May 14 following their visit to the West African country at the invitation of the Chief of Defense Staff, Nigeria's highest-ranking military official on May 10-12.

Meghan, 42, and Harry, 39, were spotted arriving at Los Angeles International Airport and leaving a private suite there before heading home in a white SUV.

Their return to L.A. came amid their organization, The Archewell Foundation, being declared delinquent by the California Registry of Charities and Foundations. A spokesperson for the foundation later refuted this claim as they told PEOPLE in a statement the foundation remains "in good standing."

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's trip to Nigeria was significant as it was their first international tour since stepping back from their royal roles in 2020 and relocating to Meghan's home state of California.

PEOPLE's chief foreign correspondent Simon Perry exclusively joined the trip to Nigeria, covering the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's 11 outings during Harry and Meghan's first time in the country.

Harry and Meghan hit the ground running when they arrived on May 10, extending Harry's travels abroad following a solo stay in the U.K. for a Service of Thanksgiving commemorating 10 years of the Invictus Games. He did not see King Charles or Prince William during his time in London, though PEOPLE understands that invitations were extended to the Invictus service on May 8.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex began their trip in Abuja at Lightway Academy school, where they revealed that their Archewell Foundation is expanding its partnership with the GEANCO Foundation to include mental health resources and training for young people.

Harry and Meghan then visited the Chief of Defense staff headquarters, where they paid homage to their host country through fashion. The couple dressed in the colors of the green and white Nigerian flag, calling to the royal family's informal practice of paying homage to countries they are visiting by dressing in national colors.

The Duke of Sussex continued solo to Kahuna, where he met the governor and spent time at the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital Kaduna. While at the hospital, Harry toured the wards and met young men recovering from various injuries, including gunshot wounds, ambushes by Boko Haram and limb loss due to blasts.

Harry's warm nature was on display at the patient's bedsides, where he took one young man's hand in a gesture reminiscent of his late mother, Princess Diana.

"Are you going to try for the Invictus Games team? Are you preparing for that?" the Duke asked 23-year-old Corp Yusef amid his rehabilitation after being shot through the knee. "Don't disappoint us or him! We'll see you there," he said, referring to his friend David Wiseman, who is overseeing the international expansion of the Invictus Games.

Nigeria participated in the Invictus Games for the first time at the latest cycle of the competition in September 2023, and it was previously announced that the itinerary for Harry and Meghan's Nigeria trip would highlight the international adaptive sports tournament Harry founded as a vehicle for healing for wounded, injured and sick service personnel in 2014.

The couple kicked off the second day of thei -

r stay on May 11 at Nigeria: Unconquered, a national charity working in collaboration with the Invictus Games Foundation. The stop focused on sports recovery, and Harry hit the court for a sitting volleyball match.

Desola Akanbi, 47, told PEOPLE her 9-year-old daughter was especially excited to connect with Meghan.

"She’s always wanted to meet her. She said last night, ‘When am I going to meet ‘Auntie Meghan?’ " she said. 

The Duchess of Sussex revealed on her podcast Archetypes that she learned she is 43% Nigerian after having her genealogy done, and received an especially warm welcome at their next stop.

“Princess Meghan is a Nigerian!" Abike Dabiri Erewa, chairman of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, said at the reception for military families and the widow association at the Defense Headquarters Officers Mess in Abuja.

The Duchess of Sussex stepped out for her own solo event later in the day,  joining Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, to co-host a panel discussion focused on Women in Leadership.

Meghan spoke with joy about discovering her Nigerian heritage a few years ago, revealing that the first thing that she did was "call my mom Doria Ragland, because I wanted to know if she had any awareness of it."

"Being African-American, part of it is really not knowing so much about your lineage or background, where you come from specifically. And it was exciting for both of us to discover more and understand what that really means," Meghan said on stage, where she proudly called Nigeria "my country."

Elsewhere in the wide-ranging conversation on heritage, motherhood, career building and more, the Duchess of Sussex said she loved "being a mom" to Prince Archie, 5, and Princess Lilibet, 2, calling her kids "very chatty" and sweet.

On May 12, Meghan and Harry received a festive welcome at the airport in Lagos on their third official day away. The Duchess of Sussex stylishly arrived in a blue traditional Nigerian skirt gifted to her during their visit to Abuja, after joking at the women's leadership panel that she needed to "wear more color, so I can fit in with all of you and your incredible fashion!"

The couple then headed to Ilupeju Senior Grammar School for a basketball clinic with the charity Giants of Africa, where Meghan received Mother's Day wishes on the holiday in the U.S. and Harry showed off his skills on the court.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wrapped up the trip at a reception at the State Governor House in Lagos and a polo fundraiser for Nigeria: Unconquered.

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Ending their journey in Lagos held special significance as it mirrored a trip by Prince Harry's parents, King Charles and Princess Diana, on an official state visit in 1990.

"For Prince Harry, this trip to the country has been very interesting and informative,"  the governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said at the final reception. "He has seen a lot and is still soaking in a great deal. One of the things we hope he will take away is the diversity and the extent of how vast our country is, and how we continue to ensure that we live together in peace and harmony."

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