Prince Harry Visits Nigeria, Promotes Mental Health and Invictus Games

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visited Nigeria to promote mental health charities and support wounded veterans through the Invictus Games. The royal couple attended a mental health summit, met with wounded soldiers, and participated in other events during their 72-hour tour.

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Prince Harry Visits Nigeria, Promotes Mental Health and Invictus Games

Prince Harry Visits Nigeria, Promotes Mental Health and Invictus Games

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, arrived in Nigeria on Friday for a 72-hour tour to promote mental health charities and meet with armed forces. Accompanied by his wife Meghan Markle, the visit marks the couple's first time in Africa's most populous nation, prompted by links forged through the Invictus Games, an international sporting event founded by Prince Harry in 2014 for military personnel wounded in action.

The royal couple kicked off their visit at the Lightway Academy in Abuja, where they participated in a mental health summit. Prince Harry encouraged the students to prioritize their mental well-being, saying, "If you take anything away from today, just know that mental health affects every single person... The more you talk about it, the more you can kick stigma away." Meghan Markle joined her husband on stage, telling the children, "I see myself in all of you," to applause.

Why this matters: The royal couple's visit to Nigeria highlights the importance of mental health awareness and support for wounded veterans, which has far-reaching implications for global efforts to promote well-being and rehabilitation. Moreover, the Invictus Games' expansion to Nigeria and other African countries could foster greater international cooperation and collaboration in addressing the challenges faced by military personnel and veterans.

Later, Prince Harry traveled to a military hospital in Kaduna, where he met with wounded soldiers. The Chief of Defence Staff, Christopher Musa, briefed the couple on the challenges faced by the armed forces, including armed criminal gangs and jihadists. Prince Harry revealed that Nigeria has expressed interest in hosting the 2029 Invictus Games.

The Duke of Sussex founded the Invictus Games in 2014 to aid the rehabilitation of wounded and sick servicemembers and veterans through sports. Nigeria made its debut at the latest cycle of the games in Düsseldorf, Germany, in September 2023. Last year, former Nigerian soldier Peacemaker Azuegbulam became the first African to win a gold medal at the games.

Prince Harry's visit to Nigeria follows a short stay in the UK, where he marked the 10th anniversary of the Invictus Games. He invited King Charles, Prince William, and Kate Middleton to the event at St Paul's Cathedral, but they did not attend. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's agenda in Nigeria highlights the Invictus Games and Meghan's Nigerian heritage, which she discovered through a genealogy test in 2022.

During their three-day visit, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will attend a reception hosted by the British High Commissioner in Abuja, visit a military rehabilitation center, meet with local organizations supporting veterans' welfare, and participate in a sitting volleyball game with wounded veterans. Meghan is also scheduled to co-host a women's leadership event with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the director-general of the World Trade Organization.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle'svisitto Nigeria serves as a powerful reminder of the transformative impact of empathy and compassion. Their advocacy for mental health awareness and support for wounded veterans through the Invictus Games continues to inspire individuals worldwide to prioritize their well-being and uplift one another in times of need. As Nigeria grapples with ongoing security challenges, the royal couple's presence brings hope and shines a light on the resilience and strength of the Nigerian people.