May 25, 2024

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Prince Harry plays volleyball while visiting Nigeria with Meghan

Prince Harry plays volleyball while visiting Nigeria with Meghan

  • By Simi Golauso, in Abuja and Natasha Brisky
  • BBC News

Image source, Euphuma gift

Comment on the photo, Harry and Meghan were given scarves in Nigerian colors before watching a volleyball match

The second day of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's visit to Nigeria began with a game of sitting volleyball.

In Abuja, the pair spent time with Team Nigeria Unconquered, the country's Invictus Games team.

Harry and Meghan are scheduled to speak at a reception hosted by the Chief of Defense Staff of the Nigerian Army.

The Duchess will later co-host a Women in Leadership event with Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.

After arriving at the Armed Forces Officers' Hall and being presented with green and white Nigeria sashes, Harry and Meghan watched a seated volleyball match, before inviting Harry to play for the team.

The Duke participated in a few rounds of the game, which was played by “Team Harry” and “Team CDS” – a reference to the military chief of defense staff who was behind the couple's visit to Nigeria.

The other players were army veterans, most of whom were wounded in the battle against the country's Islamist insurgency.

Among the Duke's team was former Nigerian soldier peacemaker Azewegbulam, who lost his leg in the fight against Boko Haram. He became the first African to win a gold medal at the Invictus Games in Germany last year.

Image source, BBC/Kayla Hermansen

Last year, Nigeria became the first African country to participate in the Invictus Games, a sports competition for wounded military personnel and veterans, which Prince Harry co-founded in 2014.

On the first day of the mini-tour on Friday, Harry spoke of the joy the Nigerian team brought to the matches in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The charity Nigeria Unconquered, which will make the Nigerian team for next year's Invictus Games in Canada, is helping wounded, sick and injured service members “find new purpose” through sport.

On Saturday, Meghan received a bouquet of roses from six-year-old Royalty Oger, daughter of Nigeria Unconquered founder, Bobby Oger. The Duchess was touched by the gesture, and offered the royalty one of the roses to keep.

Image source, BBC/Semi Golauso

Comment on the photo, Royalty Oger, 6, presented flowers to the Duchess of Sussex

After the volleyball match, the Duke and Duchess attended a reception that included performances by drummers and traditional dancers as well as remarks from various officials.

Dr Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chair of the Nigerians in Diaspora Committee, expressed her delight at the Duchess's Nigerian heritage, telling Meghan that she was too beautiful to be Nigerian.

She presented Meghan and Harry with an outfit made of aso oke, a hand-woven fabric from southwestern Nigeria.

In a letter, Harry shared a story from his trip to the military rehabilitation center in Kaduna on Friday, where he met 50 injured service members who were in hospital.

He added: “They knew that their lives were not defined by the injuries of their past – that is what Invictus is about and that is what your new position will be about.”

The audience was shown a video of a 3D rendering of the “state-of-the-art” Invictus Center that the Invictus Center authorities hope to build in Abuja soon.

Image source, BBC/Kayla Hermansen

Comment on the photo, Prince Harry addresses the military at a private reception

Before arriving in Nigeria, Prince Harry visited London as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Invictus Games, and attended a mass of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral.

Meanwhile, the king, who is still being treated for cancer, met members of the public at a ceremony in the gardens of Buckingham Palace just over two miles away.

A spokesman for the Duke confirmed that he would not be seeing his father during his time in the UK due to the King's “full programme”, but he “hopes to see him soon”.

Harry last visited the UK in February to visit the King shortly after he was diagnosed with cancer.