Meghan and Harry spent their day visiting the county that features in their royal titles, to see some of the region’s most well-known sites on a whistle-stop tour to Chichester, Bognor, Brighton and Peacehaven.
Harry was granted the title of Duke of Sussex as a gift from the Queen on his wedding day. The title was conferred for the first time on 24 November 1801 upon Prince Augustus Frederick, the sixth son of King George III and Queen Charlotte. The title became extinct upon Prince Augustus Frederick’s death in 1843. Meghan is the first ever Duchess of Sussex
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“Susan Pyper, the Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, commented on the Royal couple’s visit to the Chichester Observer, saying: “We are so honoured to have the Duke and Duchess visiting our historic county and I know West Sussex residents are as excited as I am to welcome them here.
“I hope they enjoy exploring some of the rich history of Chichester, including viewing the very special Sussex Declaration, before opening the university’s fantastic Technology Park in Bognor Regis.”
Peter Field, Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex, also welcomed the couple’s visit, telling the Brighton and Hove Independent: “Ever since their wedding day, the people of Sussex have been eagerly awaiting news of when the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex will visit the two counties and it was a great pleasure for me when I heard that they were coming and I was asked to help organize the visit.
“There is no doubt that since Her Majesty the Queen gave them the title of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their wedding day, at a ceremony watched by over two billion people worldwide, that most people in the world are now aware of the beautiful counties of East and West Sussex and how beautiful they are.”
Pointing to the financial benefits of their visit, he added: “I am aware that visitor numbers have already increased, and I know that many businesses are now taking advantage of the additional publicity.
“In times of economic restraint, we all need something to cheer us up and the visit this week is no exception.””
Meghan and Harry started their day with a visit to Edes House in Chichester, West Sussex, to see see the rare Sussex copy of the American Declaration of Independence.
Before the engagement Harry and Meghan spent half an hour walking up and down West Street shaking hands and speaking to well-wishers.
After shaking hands with three-year-old Matilda Lawrence who was so excited to meet him, Harry gestured to tired one-year-old Renzo Callander and said: ‘You need to cheer him up!’
Meghan was greeted with hugs
Matilda’s mother Natalie Lawrence later said about Harry and Meghan: ‘He was so lovely and seemed so happy. Megan is amazing and so good for the royal family.’ With her friend Corinne Aldous adding: ‘This is the first time they’ve visited Sussex and we’re so lucky they came to Chichester. Meghan is great, she’s really a great role model for young girls to look up to.’
A nice video from the walkabout.
Meghan and Harry then made their way down West Street to Edes House. They were warmly welcomed by High Sheriff of West Sussex, Caroline Nicholls, chairman of the local county council, Lionel Barnard, and Elizabeth Hamilton chairman of the district council.
Edes House was built in 1696 and are mainly used for weddings and civic functions. The West Sussex archivist Wendy Walker was very proud to show them the rare Sussex copy of the American Declaration of Independence.
The declaration was delivered to Sussex in 1956 by solicitor Leslie Holden who worked for a local firm and collected many local historical documents throughout the years. It is one of only two contemporary handwritten ceremonial manuscript copies, the other being the signed copy housed in the National Archives in Washington D.C. It is stored in the local records office but displayed especially for Meghan and Harry’s visit.
Daily Mail reports:
“When handed a copy of the Sussex Declaration which has been specially prepared for her, the Duchess said: ‘Oh my goodness, that’s great, thank you so much, that’s really special, thank you’.”
Meghan and Harry both signed the visitors’ book
Meghan and Harry continued their journey to Bognor Regis to officially open the University of Chichester’s Engineering and Digital Technology Park.
While there, Meghan and Harry stopped to watch an experiment in one of the laboratories
And listened to the students play a piece from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons while technology students filmed and recorded the performance.
A video from the visit:
And from there, Meghan and Harry moved on to East Sussex to tour Brighton’s historic Royal Pavilion. A big crowd was waiting to see the royal couple
Among the crowd was children from Queen’s Park Primary School and Meghan and Harry spent some time speaking with them about their hopes and dreams, as well as giving them high fives.
Nine-year-old Adam Adnajjad, said“I spoke and touched both and I’m not going to wash my hands! They said how old are you and when I’m grown up what do I want to do, and what subjects I’m best at. It was so cool!”
Sonny Jackson said : “They are really rich, and they are also very nice.”
Meghan and Harry then made their way into the Royal Pavilion for around 15 minutes where they saw a newly restored saloon room.
Built in 1781, the Royal Pavilion, also known as the Brighton Pavilion, is a former royal residence in Brighton. The building includes three stages as a seaside retreat for George, Prince of Wales, who became the Prince Regent in 1811, and King George IV in 1820.
A video from the visit:
Meghan and Harry continued the day visiting Survivors’ Network, a charity which supports survivors of sexual violence and abuse.
Jay Breslaw, the Director of the charity said that Harry and Meghan’s visit had created “a mood of real jubilation in the office.” Adding that Harry and Meghan’s 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 and funds are being cut.”
Established in 1990 the charity’s they aim to “reduce sexual violence and its impact on survivors’ lives,” and that “there is no fixed time for recovery.”
A video from the visit:
During their stay Meghan was presented with a unique, framed drawing of her rescue dog with an astute commentary on gender equality.
Jay Breslaw commented on the gift, saying: “We had a local artist do an intersectional feminist print of your dog.” Meghan responded gladly, saying: “How lovely. Look at the little freckles on his face!”
They also received badges from the artist, Henry James Garrett, which read: “You have a superpower and it’s called empathy.” Meghan responded enthusiastically, saying: “I love that! This is really special, thank you.”
For their final engagement of the day, Meghan and Harry paid a visit to Joff youth centre in Peacehaven. They were welcomed by Staff and youngsters to have a chat about mental health.
Meghan and Harry were welcomed to the center by local youth cabinet representatives 16-year-old Libby Russell and 15-year-old Indya-Jayne Wardle. Indya told them: “We work with people with mental health issues. We want young people to be as involved as possible and feel empowered to make a change and get the support they need.”
Meghan responded: “That’s excellent!” She called the girls very eloquent. While Prince Harry said: “There’s so much I want to say to you guys!”
Harry then went to speak to members of the children in care council about their experiences with mental health.
15-year-old Fatma Bacha later said: “It’s important for someone in his status and of his age to understand the situation children are going through, 20 years ago this wasn’t spoken about.”
17-year-old Leah Goodman added: “He was so down to earth, so lovely. It’s okay to have mental health issues. Everyone under the age of 18 will have a problem but children in care may not have the confidence to say, ‘I need support’.”
Meanwhile Meghan sat with a workshop of children who are part of the youth cabinet and chatted about the Takeover Challenge Day, taking place on November 23.
15-year-old Chloe Ayres revealed: “It was scary at first but she’s really easy to talk to. I really wanted to ask her where her outfit was from.”
During their conversations about mental health, Meghan spoke about the importance of opening up. “There’s no right or wrong answer” – while Harry introduced himself as “My name is Harry. I have two dogs and a lovely American wife”!
A video from the visit:
Our Duchess of Sussex stepped out on her first official visit to Sussex looking the epitome of chic. I’ve always loved the way Meghan puts her natural fashionable spin on royal protocol, with today’s look being the perfect example.
Meghan skirt is by Hugo Boss, and I love the bottle green shade, which makes a refreshing change from traditional black.
Meghan then upped the chic ante even more by adding the Emporio Armani Cashmere Double Cloth Coat with Classic Lapels.
And a dark green Straight Fit Silk Shirt from & Other Stories.
She wore her Stuart Weitzman pumps
And carried a Gabriela Hearst Demi Satin Tote and is described as a “A structured top handle with a distinctive round pouch that gently unfolds from a turnlock closure, the Demi is crafted from Italian Satin.”
She accessorized her outfit with an Adina Reyter Pavé Teardrop Necklace.
She wore her Catbird stacking rings and a new Missoma Manta Open Heart Signet Ring.