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AFP
February 25, 2019

Harry, Meghan meet Moroccan girls

World

AFP
February 25, 2019

Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan on Sunday met with Moroccan schoolgirls at the foothills of the High Atlas mountains, during their last official foreign tour before becoming parents.

Clutching British and Moroccan flags, the teenagers lined up to meet the royal couple during their visit to the town of Asni south of the tourist hub Marrakesh. The British royals’ tour was set to focus on initiatives promoting girls’ education, women’s empowerment and the inclusion of people with disabilities.

A heavily pregnant Meghan, with henna on one hand, accepted flowers from one of the girls in Asni while she and Harry chatted outside to a group from the programme Education For All Morocco.

The organisation runs free boarding houses to give girls aged 12 to 18 from the High Atlas region access to education, working with 185 teenagers in 2017. "Wow, that’s impressive!" Meghan told a girl who has ambitions to study astronomy, an exchange filmed in a dorm room and posted on Twitter by Kensington Palace.

The couple also visited a classroom where pupils were practising their English, according to the royals’ social media account. A quarter of Moroccans aged 15 to 24 are out of work and not in training or education, according to official data for 2016, a figure which rises to 44 percent for girls and young women.

Asni is close to the mountainous area where two Scandinavian women were murdered in December and some British media have raised fears over safety during the royal tour. But local diplomatic sources have dismissed concerns about security in Morocco, where on Thursday police dispersed protesting teachers with water cannon in the capital Rabat.

"Medical provisions" have been made for Meghan, who is due to give birth in the spring, according to official sources. The royal visit was described by Britain’s ambassador to Rabat, Thomas Reilly, as an "important opportunity to promote the strong relationship between the British and Moroccan people". London is aiming to replicate Rabat’s trade deal with the European Union once Britain leaves the bloc, the diplomat added.

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