Home US ‘Catherine who?’ say selfie-hunters when they’re asked about the Princess of Wales while trying to get a glimpse of Meghan Markle in Nigeria

‘Catherine who?’ say selfie-hunters when they’re asked about the Princess of Wales while trying to get a glimpse of Meghan Markle in Nigeria

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The Duchess of Sussex with royal Ojeh, the six-year-old daughter of the chief executive of a Nigerian charity that works in partnership with Harry's Invictus Games Foundation.

On a humid outdoor basketball court on the outskirts of Nigeria’s capital, a local cameraman begs the Duchess of Sussex to look down his lens. ‘Royalty!’ he shouts she. ‘Come on, royalty! Look this way!’

Crowded with supporters, Meghan grimaces at the blatant insolence of the annoying photographer who breaks protocol.

Even though the Sussexes’ non-royal visit to Africa’s most populous nation is actually quite majestic, didn’t anyone tell you that the couple cut ties with the House of Windsor a long time ago?

The 42-year-old ignores her pleas and instead chats with a girl in a princess dress who gives him a bouquet of red roses. ‘Royalty!’ the snapper cries again. He is now little more than an arm’s length away from the Duchess.

This time the girl looks up and everything becomes clear. Because it was her, not Meghan, that he was appealing to. This is Royalty Ojeh, the six-year-old daughter of the CEO of a Nigerian charity that works in partnership with Harry’s Invictus Games Foundation. This was a day when not everything on Harry and Meghan’s roadshow was as it seemed. Take for example the welcome they received when they arrived here, an army sports complex in Abuja, for a volleyball match.

The Duchess of Sussex with royal Ojeh, the six-year-old daughter of the chief executive of a Nigerian charity that works in partnership with Harry’s Invictus Games Foundation.

Meghan pictured during lunch with the Minister of Defense in Abuja, Nigeria, on May 11.

Meghan pictured during lunch with the Minister of Defense in Abuja, Nigeria, on May 11.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle photographed at an exhibition volleyball match on May 11 in Abuja, Nigeria.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle photographed at an exhibition volleyball match on May 11 in Abuja, Nigeria.

No one screamed with excitement louder than a group of women waving signs and wearing identical black and yellow dresses.

Surveying the scene, one of Harry and Meghan’s American aides praised the “great reception” and added that the couple were having an “amazing time.”

But who exactly were the rowdy women? After all, the public was not invited to this event. Like much of the visit, it was supposed to be “private”: just the military bigwigs, dignitaries and their families.

It turned out that the selfie-seeking women were by no means typical of the general public, but instead formed the Abuja branch of the Sussex Squad, a group of superfans known for launching online attacks against those critical of the California-based couple.

For these women, Meghan is someone they can pin their hopes on, a belief reinforced by her statement that she is “43 percent Nigerian.” One of them, civil servant Lizi Ben-Iheanacho, 59, says: “She is one of us and that makes us feel very inspired.”

When asked what he thinks of Catherine, Princess of Wales, he says: ‘Catherine who?’ And he adds, laughing: “That’s what I think of her.”

Her friend, Akhigbe Tolulope, 32, has followed Meghan’s life and career since 2009. Like many in Nigeria, she was a fan of the TV drama Suits.

She says: ‘We knew about her long before she got involved with Harry. Suits were much more popular here than in England. I named my daughter after her.

In a nod to her heritage, the duchess wrote in a Nigerian Defense Headquarters guest book: “With gratitude for the support of the Invictus community and for welcoming me home.”

However, yesterday he discreetly got rid of a scarf in the green and white colors of Nigeria, which had been given to him just two minutes earlier. With temperatures exceeding 35°C, it was not a day for the woolly. In any case, she clashed dramatically with her £2,275 Johanna Ortiz striped summer dress.

The news of Meghan’s Nigerian ancestry, which she hopes to explore further during the trip, is said to have come as a “surprise” to her father, Thomas Markle, who considers his daughter “100 percent Californian.” It remains to be seen if she will meet any long-lost cousins ​​in Nigeria. One wag who watched Harry high-five his fellow competitors during yesterday’s sitting volleyball game pointed out that, if we didn’t know better, he could easily be 43 percent Californian.

When Lizi Ben-Iheanacho is asked what she thinks of Catherine, Princess of Wales (pictured), she says: 'Catherine who?' Laughing, she adds:

When Lizi Ben-Iheanacho is asked what she thinks of Catherine, Princess of Wales (pictured), she says: ‘Catherine who?’ Laughing, she adds: “That’s what I think of her.”

Her friend, Akhigbe Tolulope, 32, has followed Meghan's life and career since 2009. Like many in Nigeria, she was a fan of the TV drama Suits.

Her friend, Akhigbe Tolulope, 32, has followed Meghan’s life and career since 2009. Like many in Nigeria, she was a fan of the TV drama Suits.

The news of Meghan's Nigerian ancestry, which she hopes to explore further during the trip, was said to have been a

The news of Meghan’s Nigerian ancestry, which she hopes to explore further during the trip, is said to have come as a “surprise” to her father, Thomas Markle, who considers his daughter “100 percent Californian.”

It was a thought the King’s son did little to dispel on Friday when, while speaking about mental health at an Abuja school, he was dressed head to toe in beige and beads, and looked to all the world like the leader of one of the Golden State Emotional Healing Retreats.

Yesterday he found the 39-year-old man looking more like himself in a polo shirt and jeans. His wife applauded him, but his team, Nigeria Unconquered, was defeated 25-21 by the CDS, representing the Chief of Defense Staff, who invited the Sussexes to Nigeria.

Both teams included war wounded, some of them amputees. On the duke’s team was former Nigerian soldier Peacemaker Azuegbulam, who lost a leg in combat against Boko Haram. He became the first African to win gold at the Invictus Games last year.

The couple were then led to a side room where they changed before a lunch with Nigeria’s Chief of Defense Staff, Christopher Musa, followed by a reception that included performances by traditional drummers and dancers, as well as remarks from several officials. .

Dr Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairperson of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, shared her joy at the Duchess’ heritage.

He received applause from guests when he exclaimed: ‘Princess Meghan is Nigerian!’ And she admitted that when she first heard the news she wasn’t surprised: ‘I was excited but not surprised.

‘Because she is beautiful, intelligent, diligent and hardworking and stands firm in the midst of challenges. ‘Prince Harry, you married the best: our daughter, our friend, Princess Meghan. I hope you come back again, again and again. Princess Meghan, you married her godfather.

Although it has been called a quasi-royal tour, and although there have been reports that the couple was harassed, in many ways it has been fairly low-key. In truth, maybe that’s what the couple wants.

But then why bring in your own media entourage of favored correspondents?

Meghan poses for a photo during the sitting exhibition volleyball match on May 11.

Meghan poses for a photo during the sitting exhibition volleyball match on May 11.

Meghan pictured carrying flowers when attending sitting volleyball match

Meghan pictured carrying flowers when attending sitting volleyball match

Certainly, the Nigerian media has not exactly been effusive. News of the first day of the couple’s visit appeared on the front page of only one of the seven newspapers.

“They’re actually not very popular here, a lot of people don’t know about them,” says Kingsley Jeremiah, deputy bureau chief of The Guardian Nigeria.

‘His visit comes at a time when most Nigerians are facing economic challenges and are more concerned about getting enough food. If they were more popular, you would see many Nigerians trying to check them out.

‘The state governments and militaries hosting Meghan and Harry have been unable to pay staff salaries. Therefore, spending state resources on these types of visits is something that should really worry us.

‘The masses are really worried, inflation is rising very high, the cost of living is not what it used to be for many families. It seems that they are dignitaries who come to them, not ordinary people.

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