The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared how they are developing a new strength – parenting baby Archie. And Meghan declared Harry to be “the best dad”, while he called his wife “the best mum” during a group mindfulness session with surfers from Waves for Change at Monwabisi Beach, Cape Town.
The royal couple opened up as they sat in a circle with surf coaches and mentors who support children from local townships who are struggling with their mental health. During the activity, which is designed to build confidence and resilience, they laughed as they joined in with warm up dancing and clapping, then sat with eyes closed and a “power hand” held out to meditate about a strength of theirs.
WATCH: Harry and Meghan arrive at Monwabisi Beach
According to Ash Heese, training and partnerships manager for Waves for Change, when one of the coaches suggested to Meghan that her strength was dancing, “She laughed and said no she doesn’t think so but parenting is a new strength that her and Harry are learning and developing.
“She said he’s the best dad and he said she’s the best mum.”
The Duke and Duchess had planned to join the group on the stunning white sand beach, but fierce winds had whipped up a sandstorm, so they instead joined in the “kilo” welcome ceremony on a grassy slope overlooking the beach.They giggled as they took part in an energising “Hey Joe” game, involving finger clicking and chanting.
READ: In full: Meghan Markle's impassioned speech received huge cheers - read here
Ash described Harry and Meghan as “very engaging”, adding: “They were keen to engage with the coaches on their level, no sense of talking down or being patronising towards them. They seemed genuinely interested in our coaches and our coaches are the heart of our programme.”
She added: “It’s wonderful to have positive mental health champions here,” added Ash. “It helps showcase our work and showcase positive mental health development. The amount of awareness that they can bring to this amazing.”
Meghan wore a Madewell denim jacket to the beach
Waves For Change was founded after a group of surfing enthusiasts discovered how beneficial the sport was in engaging young people and helping their mental health. Daily exposure to violence and stress in parts of South Africa has left many young people suffering from acute emotional and psychological difficulties. Surfing has been found to improve feelings of belonging, trust and confidence among the youngsters taking part in the sessions.
Arriving at Waves for Change, which is based in old shipping containers, they were greeted by founding director Tim Conibear.
“How’s it going?” asked Meghan, who was dressed casually in jeans and a denim jacket with a white shirt and brown woven loafers.
MORE: Royal FIRST! Meghan Markle surprises in denim jacket at the beach in Cape Town with Prince Harry
One of the unnamed mentors - described as the ‘heart’ of the organisation - talked the couple through how they worked with children, aged 11 to 15, many of whom had no caring adults in their lives.
“It’s about consistency, isn’t it?” nodded the Duchess.
“Presumably you need to teach some of these kids how to swim before you can get them to surf?” Harry asked.
Harry and Meghan took part in a group mindfulness session
The couple also met staff from the Lunchbox Fund, which helps vulnerable children in the country get an education by providing 30,000 nutritious school meals daily to schools and Waves For Change programmes across South African townships and rural areas. The Lunchbox Fund was one of four charities chosen by Harry and Meghan to benefit from the generous donations made by the public on the the birth of their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
Meghan chatted intently about some of the meals on offer, saying: “You need this after a long day.”
The couple also talked to Dr Thomas Maes, Director of the Commonwealth Litter Programme (CLiP) about the impact of micro plastics in the ocean and looked through a microscope at some of his samples.
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