Inside Duchess Meghan’s emotional final solo engagement as a senior royal

Before flying ‘home’ to Canada, Meghan held her final engagement at Buckingham Palace.
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On Monday, March 9 The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped out at Westminster Abbey for what would be their final engagement as senior members of the Royal Family.

While the couple put on a brave face for the special Commonwealth Day service, just hours before the couple had bid an emotional farewell to their tight-knit team of staff following a private engagement with young Association of Commonwealth Universities’ scholars at Buckingham Palace.

Sharing snippets from the private event on the Sussex Royal official Instagram on Thursday, Meghan, in her role as patron of the ACU can be seen speaking to the young scholars from across the Commonwealth who are studying and researching areas in sustainability, health and economic growth.

There to document the private engagement Harper’s Bazaar’s royal correspondent Omid Scobie writes the duchess was eager to hear more about how the students’ studies will contribute to many of the challenges our world faces today.

It’s clear she’s already done her research ahead of the engagement, Omid muses, having taken the time to learn about each scholar and the incredible research each one of them is working on.

“I think it’s so important to actually engage with people,” Meghan shared.

“I care about these things.”

Meghan’s eyes “light up” when the subject of sustainable travel gets brought up during a chat with a PhD student from Kenya, Omid observes.

“That’s something my husband is incredibly passionate about,” Meghan says.

Last year Prince Harry launched Travalyst, a sustainable travel initiative in collaboration with some big travel industry players such as, VISA and Skyscanner.

“During our travels in Botswana and different parts of Africa, we’ve seen the link between tourism and how much money is going outside of the country instead of back to the communities,” Meghan explains.

“There has to be a symbiotic relationship.”

Duchess Meghan with young Association of Commonwealth Universities scholars on Monday. (Image: Chris Allerton/ Getty)

Speaking to Omid about the duchess, Secretary General of the ACU Joanna Newman says fondly, “She has been a fantastic amplifier of the ACU messages to much broader audiences for us,” adding she is an incredible spokesperson and that her patronage has helped ACU gain invaluable exposure.

Despite the fact the Meghan will still retain her four patronages when she formally steps back at the end of this month, as Omid shares, the event was still an extremely emotional one for the duchess – her final engagement as a senior royal – a role she has been incredibly committed to.

According to Omid it was as the engagement wrapped up that the reality and emotions finally set in, as Harry slipped into the room to say hello before the couple made their way to Westminster Abbey and then Meghan to the airport to fly ‘home’ to Canada and 10-month-old Archie.

“Tears that the duchess had been bravely holding back are free to flow among familiar faces,” Omid writes.

“As she embraces some of the loyal staff she will most likely not see again.”

While the couple put on brave faces in public, it was an incredibly emotional time for the royal couple behind-the-scenes. (Image: Getty)

As confirmed by Hello! earlier this week, the couple held a farewell lunch for their tight-knit team at The Goring Hotel last week, many of whom will be losing their jobs with the Sussexes’ departure.

But as a close source told The Sun last week, the royal couple is deeply aware of the impact their decision has had on their team and as Harry has said himself, it was after “many months of talks after so many years of challenges” that he made the difficult decision to step back.

“I know I haven’t always gotten it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option.”

While Harry and Meghan’s lives as senior royals draw to a close, their dedication and passion to the work they did as royals have not wavered.

As Harry said in a heartfelt speech at a private fundraiser for his charity Sentabale, “I will continue to be the same man who holds his country dear and dedicates his life to supporting the causes, charities and military communities that are so important to me.

“Together, you have given me an education about living. And this role has taught me more about what is right and just than I could have ever imagined. We are taking a leap of faith – thank you for giving me the courage to take this next step.”

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