The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle hugged a Nigerian Invictus Games athlete, Glory Essien, and described her as ‘my Nigerian sister’ in Germany on Tuesday.
Meghan Markle met Essien at the 2023 Invictus Games in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she also reunited with her husband, Prince Harry, after some months of living apart.
The Duchess took centre stage and gave an emotional address to 1,600 competitors, friends, and family at the event as she saluted all those attending the games, set up by her husband, Prince Harry for wounded and disabled military veterans.
This came after Prince Harry had revealed at the opening ceremony that his wife was cheering on the African nation as he discovered she is ‘43% Nigerian’.
The revelation, however, first came on an episode of her Archetypes podcast after Meghan did a genealogy test a couple years ago.
Nigeria joined Colombia and Israel in sending their first-ever delegation to the 2023 games for injured, sick, and wounded veterans.
The games were founded by Harry in 2014 and have become one of his main working focus points since leaving the royal family in 2020.
The prince’s reference to his wife’s newfound link with Nigeria was met with applause and an excited reaction from the crowd, including the Nigerian delegation.
“We’re really excited to have new nations join us. Let’s hear it for Colombia, Israel, and Nigeria,” Harry told the thousands gathered for the event.
“Now, I’m not saying we play favorites in our home, but since my wife discovered she is of Nigerian descent, it’s likely to get a little bit more competitive this year!”
The 42-year-old Markle has not publicly visited Nigeria during her married life, though she has said how important Africa is to her.
She has many times openly discussed her race and how she has viewed herself in the years since marrying into the royal family in 2018.
In an episode of Archetypes with pop star Mariah Carey, Meghan discussed how society views mixed-race women, saying that she never truly knew the extent of Black women’s experience until her relationship with Prince Harry became public.
“I think for us it’s very different because we’re light-skinned. You’re not treated as a Black woman. You’re not treated as a white woman. You sort of fit in between.
“I mean, if there’s any time in my life that it’s been more focused on my race, it’s only once I started dating my husband. Then I started to understand what it was like to be treated like a Black woman.
“Because up until then, I had been treated like a mixed woman. And things really shifted,” she told Carey.
Since leaving the royal family, both she and Harry have made part of their philanthropic outreach focused on supporting women of color.