UK

Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit stables in Morocco

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex Image copyright AFP

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have visited one of Morocco's most prestigious equestrian clubs on the final day of their tour of the country.

The couple visited the Royal Moroccan Equestrian Club Dar Essalam in Rabat to see how horses and ponies were used to support children with special needs.

The royals also visited a market and ate traditional food made by underprivileged children.

The three-day trip is aimed at strengthening UK links to the country.

During the visit to the club, the couple spoke to youngsters who had been helped by equine-assisted therapy.

The therapy involves people interacting with horses by, for example, grooming and feeding them.

Image copyright EPA
Image copyright EPA
Image copyright EPA

Research has suggested this can improve people's self-confidence and independence and help with mental health issues.

In Britain, the therapy has been used to help returning soldiers, domestic abuse victims and people facing mental health and social problems.

Ekram, 20, who has Down's Syndrome and began riding at the club a month ago, told the couple: "I love the connection with the horses, it already makes me feel relaxed and more confident. And I like being outside, with nature."

Meghan replied: "Wow, you're very impressive. What an accomplished lady. I imagine it's so therapeutic as well as meditative."

The couple were pictured as they stopped to stroke horses at the club stables.

Prince Harry and Meghan, who is pregnant, later joined a pony-grooming session.

Spotting one pony shaking, Prince Harry joked: "Has anyone got any carrots? She's a bit nervous, this one."

Meghan, who made her name as an actress, said: "Well, we all get a little camera shy, I understand."

The programme is funded by Morocco's King Mohammed VI, who Harry and Meghan are staying with at his royal residence.

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During their visit, the couple also ate food prepared by children from disadvantaged backgrounds with help from one of Morocco's foremost chefs, Moha Fedal.

Among the food they made were Moroccan pancakes which feature in a cookbook that Meghan was influential in getting published.

The book, called Together: Our Community Cookbook, was published after the duchess suggested the idea to a group of women who got together to cook food for those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, which killed 72 people in west London June 2017.

It became a bestseller and is helping to fund the women's Hubb Community Kitchen - named after the Arabic word for love.

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The couple arrived in Morocco on Saturday evening after a two-hour delay to their flight into Casablanca.

On Sunday, they met young women in Morocco to show support for girls' education.

They couple were welcomed to a boarding house in the village of Asni by the girls, who waved flags and sang songs.

During the visit, the duchess was given a traditional Moroccan henna tattoo, which is intended to bring luck to her first child.

The north Africa visit is the royal couple's second official tour as a married couple following a 16-day royal trip around Australia, Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand last year.

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Media captionThe Duke and Duchess of Sussex visit a girls education charity in Morocco

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