Home News Prince Harry to students: ‘It’s okay to have bad day’

Prince Harry to students: ‘It’s okay to have bad day’

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It was a fun-filled day for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle yesterday as the couple freely interacted and chatted with students, soldiers and government officials at the start of a 72-hour visit to Nigeria.

They pumped hands, patted backs, danced, posed for selfies and were cheered by fans, who were eager to give them a first-hand experience of Nigerian hospitality.

The couple’s British Airways plane touched down in Abuja just before 5 am following a slight delay caused by the scheduled pilot unexpectedly falling sick and replacement scrambled.

Five hours after their arrival, the royal couple visited the Wuse Lightway Academy where they spoke about mental health at the school supported by their Archewell Foundation.

The Prince in particular evoked memories of his suffering in the aftermath of his mother Princess Diana’s death, saying: “In some cases around the world, in more than you would believe, there is a stigma when it comes to mental health.

“Too many people don’t want to talk about it, because it’s invisible – something in your mind that you can’t see. It’s not like a broken leg, it’s not like a broken wrist; it’s something we are still relatively unsure of.

“But guess what? Every single person in this room – the youngest, the oldest – every single person has mental health. So therefore you have to look after yourselves to be able to look after other people and other people have to be able to look after themselves to be able to look after you. That’s the way it works.

“And there is no shame to be able to acknowledge that today is a bad day, OK? That you woke up this morning feeling sad; that you were at school, feeling stressed; that you’ve lost a loved one in your family and you don’t know who to turn to or who to speak to. All of these things you may even be led to believe are not for conversation.

“We are here today to tell you that that is not the case. Every single one of those things is completely normal, it is a human reaction, whether it’s grief, stress, whatever the feeling is. It comes from an experience that you have had – you can have it, she (Meghan) can have it, I can have it. They can have it. Every single one of us is likely to have it on any given day.

“So if you take anything away from today, just know that mental health affects every single person”.

Also speaking, Meghan Markle said: “As I look around this room, I see myself in all of you as well. So it is a complete honour to have our first visit to Nigeria, and be here with all of you.

“We believe in all of you, we believe in your futures, we believe in your ability to continue telling your stories and to just be honest with each other. There is no need to suffer in silence. Just make sure that you’re taking care of yourselves (and) your mental health.

“So thank you to all of you. Thank you to these teams, to our executive director of the Archewell Foundation, whose birthday is today”.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex thereafter visited the Defence Headquarters in Abuja where they were received by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa.

Also on hand to welcome them were wives of military officers led by the President, Defence and Police Officers Wives Association, Mrs Oghogho Musa and top officers of the Nigerian military.

The visitors went into closed-door meeting with the defence chief, at the end of which they declined to speak with newsmen.

They later left for Kaduna to comfort Nigerian troops who were wounded across various theatres of operations and currently receiving treatment at the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital.

Prince Harry, who was welcomed at the Kashim Ibrahim House, by the Kaduna State Governor, Uba Sani, said his visit was to boost the morale of the wounded soldiers.

He said reports he earlier received from CDS Musa indicated that the Invictus Games, an initiative of the Prince, has brought joy to injured troops from Nigeria.

He said participating in the Invictus Games had a positive impact on the morale of wounded troops, restoring smiles to their faces.

In his remarks, Governor Uba Sani expressed gratitude to Prince Harry for the visit, recognising it as a testament to his dedication to inspiring recovery, aiding rehabilitation, and honouring the courageous troops.

“Your visit reminds us of another happy event 68 years ago, when Queen Elizabeth II, your grandmother, was welcomed to Kaduna on 2nd February 1956, by our revered leader, the Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello (of blessed memory)”, the governor said.

The governor described his guest as “a symbol of courage, perseverance, compassion, and the oneness of humanity”.

The Invictus Games, according to Wikipedia, is an international multi-sport event first held in 2014 for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, both serving and veterans.

The word ‘Invictus’ is Latin for ‘unconquered’, chosen as an embodiment of the fighting spirit of the wounded, injured and sick service personnel and what they can achieve post-injury.

The Invictus Games were founded by Prince Harry, the Ministry of Defense, and with the assistance of Sir Keith Mills. The inspiration came from Prince Harry’s 2013 visit to the Warrior Games in the United States, where he witnessed the ability of sport to help both psychologically and physically.[1]

The Games were launched on 6 March 2014 by Prince Harry at London’s Copper Box arena, used as a venue during the 2012 Olympics.

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