Harry and Meghan’s Return to Royal Playbook Paid Off

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s return to the royal playbook with their recent visit to Nigeria may be chalked up as a “big PR win” for the couple.

The duke and duchess undertook three days of events in the cities of Abuja and Lagos connected with their philanthropic interests, principally Harry’s Invictus Games veterans sports tournament.

Though the trip was a private one not made in the name of the U.K. government, Newsweek‘s chief royal correspondent, Jack Royston, told Sky News on Wednesday that it closely resembled the overseas tours they made as working members of the royal family before their 2020 split from the monarchy.

On how the couple will have viewed their visit, which received positive coverage in America and around the world, Royston told anchor Wilfred Frost: “I think their trip to Nigeria was hugely successful.”

“Its what they needed, they are a little more popular in America than they were after Harry’s book came out but its great for them, I think, to get back on a positive footing, show themselves doing good, helping charities, its really a return to the old-school royal playbook.”

The trip took much the same form as an official royal tour (though importantly without meetings with the country’s president), and Royston noted that this was a positive for the couple.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in Lagos, Nigeria, on May 12. The couple’s visit will be chalked up as a “big PR win,” says Newsweek’s chief royal correspondent, Jack Royston.

KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Images

“They weren’t representing Britain; that point has been clarified, though it probably looked a bit like they were,” he said.

“It looked very much like the kind of tours they did when they were working royals. I think that’s a good thing. Personally, I think it’s exactly what they should be doing. I actually think they should do more of these kinds of visits in America. There’s no reason why they couldn’t and just get back on the front foot, showing themselves to be helping and doing good and working in a positive way.”

Newsweek reached out to representatives of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle via email for comment.

Royston noted that whether the couple will make more international visits like the one to Nigeria depends on finding countries that are “willing to host in this way.”

“I think Nigeria probably paid for a lot of this,” he said. “There might sometimes be diplomatic sensitivities relating to how Britain feels about having Harry and Meghan on what appears on the first glance to be a royal tour, so it all comes down to those kinds of issues.”

For the couple though, the press coverage they received for the Nigeria trip will come as an important boost, even despite returning to the U.S. amidst negative headlines regarding their Archewell Foundation and the filing of an administrative payment.

“It got nowhere near as much coverage as the Oprah interview or the Netflix documentary, but it got a good hit, and I think that they will be happy with that,” Royston said.

“I think they’ll chalk this up as a big PR win. You can always say there could have been more coverage but I think that they’ll be happy with it.”

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek‘s royal reporter, based in London. You can find him on X (formerly Twitter) at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, Prince William and Princess Kate, Meghan and Harry, or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email We’d love to hear from you.