Archie and Lilibet's life away from the spotlight: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle share rare details about children

Harry and Meghan hold hands as they arrive at school in Nigeria
A sweet moment captured between the couple (Getty)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex charmed on their three-day trip to Nigeria, which largely focused on Prince Harry's Invictus Games.

Harry and Meghan travelled to the west African country without their children, Prince Archie, five, and Princess Lilibet, two, but the youngsters were never far from their parents' mind.

On the first day of their mini tour, the Sussexes visited the Lightway Academy in Abuja, a school supported by Harry and Meghan's Archewell Foundation where they met a group of kindergarteners who danced and sang songs for them.

Harry asked them: "Is singing and dancing your favourite class?"

"That's Lili's favorite class," Meghan said of their daughter, who turns three on 4 June. "Maybe it's all the jumping around."

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The Duke and Duchess were then taken to a STEM class where a group of youngsters showed the robot cars they'd created, with one proudly saying his was called M-Bot.

As Harry asked the class whether they enjoyed electronics, Meghan revealed that their son Archie liked construction.

Lilibet calls Meghan "Mama"

At the school, Harry and Meghan spoke about the importance of opening up about your mental health.

The Duchess told the class: "We all have our story. And there's no shame in any single one of your stories. Even on the hardest days or darkest days, everything is a pillar of your strength by each of you being there.  Your teachers see that in you. And we see that in you."

Meghan Markle holding daughter Lilibet during her first birthday party
Meghan on Lilibet's first birthday (Twitter/Misan Harriman)

She added: "And interestingly, so our daughter, Lili, she's much, much tinier than you guys. She's about to turn three. And a few weeks ago she looked at me and she would just see the reflection in my eyes. And she said 'Mama, I see me in you'. Oh, now she was talking really, literally. But I hung onto those words in a very different way. And I thought, yes, I do see me and you, and you see me and you, but as I look around this room, I see myself in all of you as well."

Meghan "loves being a mum"

As the Duchess co-hosted an event of Women in Leadership with Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organization on the second day of the trip, talk soon turned to juggling parenthood with work.

Meghan said: "I love being a mum, I love being a mum."

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex speaks at a Women in Leadership event co-hosted with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on May 11, 2024 in Abuja, Nigeria. (Photo by Andrew Esiebo/Getty Images for The Archewell Foundation)
Meghan described her children as "chatty" (Getty)

As she recalled having breakfast with her mentor, Bonnie Hammer, when she was starring in US legal drama, Suits, the Duchess: "And I asked her that exact question. I said, 'How do you find the balance?' And she said, 'You don't, you'll never find the balance.'"

meghan markle prince archie princess lilibet montecito home
Harry and Meghan's children, Archie and Lilibet, remained in Montecito, California (Instagram)

She continued: "And this was before I was married, before I had children, before all the things in my life have certainly had a plot twist. And it struck me and it stayed with me for a long time because you say, 'Well how can you be so successful? And she's a mother as well and she's married and say that you'll never find the balance? What does life feel like if it's imbalanced?'

"What I think that to mean now is that that balance will always change for you. That balance, what seems balanced ten years ago is going to shift. And so being a mum has always been a dream of mine. And I'm so fortunate that we have two beautiful, healthy, very chatty sweet children."

Missing the children on Mother's Day

Meghan spent Mother's Day apart from her children, which fell on the final day of their trip on Sunday 12 May in the US.

As Harry and Meghan attended a reception at the State Governor House in Lagos, the Duchess told guests: "I am very, very grateful, I am very humbled, and today is Mother's Day.

Britain's Meghan (L), Duchess of Sussex, and Britain's Prince Harry (R), Duke of Sussex arrive at the State Governor House in Lagos on May 12
Meghan spoke about missing her children on Mother's Day (Getty)

In a TikTok video shared by Arochukwu Network, Meghan added: "So it feels appropriate, but though of course, we are missing our children, I'm missing my babies, but it feels very appropriate to be in the motherland and amongst family. So thank you so much for the kindness and for these beautiful names. I'm very grateful and we can't wait to come back." 

Watch the moment below...

And in a sweet tribute to her kids, Meghan also wore a beautiful yellow Carolina Herrera dress, which she first donned for Archie's first birthday party and then for her pregnancy announcement with Lilibet.