IN Nyanga, the murder capital of Cape Town, Meghan and Harry brought hope, smiles and dancing to local young women fighting for a better life.

I was there covering the couple's visit to southern Africa, which would become their last official royal last tour.

Just over three months later, dictionaries would add a new word: Megxit.

In September 2019, the world was talking about the work of The Justice Desk, which helped young women in the shanty town just a few kilometres from Cape Town's international airport.

An Uber driver was scared to take me to the town, saying that other drivers had been hijacked there.

A week before the royals arrived three children, aged between 10 and 12, were shot dead because they had witnessed a murder.

The security threat was so high that details of the royal visit were kept secret until a few minutes beforehand.

 

 

The difference between then and now is that the world was talking about the lives and difficulties faced by those young women - today it is all consumed by the challenges of Meghan and Prince Harry.

The couple say the royal family was racist - with a senior figure asking "how dark" their children would be - and that Meghan's written pleas for mental health support were ignored.

And they say they can get their messages out through social media, and their paid deals with Netflix and Spotify, instead of the royal family's traditional relationship with the Press.

A lot has been made about Meghan's influence on Prince Harry, with the duke admitting he would not have known how to find a way out of official royal duties without her.

But during the emotional interview, one of the few times that Prince Harry lit up was when he was talking about taking his son for a bike ride in California.

That type of freedom would not be on offer in the streets outside Kensington Palace, or on the Long Walk in Windsor near his former home at Frogmore Cottage.

Prince Harry is the current "spare" to the throne, always at risk of being a square peg in a round hole.

He follows in the footsteps of Prince Andrew, who was forced to retire from royal duties because of his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, and Princess Margaret, who friends said wasn't addicted to alcohol, "she just got very used to it."

If that history is anything to go by, Prince Harry made the right call.

Originally published as Prince Harry made the right call