Meghan Markle hugged an Invictus Games athlete and described her as ‘my Nigerian sister’ as she helped promote the event in Germany last night.
The Duchess of Sussex took centre stage and gave an emotional address to 1,600 competitors, friends and family in Dusseldorf as she saluted all those attending the games, set up by husband Harry for wounded and disabled military veterans.
Among those she greeted beforehand was competitor Glory Essien, who she hugged and told: ‘You’re my Nigerian sister!’
It comes after husband Prince Harry revealed at the opening ceremony that his wife was cheering on the African nation as he discovered she is 43% Nigerian.
The revelation came on an episode of her Archetypes podcast after Meghan did a genealogy test ‘a couple years ago’.
Meghan penned her autograph on to the Nigeria flag as she met thrilled members of the nation’s Invictus team
Meghan greets Glory Essien, who will be competing for Nigeria at the Invictus Games
She smiled as she hugged the competitor and told her ‘You’re my Nigerian sister!’
She vowed to ‘start to dig deeper into all this’ during her discussion with comedians Issa Rae and Ziwe Fumudoh.
The party in Germany last night was the first time the Sussexes were seen together since attending at a Beyonce concert in California on September 1.
Meghan – speaking at her first Invictus Games engagement – apologised for being late and explained she was spending time with their children, Prince Archie, four, and Princess Lilibet, two, at the couple’s Montecito mansion before jetting off.
A source close to the couple said Meghan did not read from a prepared speech but spoke off the cuff.
Aides said Meghan, 42, did her own hair and make-up soon after arriving at her five star hotel in Dusseldorf and got ready for the event in just over an hour.
The event was hosted by Dave Coker of the Fisher House Foundation, one of the main sponsors of the games.
Officials from the Invictus Games Foundation were also in attendance.
The Mayor of Dusseldorf Dr Stephan Keller was at the event where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex mingled with the families.
The two-hour event featured traditional German food and the evening will feature music and entertainment.
Meghan made a cute reference to her children Archie and Lillibet during her maiden speech at the games.
Acknowledging that she had missed the opening of the days games she told the audience she had to spend time with her two young children in Los Angeles – buying them milkshakes and taking the eldest on the school run before leaving for Germany.
She also said she would one day want to bring her children to the event so they could experience it for themselves.
Meghan Markle took centre stage at a glittering party held in a Dusseldorf hotel last night
Prince Harry revealed during the opening ceremony that Meghan would be rooting for Nigeria
Meghan, who wore a black Banana Republic dress, Bottega Veneta belt and Aquazarra shoes, stood side by side with Harry, as she was cheered loudly when taking to the stage at a conference hall adjoining Dusseldorf airport.
She told the 1,600 guests: ‘It is so special to be here sorry I’m a little late to the party.
‘I had to spend a little more time getting our little ones settled at home and get them to drop off.
‘Three milkshakes and a school drop off and I just landed a couple of hours ago and I am thrilled that the first event I can do for Invictus is here with all of you. It is amazing and I hear it has got off to a good start so far.’
As the crowd cheered Harry beamed and clapped enthusiastically.
Referencing her African background on the podcast last year, Meghan told Nigerian-American comedian Ziwe: ‘I just had my genealogy done a couple years ago… [I’m] 43 per cent Nigerian.’
She added: ‘I’m going to start to dig deeper into all this because anybody that I’ve told, especially Nigerian women, are like ‘What!”
‘This is huge for our community,’ a shocked Ziwe replied.
‘No, honestly, you do look like a Nigerian, you look like my Aunt Uzo. So this is great.’
In his speech at the Games’ opening ceremony at the weekend, Harry said: ‘I’m not saying we have favourites in my home, but since my wife discovered she is of Nigerian descent, its going to be a little more competitive this year.’