South African officials have been informed that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are coming for a visit - report
- Preparations are reportedly being made for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's long stay in Africa, which could start with a trip to South Africa later this year, according to the Daily Mail.
- South African officials "have been informed that the duke and duchess are coming," an unnamed source told the publication.
- Several royal experts are saying it's likely the couple will relocate for a working sabbatical.
- Although there has been no official announcement from the palace, royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said that it's likely arrangements have already been made due to "tight security" measures.
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's reported trip to Africa could be happening sooner than expected.
Reports that a new "bespoke role" on the continent is being created for the couple have been circulating since April, and it now appears the royals are already making travel plans.
Daily Mail columnist Richard Eden said that "officials in South Africa have been told to expect a visit by Prince Harry, Meghan and baby Archie later this year" in preparation for a longer working sabbatical on the continent.
"People have been informed that the Duke and Duchess will be coming," an unnamed source told Eden. "Early preparations have begun."
Eden added: "The trip is being seen as a possible prelude to a much longer stay in Africa, of several months, next year."
Most royal visits and official engagements are announced by the palace in advance, but Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the reports to INSIDER.
Nonetheless, royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told INSIDER that early preparations for the trip could very well be underway.
"Obviously before any visit takes place there would have to be extensive preparations and tight security," said Fitzwilliams, former editor of "The International Who's Who."
He went on: "We do expect Harry and Meghan to travel to Africa with baby Archie at some point in the next few months."
If the rumours are true, Archie could be the youngest royal baby to travel internationally - and the first one ever to be raised outside of the UK.
"William travelled first when he was nine months old, and George when he was eight [months old], so the precedents are there, not that a couple as independent as Harry and Meghan need precedents," Fitzwilliams added.
Royal biographer Katie Nicholl previously told INSIDER that the trip will just be a "sabbatical" instead of a permanent move.
"Africa, Botswana in particular has always been a very special place to Harry. He calls it his spiritual home and it's where he and Meghan fell in love so I think it's probably high up on the couple's wish list," she said.
"They will be going away for a sabbatical lasting months rather than a two year stay and from what I am told they are keen to explore and experience life in different countries in the Commonwealth, an area which has been earmarked for the couple by the Queen and the Prince of Wales who are, together with the couple, instrumental in these talks.
"There is a huge amount for the royals to do internationally, so an overseas sabbatical makes sense and it is something Harry has wanted to do for some time."
Fitzwilliams also added that "a visit to the US is a certainty too, with the vast publicity that will receive."
"It's just a matter of when," he said.
US Weekly recently reported that Markle wants to take Archie to LA to "learn about her family history."
"For Meghan, it's just as important for Archie to learn about her family history as it is for him to learn about his royal ancestors, so she plans to go on a trip to L.A. with him once she's comfortable taking him on a plane," a source told the publication.
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