Prince Harry and Meghan embark on first family tour of Africa

Prince Harry and Meghan embark on family tour

Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan kicked off their first official tour as a family Monday; 10 days in Africa with their son, Archie. CBS News correspondent Debora Patta said the royal family were sending a clear signal with this trip: they want to be taken seriously, highlighting issues ranging from the abuse of women to wildlife conservation.

The continent and its challenges hold special significance for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

After attending the star-studded wedding of fashion designer Misha Nonoo in Rome over the weekend, the couple declined the pomp and ceremony often associated with royalty visiting South Africa.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, arrive to attend the wedding of fashion designer Misha Nonoo at Villa Aurelia in Rome
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, at the Rome wedding of fashion designer Misha Nonoo, September 20, 2019, prior to their trip to South Africa. Reuters

Instead, they got down to business within hours of arriving in Cape Town on Monday.

Their first stop was in the township of Nyanga, where the murder rate is so high that South African soldiers have been deployed to keep the peace between warring gangs.

The issue of violence against women has dominated headlines in Cape Town this month after young South African women took to the streets to protest horrifying statistics — a woman is murdered every three hours in the country.

Royal correspondent Roya Nikkah expects the royals' trip will engender even more goodwill for Meghan.

"There have been some teething problems, there's no doubt about it," she said, "but I think as she sort of settles into the role a it more, and gets her teeth stuck into some more official royal work, I'm sure that her popularity will continue to grow."

Prince Harry and Meghan begin their Africa tour in Cape Town
A dancer is seen ahead of the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, in Nyanga township, on the first day of their African tour in Cape Town, South Africa, September 23, 2019. Reuters

The couple will have their hands full away from the public eye as well; it's their first trip as a family. Four-month-old baby Archie is travelling with them.

Previously the duke and duchess have expressed an interest in spending several months of the year in Africa.

"There is no doubt that this kind of trip will give Harry and Meghan, as a couple and a family, more of a taste of what life potentially might be out there," Nikkah said.

Buckingham Palace has admitted that the presence of baby Archie will make things a lot more lively. Don't expect to see too much of him, though, as he will be looked after by his nanny when the couple are on official duty.

But it is expected he will make some kind of public appearance over the next few days.