Duchess of Sussex gets henna tattoo in Moroccan custom to celebrate pregnancy

The Duchess of Sussex celebrated her pregnancy by getting a henna tattoo – a good luck gesture from her Moroccan hosts.

With Harry watching, Meghan had a floral pattern painted on her left hand and wrist during a visit to a boarding house in the Atlas mountains where girls are given a chance to fulfil their potential by having a secondary education thanks to an NGO.

Samira Ouaadi, 17, created the design and when the artwork was finished the duchess looked down and praised the student's work "That's really lovely" and proudly gave her husband a closer look.

The 17-year-old said: "It's tradition for pregnant women in Morocco to have a henna tattoo.

"We do it for major celebrations like getting married or having a baby. It's like the plant of paradise so we use it to mark all major occasions."

After one concerned official asked the casually dressed and heavily pregnant duchess if she wanted to wash off the tattoo immediately, she laughed and said: "It will dry as we walk through".

The Duchess of Sussex proudly shows off her temporary tattoo
The Duchess of Sussex proudly shows off her temporary tattoo

Baby Sussex was the theme of the day for the students as they sang songs of good luck for Harry and Meghan's first child due in April, when the couple arrived and left.

The custom of henna tattoos is thought to have originated in north Africa before spreading across the Middle East and parts of Asia.

Dye made from henna – a plant of paradise – stays on as a tattoo for up to two weeks with the brown paste made from pulping the bark.

The Duchess of Sussex shows two girls her henna design
The Duchess of Sussex shows two girls her henna design

The couple were touring the project run in the town of Asni by the Moroccan NGO Education For All, founded by British entrepreneur Michael McHugo.

They visited classrooms where most of the girls – whose remote mountain families do not have access to secondary schools – were fluent only in French.

This was not a problem for the Spanish-speaking duchess who revealed she can also hold a conversation in French.

The Duchess asks two girls in the @EFAMorocco dorms about what courses they would like to study at university and the careers they would like to pursue. pic.twitter.com/pIxqAIuGCG

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) February 24, 2019

She asked: Qu'est-ce que tu veux etre quand tu quittes l'ecole? – What do you want to do when you leave school?

And she went on to quiz the teenagers in French if they planned to go to university.

The first Education For All (EFA) project was opened in 2007 and it now has 50 EFA girls enrolled at university and educates dozens more at its six girls' boarding houses.