Day eight of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s royal tour has come to a close – and what a busy one it’s been! After a jam-packed start to their time in Fiji on Tuesday, including an official welcome ceremony and a state reception that saw Meghan wow in her first show-stopping royal gown, Wednesday brought another day of engagements – with the majority seeing the couple separate for solo appearances.
Prince Harry met with a number of Fijian war veterans for his first morning stop, also laying a wreath to pay his respects at the Fiji War Memorial. Later, he joined his wife at the University of the South Pacific to meet students and make a speech – Meghan also gave her first royal speech by saying a few words. They then went their separate ways again, with Harry heading to a forest site to unveil the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy Project, and Meghan going to hear more about a UN Women’s project, ‘Markets for Change’ at two separate engagements. Scroll down to see all the best pictures…
Prince Harry arrived to lay a wreath of poppies in honour of Fijian war veterans in a ceremony in the country’s capital for his first appearance of the day, wearing traditional military dress. He said later in a speech: “I must emphasise my respect, admiration and camaraderie with the Fijian soldiers that I served with in Afghanistan. We trained together, we fought together, and most importantly we laughed together.”
The Duke laid the wreath on the memorial stone with a note reading: “In grateful memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice inthe service of their country. Loloma kei na masu [Love and prayers].” He then went to talk to Fijian war veterans, including a number who had served with the British Armed Forces.
Meghan’s stunning outfit for her second day in Fiji certainly matched her beautiful surroundings – the pretty ruffled dress is by Figue, and features adorable pom-pom detailing. She teamed the look with Castañer wedges and a statement clutch bag, which is actually thought to be a document folder covered in traditional Fijian masi art.
The Duchess changed-up her usual hairstyle, too – choosing a twisted updo we don’t often see her in – pinning local flowers into the style. She has brought her trusted hairdresser, George Northwood, on the tour with her, who was no doubt inspired by the beautiful florals in Fiji.
On arrival at the university, Meghan and Prince Harry were greeted by plenty of adoring well-wishers, including one youngster who couldn’t resist giving the mum-to-be a warm hug.
Meghan gave her first royal speech during her time on campus. She said: “The journey of higher education is an incredible, impactful and pivotal one. Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive the education they want, but more importantly the education they have the right to receive. And for women and girls in developing countries, this is vital. Providing them with access to education is the key to economic and social development.”
A close up of Meghan’s look, which shows her flawless makeup looking soft and natural as always. She was giving a beautiful floral garland to wear on arrival at the university.
Later, she and Harry went their separate ways, as Meghan attended a morning tea at the British High Commissioner’s Residence in Suva to meet representatives from women’s organisations in Fiji. She chatted avidly to Temalesi Vere, 44, who has made a living out of fashioning baskets and bags after her village was destroyed by cyclone Winston in 2016.
She also got hands-on in a cookery session, helping to make the traditional dish lote, made from smoked breadfruit and served either as a breakfast or a dessert. Cookery trainer Alisi Delai showed the Duchess how to scrape coconut flesh and extract the juice with a hot stone to make the meal.
Elsewhere, Prince Harry headed to the Colo-I-Suva Forest Reserve, where he too got a crash course in Fijian traditions. Spotting two men demonstrating the stages of Kava production, he asked the local men, “How much of this do you drink at the weekend?” before joking, “It would be easier to just drink a beer!”
Harry, who wore a blue Bula shirt for the visit, also met a woman who had served the Queen tea when she visited Fiji during her epic Coronation tour. Litiana Vulaca, 87, was just 21 when she was chosen for the task by her employer Frances Lilian Charlton, who was the principal of Adi Cakobau Secondary School, a girls’ boarding school visited by the monarch.
Harry was in the forest to formally recognise its dedication to the Queen’s Commmonwealth Canopy Project, and to mark the occasion he unveiled a plaque and planted an indigenous Dakua tree, which is a threatened species in Fiji. He used the exact shovel once used by his grandmother during her own first visit, which was engraved with the words: ‘Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Lautoka, Fiji, December 18th 1953’.
Meghan’s final engagement of the day was a visit to the Suva Municipal Market, where she met female entrepreneurs who are part of the UN Women’s ‘Markets for Change’ project. The visit was cut short, however, due to unexpectedly large crowds. The Duchess left after around seven minutes, rather than the scheduled quarter of an hour.
Photographs from the event show the huge crowds gathering in the square outside the market, with members of the security team trying to manage them.
A royal aide said: “It was hot, humid and uncomfortably busy and there were far larger crowds than expected. She met everyone she was meant to meet and left. There would have been a lot of people who would have been keen to meet her but she did meet those who had hoped to. On advice she was taken out due to a crowd management issue.”
The Duchess was ushered out of the market by her team, who were rumoured to be concerned about security risks. Pregnant Meghan was lead through the bustling crowds by her female bodyguard, who made sure she got back into the car safely before she was whisked away.