Meghan Markle and Prince Harry cut their trip to Fiji short due to ‘security concerns.’ The Royal tour started in Australia with a very interesting turn of events; the newlyweds announced that they were expecting their first child together in early spring of 2019. Their next stop, Fiji, caused some controversy as the island is a Zika-infected area. While news broke that the couple had to cut their trip short due to security concerns, it, in fact, had nothing to do with the Duchess potentially contracting the virus, rather it came down to the overwhelming number of people who gathered in anticipation to meet the Royal couple.
Interestingly, Fiji was not removed from the Duke and Duchess’ tour schedule after news of their pregnancy broke. The newlyweds consulted with experts about the dangers of the Zika virus but remained headstrong in following through with their original plans. The Duchess of Sussex landed in Fiji wearing a long-sleeved, pink ruffled dress by Figue, to help reduce her risk of contracting the virus.
In an official statement from the Palace, “The programme across these four Commonwealth countries will focus on youth leadership, and environmental and conservative efforts,” and, in this respect, one of the Duchess’ primary focuses while in Fiji was to visit “the market to meet female entrepreneurs who are part of the UN Women’s Markets for Change project.” While large crowds are naturally expected to follow the Royal couple during the tour, not even their security team anticipated the sheer number of people who came out to meet the Duchess.
Locals stated that they had been preparing for Meghan Markle’s visit for over three weeks, but unfortunately, ended up disappointed when they were no longer able to meet her. According to a Royal aide, the Duchess did get to meet “everyone she was meant to meet and left.”
The multi-country tour is an important undertaking for the young couple as it is a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip’s visit to the island nation 65 years prior. The Duke and Duchess have even taken up residence in the same Grand Pacific Hotel as the Duke’s grandparents. In keeping with the importance of the tour, the Duke addressed the “perils of climate change, acknowledging its effects on low-lying Pacific Island Nations” during his speech at the University of the South Pacific, while the Duchess raised the issue of women’s rights, the accessibility of education, and highlighting the importance of women not getting discouraged from opportunities in developing countries.
While the couple has undeniably been discussing very relevant global issues during their tour, the decision for the Duchess to venture into a Zika-infected country remains highly disputed. Since Meghan and Harry’s child will be seventh in line for the throne, many fans and well-wishers are questioning whether the couple made the ‘responsible’ decision. In any case, the Duchess remains virus-free and will be moving onto their next stop, Tonga.