Yesterday, Kensington Palace released more information on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s upcoming tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga. They will be abroad between October 16 and 31, with dates corresponding with the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney.
KP noted that the tour’s themes include youth leadership, environmental conservation and the recovery and rehabilitation of service men and women. In other words, those are the issue areas we can expect engagements to be built around.
This is definitely a long tour – at first blush, I was surprised, thinking that it was longer than any of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s. But, I went back and looked at how long their marathon tour of Australia and New Zealand was back in 2014 and it was roughly the same chunk of time. Given how far away these countries are, and their importance to the Commonwealth, it makes sense.
Below is a broad breakdown of their itinerary:
-Tuesday 16th October: Sydney, Australia
-Wednesday 17th October: Dubbo, Australia
-Thursday 18th October: Melbourne, Australia
-Friday 19th October: Sydney, Australia
-Saturday 20th October: Sydney, Australia
-Sunday 21st October: Sydney, Australia
-Monday 22nd October: Fraser Island, Australia
-Tuesday 23rd October: Suva, Fiji
-Wednesday 24th October: Suva, Fiji
-Thursday 25th October: Nadi, Fiji and Nuku’alofa, Tonga
-Friday 26th October: Nuku’alofa, Tonga and Sydney, Australia
-Saturday 27th October: Sydney, Australia
-Sunday 28th October: Wellington, New Zealand
-Monday 29th October: Wellington and Abel Tasman, New Zealand
-Tuesday 30th October: Auckland, New Zealand
-Wednesday 31st October: Rotorua, New Zealand
You’ll note that they will be in Sydney on October 20th and 27th, which corresponds with the opening and closing ceremonies for the Invictus Games. My guess is that they will attend various matches and related events while in town on 21st as well.
Another piece of exciting news is that it was announced last week that Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark will also be in Sydney for the Games, so we can expect a royal photo-op, which always adds a little extra glitz to these things. You may recall that Harry was in Denmark last October sans Meghan, however he only publicly met with Frederick’s younger brother, Prince Joachim, during that trip.
No word yet on whether other countries will be sending representatives – and who – but the Obamas attended for the United States in previous years, while First Lady Melania Trump made the trip to Toronto last year and the Trudeaus have been known to turn up for Canada. There will be some poignancy to seeing Harry and Meghan attend as a newly married couple given that Meghan made her public debut alongside Harry at IG in 2017.
Still no word on when Kate will be returning to a normal schedule, but all signs are pointing to October instead of September at this point. World Mental Health Day is on October 10, for which she returned to the public eye while recovering from HG during her pregnancy with Prince Louis last year. We shall see. If she does resume a full schedule next month, it’s going to be a crazy few weeks with the Sussexes’ tour. It almost makes me wonder if she means to take a full six months and not return until November, but I hope not.