The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are now halfway through their four-country tour and today carried out a slew of engagements in Fiji after last night’s state dinner. It also marked the occasion of Meghan’s first real speech as a member of the British Royal Family – naturally she executed flawlessly.
Usually I like to start at the beginning of a day, but for this post we’re going to start with the headline news – the state dinner and the Duchess of Cambridge receiving the Family Order – and work back from there. The big takeaway is that after over seven years of marriage, Kate has finally been given the Elizabeth II Family Order.
Last night’s state dinner hosted by the President of Fiji was in fact quite the milestone for the Duchess of Sussex – her first public black tie event since her wedding five months ago. Given her propensity for wearing trouser suits and erring on the side of informality, I know many have been waiting for the “princess” moment – this was essentially that, and there’s plenty more such nights in her future.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex touched down in Fiji late yesterday afternoon (their time – for our purposes it was the middle of the night) and have had a busy first few hours on the second leg of their 16-day tour. Arrival shots tend to set the tone for a tour, and become the images by which said tour is most recognizable – we didn’t formally get that moment in Australia, but we definitely did in Fiji.
Tomorrow King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will kick off a two-day state visit to the UK, during which they will meet with the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex. On Tuesday evening the two will also attend a state banquet held in their honor at Buckingham Palace, which will serve as home base while they are in London.
Yesterday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited Fraser Island, the last stop on the Australian leg of their four-country tour. Following Saturday’s news that Meghan plans to scale back her engagements over the next couple of days due to exhaustion, Harry took the lion’s share of their schedule, but we did catch a glimpse or two of HRH.
The commentary around this tour has noted time and again how grueling the pace is, particularly once the Duchess of Sussex’s pregnancy was announced, but it appears it has finally caught up with HRH after all. Kensington Palace confirmed earlier today that the Duke of Sussex would carry out an earlier engagement for the Invictus Games solo while Meghan rested, and though she joined him for the day’s later event, her schedule over the next few days will be amended.
Six days into the Sussexes’ four-country tour and we’re still not at the halfway point! We have three countries still to go, while the Invictus Games are now underway in Sydney for the next week. After carrying out two engagements “today” (I don’t know about you, but somewhere in there I slept and so for my purposes it’s now “yesterday”), Harry and Meghan attended the Invictus Games opening ceremony.
It was a decidedly more casual affair for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in the afternoon – after unveiling a plaque at the Anzac memorial, the pair traveled by boat to Cockatoo Island for their first Invictus Games engagement.
This morning the Duke and Duchess of Sussex made an unannounced stop at the Anzac Memorial Hyde Park, recognizing the New South Wales Government’s efforts to revitalize the memorial in honor of World War I’s centenary. You may recall that Harry and Meghan attended a remembrance ceremony for Anzac Day at Wellington Arch and then Westminster Abbey in anticipation of their visits to Australia and New Zealand.