13th June 2018
This week Kensington Palace announced that Prince Harry and his new bride, Meghan, will be visiting Fiji, Australia, New Zealand and the Kingdom of Tonga in Autumn this year.
The tour, with dates still to be announced, is expected to occur around the same time as the Invictus Games, which will be held in Sydney between the 20th and 27th of October.
The royal couple, now referred to as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will be in the region to champion the Paralympic-style games created by Prince Harry in 2014. Following British military service in Afghanistan, the Duke of Sussex established the competition as a channel to inspire and motivate veteran soldiers towards recovery. In Sydney, 500 competitors are expected to participate in 12 sports across the city.
In announcing Sydney as the 2018 host of the Invictus Games, HRH The Duke of Sussex said this:
“We had three key criteria. First, it had to be an iconic city – somewhere known the world over. Second, it needed to be a city with a proud military heritage, which would welcome competitors from all over the world with open arms. And finally, we wanted to go somewhere where they are absolutely sports mad and would really get behind our competitions. It was an easy decision really.”
In response to Kensington Palace’s announcement of the regional tour, Fiji's Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama shared his interest in the deep ties between the two nations.
“Prince Harry is a direct descendant of Queen Victoria, to whom the chiefs of Fiji ceded our islands in 1874. He is also the son of H.R.H the Prince of Wales, who handed us our instruments of Independence in 1970 and the grandson of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who we have had the pleasure of welcoming to Fiji on three separate occasions – in 1953, 1963 and 1982,
“So as well as an opportunity for Fiji to welcome this exceptional couple, the visit of Prince Harry and Meghan will be a symbol of our strong commitment to the Commonwealth and our continuing affection for the Royal Family,” Mr Bainimarama said.