Meghan Markle: Royal visit to Fiji market cut short over ‘security issue’

‘There were much bigger crowds than people had been anticipating’

Sabrina Barr@fabsab5
Wednesday 24 October 2018 21:22
Harry and Meghan's royal Pacific tour: Day nine highlights

Meghan Markle’s visit to a market in Fiji as part of her 16-day royal tour with Prince Harry was cut short amid a "security issue".

The Duchess of Sussex was visiting the market to meet female entrepreneurs who are part of the UN Women’s Markets for Change project.

The original plan was for the duchess to spend around 15 minutes meeting the female vendors and discussing their entrepreneurial work.

However, the duchess was escorted from the market after around seven minutes due to concerns about the size of the crowds who turned out to catch a glimpse of the royal.

“It [the visit] was cut slightly short due to the large number of people within the market, which made the event uncomfortably busy,” says a royal source.

“There were much bigger crowds than people had been anticipating and there were a lot of people cramped into the market.”

Asenaca Salusalu, a farmer from the village of Nukulau close to Suva, Fiji’s capital, describes what it was like to make the acquaintance of the duchess.

“She didn’t really speak at all, like she was a bit afraid,” Salusalu says.

“She just said ‘Bula’ and ‘Nice to meet you’. But I’m happy to have met her.”

Some stallholders at the market were disappointed to have not been given the opportunity to meet Meghan due to the brevity of her visit.

“It’s such a shame as we were all very excited to meet her,” one stallholder says.

“We started preparing for the visit three weeks ago and had been meant to meet her but she left without even saying hello.”

According to a royal aide, the visit to the market in Fiji followed a morning tea, where the duchess met and conversed with members of the Markets for Change project.

“She met everyone she was meant to meet and left,” a royal aide says.

“On advice she was taken out due to crowd management issues.”

Prior to her visit to the market, the duchess gave a speech at the University of the South Pacific about her experience of being unable to fund her university degree.

“I am also fully aware of the challenges of being able to afford this level of schooling for many people around the world - myself included,” she told students at the university.

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“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.”

In 2015, Meghan delivered a powerful speech as a UN Women’s advocate about gender equality.

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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