Prince Harry and Meghan were given a traditional welcome to Fiji yesterday, including the presentation of a whole roasted pig, a whale’s tooth – and a cup of the local firewater.
On the second leg of their 16-day Commonwealth tour, the royal newlyweds flew to the South Pacific, with the Duchess of Sussex showing off her blossoming baby bump.
The pair were walking in the footsteps of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, who first visited Fiji in 1953. Then, the monarch and her husband received a tumultuous reception when they arrived by boat.
And 65 years later, the greeting was no less enthusiastic on an island nation where the Royal Family is still revered. Harry and Meghan arrived in the capital, Suva, on a private charter, which will take them on to Tonga later in the week, before returning to Australia.
Meghan struggled a little with the wind and rain as she stepped out on to a carpet.
Upon arrival, she was wearing a white dress by Australian label Zimmermann, a Stephen Jones hat, earrings which were a gift from the Queen, and a diamond bracelet from the Prince of Wales.
After touching down, the Duke of Sussex, in a grey suit and medals, inspected a 100-strong Guard of Honour and took the salute.
The couple’s trip around the country is intended to echo the Queen’s own welcome in 1953. The newlyweds were then taken to a welcoming ceremony at Albert Park which was attended by 15,000 people.
Harry and Meghan sat on a stage as he was given the whale’s tooth – a sign of wealth.
He was then given kava, a drink made from a mashed plant root. It is the national drink of Fiji. Kava is made from a pepper plant, pounded into fine powder and then mixed into fresh water. The result looks a bit like muddy rainwater and has a slightly bitter taste.
It is also said to have a mild sedative effect, meaning it wasn’t suitable for the pregnant duchess. A roast pig – so big it was carried on stage by six men – was also offered to the prince. He told the crowd: ‘Bula venaka [a warm hello]!
‘The duchess and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible during the next two days and celebrating the links and close friendship between Fiji and the United Kingdom.’
As soon as the ceremony was over, there was a rush towards the nearby Grand Pacific Hotel, where the couple once again mirrored the Queen by appearing on the balcony to wave to the crowds.
In the evening, Meghan and Harry attended a state dinner hosted by the president of Fiji – the first black tie event of their Commonwealth tour.
The duchess showed off her baby bump in a ‘Fijian blue’ caped evening gown designed by Safiyaa which cost about £1,000.
She paired the outfit with an eye-catching pair of ‘borrowed’ diamond earrings.
Kensington Palace refused to say who had loaned them. The duchess has passed on attending some events during the Commonwealth tour as she manages her health.
There have been questions over allowing pregnant Meghan to visit Fiji and Tonga, as there is a moderate Zika risk in the region.
But the palace insisted the couple had taken medical advice and were happy to continue with the tour.
© Daily Mail