Meghan Markle‘s first solo engagement in Fiji did not go to plan.While Prince Harry visited a local forest on Wednesday, Meghan paid a visit to a market to meet with female vendors, who greeted their special guest with cheers and roaring applause.
The mother-to-be was at the Suva market to learn about a UN Women’s project, “Markets for Change,” which promotes women’s empowerment in marketplaces throughout the South Pacific.
However, Meghan’s tour was cut short due to crowd management issues, a Kensington Palace representative told the Associated Press.
Meghan was expected to spend up to 20 minutes in the marketplace, however, the royal mom-to-be was only there for less than half of the time before getting rushed away from the large crowd that came to greet her at, and inside, the market.
Despite her security’s decision to rush out of the venue, the former actress appeared calm and waved at the crowd as she was whisked back to her car.
At the event, Meghan was spotted carrying a clutch made by local women from traditional tapa cloth. She also kept on her pink printed Figue dress that she wore earlier to deliver a speech at the University of the South Pacific.
Meghan has worked on issues of global gender equality for the United Nations and World Vision. And she’ll be focused on empowering women’s issues as part of her new royal duties as the Duchess of Sussex.
In 2015, Meghan gave an inspiring speech on International Women’s Day in partnership with UN Women. “I am proud to be a woman and a feminist,” she said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Meghan delivered her first royal tour speech to students and staff at the University of the South Pacific. Meghan and Harry were on hand to observe a cultural performance on the effects of climate change, before meeting students studying subjects from agriculture to women’s development.
As Meghan confidently took the podium, wearing traditional garlands, she shared her own college experience after giving the traditional greeting: “Bula vinaka!”
“As a university graduate, I know the personal feeling of pride and excitement that comes with attending university,” she began. “From the moment you receive your acceptance letter to the exams you spend countless late nights studying for, the lifelong friendships you make with your fellow alumni to the moment that you receive your diploma, the journey of higher education is an incredible, impactful and pivotal one.”
“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 added.
“It was through scholarships, financial aid programs and work-study where my earnings from a job on campus went directly towards my tuition – that I was able to attend university. And, without question, it was worth every effort,” Meghan continued.
“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,” she said. “When girls are given the right tools to succeed, they can create incredible futures, not only for themselves but for all of those around them.”
“And while progress has been made in many areas across the Commonwealth, there is always scope to offer more opportunities to the next generation of young adults, and specifically to young women,” she added.
Meghan and Harry also attended a state dinner celebrating their visit to Fiji on Tuesday, where the royal mom-to-be sipped water alongside her husband.
At the gala, which saw Meghan in her first evening gown of the royal tour, Harry said in a speech that he and the Duchess of Sussex were “overwhelmed by the warm Fijian welcome we received from the people of these beautiful islands this afternoon in Albert Park, and all the way from the airport! It really is a privilege to be here.”