Meghan Markle’s only solo engagement during her royal tour of Oceania with Prince Harry was cut short this morning when she was hurried out of a crowded market in Fiji.
Kensington Palace initially said the pregnant royal’s sudden departure was down to “uncomfortable conditions” but later added that there had been “crowd management issues”, reports Sky News.
The Duchess was at the market in the capital, Suva, to meet female stallholders involved in a UN Women project called Markets for Change, which seeks to promote a safe, inclusive environment for women vendors in a number of South Pacific nations.
According to the Daily Express, “Meghan was spotted whispering to one of her royal aides” before leaving the market with her security team just eight minutes into the scheduled 15-minute visit.
“Onlookers say the Duchess ‘looked concerned,’ as she greeted large crowds and did not seem like her ‘usual self’,” the newspaper adds.
Meghan and Prince Harry are currently on their first overseas tour together since getting married in May. Their 16-day trip started in Australia, and will continue on to Tonga and New Zealand, says the BBC.
Prior to the market incident, the Duchess delivered her first speech of the tour during a visit with her husband to the University of the South Pacific.
Calling for greater educational opportunities for women in developing countries, she told the audience: “Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive the education they want, but more importantly, the education they have the right to receive.”
The Duke then travelled alone to Colo-i-Suva Forest Park, where he planted a tree and unveil a plaque to mark its dedication.