Times caption: Meghan has been vocal about her feminist beliefs in the past (VICTORIA JONES/REUTERS)
A piece in today’s Times:
There will be rainforests, koalas and welly-wanging. But when the Duchess of Sussex embarks on her first major overseas tour with Prince Harry in little more than a week, there will also be a strong theme of female empowerment.
On the tour — to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga — the duchess will undertake engagements without her husband and make several speeches.
In a reflection of her strong feminist beliefs, she will also attend events in support of women’s rights. In New Zealand the couple will be guests at a reception hosted by the governor-general to celebrate the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the country. New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote.
In Fiji the duchess will attend a tea to showcase women’s groups and learn about Markets for Change, a UN project to promote female empowerment in marketplaces in the Pacific.
A royal source said that while the programme was drawn up by the host countries it reflected the couple’s interests. “It’s her first tour. It’s all very new and it’s all quite daunting in terms of the choice,” a Kensington Palace source said. “In Fiji there is a bit of a movement to encourage women away from the stereotypical roles of cooking and looking after children. They are looking to strengthen women’s opportunities.” [J4MB emphasis]
She will make several speeches, including at the suffrage event in New Zealand and at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. “She is quite a confident speaker,” the source added.
The couple will spend 16 days on the tour, which starts in Australia on October 16 and ends in New Zealand.
The couple will also attend the Invictus Games, the championships founded by Harry for injured servicemen and women, which is being held in Sydney.
While in the city they will go to Taronga Zoo to open the Taronga Institute of Science and Learning. There they will meet koalas and their joeys, part of the zoo’s breeding programme.
There will, however, be strict rules in place when they meet the koalas. “You can cuddle a koala, I think, in Queensland, but you cannot cuddle a koala in New South Wales,” the source said. “Many years ago you could cuddle a koala and it was fine but now they are rare, they are dying, and that is why we are all very invested in koala conservation.”
In Auckland the couple will also join children in a welly-wanging contest.
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