Categories Royal Tour: Australia Royal Tour: Fiji Royal Tour: New Zealand Royal Tour: Tonga

How Meghan Markle Made a Case for Sustainable Fashion on Her Royal Tour

Following Meghan Markle’s debut as part of the British Royal Family, there’s been plenty of discussion around the “Meghan Markle Effect” — that is, the bankability and sustained interest in the Duchess of Sussex’s fashion statements, the power of which was estimated to give the British economy a boost.

While it’s nothing new that royals are looked to as trend setters, Markle is cutting a different kind of fashionable figure from Buckingham Palace.

Since becoming a royal, Markle has demonstrated a keen understanding of how her fashion choices carry significance. Markle’s fashion diplomacy so far has been deft; she’s conscientious in supporting British designers, but also uses her wardrobe choices to pay homage to countries she visits, like Michelle Obama was known for during her time in the White House. Continue reading How Meghan Markle Made a Case for Sustainable Fashion on Her Royal Tour

Categories Royal Tour Royal Tour: Australia Royal Tour: Fiji Royal Tour: New Zealand Royal Tour: Tonga

How always-composed Meghan Markle turned tour Down Under into a triumph for the Commonwealth

Four countries, 16 days, 41 outfit changes and 76 engagements later the Duchess of Sussex passed her first big royal test with flying colours.

No surprise she is now being dubbed The Duchess of Success. Not for her the rictus grin and stilted performance of other royal tours — this was pure Hollywood magic.

It was Meghan’s first international tour with husband Harry since their wedding in May. And she charmed her way through public walkabouts, formal dinners, hugs with kids and formidable speeches.

The pregnant Duchess even baked banana bread for her Aussie hosts and did yoga at 4am when the jet lag kicked in.

The Fijians and Tongans were delighted the royals had come to town, while the Aussies couldn’t get enough of Meghan and the Kiwis went wild, too.

On the tour’s own merits, she did a great job and didn’t put a foot wrong — even more impressive considering she only made her public debut with Harry just over a year ago. Since then Meghan has changed the face of The Firm for ever, and has made Prince Harry incredibly happy.

The Duchess is now very much a Republican’s nightmare; her natural charm and modern approach have set back their cause for a generation.

But it was never a given.

Meghan embarked on this mammoth tour with the dark cloud of her father Thomas Markle’s constant brickbats in the Press. To say he had been a thorn in her side would be the understatement of the year.

I’ve covered these tours for years and while they look like — sometimes literally — a walk in the park, they are anything but. Life under this kind of unrelenting microscope is tough, even for a royal veteran.

Meghan, 37, may well be a seasoned actress and used to meeting and greeting fans, but a royal tour is a completely different gig.

For every single person they meet, that five-second (or shorter) encounter with the young royal superstars is one that will be remembered for ever. So every handshake, every “hello I’m Meghan”, every “so nice to see you today” matters to the thousands of people they met on the tour.

The smile can’t falter, the grip can’t shake and they have to be on form at all times — for 16 days straight.

And it was here that Meghan’s Hollywood training kicked in. The former Suits actress didn’t miss a beat.

Harry often looked grumpy — it was extremely tiring with early starts and up to five engagements each day — and at one particularly long welcome ceremony in Fiji he looked like he wanted to thump someone.

Thankfully, when the red mist descended Meghan, always composed, always smiling, was ready to hold his hand to cheer him up. And it was clear that her extraordinary beauty was the tonic that could lift him out of his darkest mood.

Seeing them together, standing in the rain in Dubbo in Oz — with Meghan shielding Harry from the rain with a giant brolly while her husband made a speech — was a powerful image. Meghan, of course, knows the power of a picture. Right from the start of the tour, she used her wardrobe and jewellery to send substantial messages.

She wore two Aussie designers on Day 1 in Sydney — with her Karen Gee “Blessed” dress showing off the merest hint of a baby bump.

But it was her earrings and bracelet that caught the eye. The butterflies at her ears had belonged to Princess Diana, the bangle too, and showed that Harry’s mum was with them on the journey as they began their own family.

It was a clever piece of signalling — and a respectful inclusion of Diana, who is still hugely popular Down Under — and the crowds loved this glamorous new daughter-in-law.

In Fiji, Meghan had chosen the blue of the Fijian flag for her black-tie dinner gown. Her hosts loved the tribute to their country, which still fondly remembers the Queen and Prince Philip’s visit during the Commonwealth Tour of 1953. The couple had waved to the excited crowds in the island’s capital Suva from the balcony of the Grand Pacific hotel, in an exact replica of Harry’s grandparents 65 years before.

And in Tonga, Meghan stepped off the plane in a red Self-Portrait dress to echo the Tongan flag.
This kind of mirroring is nothing new — and sister-in-law Kate often chooses local designers of the countries she’s visiting. But Meghan carried it off with panache and style.

There were no structured coat-dresses, boxy hats or nude court shoes. This was a working wardrobe for a new working royal, Meghan Markle-style.

Skirts were longer, colours more muted than in her previous life as an actress. She looked the business.

And there was substance, as well as style. She gave three impressive speeches. Kensington Palace had billed her debut as a fully-fledged royal as “a few words”.

It was much more than that at Fiji’s University of the Pacific.

She spoke eloquently about how everyone deserved the opportunity of an education. A speech at the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games in Sydney paid tribute to all the friends and family of those who had been injured in the line of duty.

But the most powerful, and perhaps personal, speech came at Wellington’s Government House on Sunday.

To celebrate 125 years of New Zealand giving women the vote (the first country in the world to do so), the female Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern hosted a reception. Keen advocate of women’s rights, Meghan gave the keynote speech: “Women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness. Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote but also about what that represents. The basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community.”

It was clear she had written these speeches herself and worded them in her language, not the formal words of a British royal court.

Again, here was that Hollywood sparkle in full effect.

And the message that she delivered — equality for everyone and be the best you can be — struck home.

From Maori kids in New Zealand to Aboriginal girls at a school in Australia, the fact a mixed-race American had been accepted by the royals showed them anything was possible. Time and again I heard that Meghan is a role model for young women. But does this new superstar in the royal firmament pose a threat for those already established? It is perhaps too early to say.

What we know is that Prince Charles adores her and their warm relationship has fostered a renewed closeness between father and son. Meghan views Charles as a new father figure after cutting off her biological one for incessantly speaking out and missing her wedding.

Camilla, too, knows what it’s like marrying into The Firm and has been a source of support. They are content to see Harry and his new wife steal the headlines.

But comparisons with William and Kate are perhaps inevitable.

If Meghan is in danger of eclipsing even Kate, 36 — and certainly in the battle of the evening frocks last week Sussex beat Cambridge — perhaps that explains why the Cambridges and Sussexes are thinking of separating their courts. Currently all the “Fab Four’s” work is handled by one office at Kensington Palace, but William and Harry are thinking of setting up one for each brother and their families next year.

Right now the only cloud for Meghan is her troublesome family.

Dad Thomas, 74, and half-sister Samantha, 53, have frequently offered their views on their new royal relation — much to Meghan’s distress.

It appears she has not spoken to her father since the wedding — and has no plans to do so. He claimed he heard about his daughter’s pregnancy from the radio.

However, her new family will be pleased with all the positive headlines and renewed royal fervour in the four Commonwealth countries.

After all, Harry and Meghan were representing the Queen, and everyone agrees it was a tour de force.

Granny will be delighted.

Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/

Categories Royal Tour Royal Tour: Australia Royal Tour: Fiji Royal Tour: New Zealand Royal Tour: Tonga Royal Visit

Meghan Markle Proved She’s Her Own Kind of Royal on Her First Major Tour

In many ways, it seemed like Meghan Markle was entering an impossible situation when she married Prince Harry in May. No matter what she did, she would be seen as an American outsider in the British press, her every move scrutinized to an absurd degree, her every outfit or gesture compared immediately to either that of her new sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, or to any number of the royal women who had come before her. And in her first few months of her Duchess of Sussex-dom, though they went fairly smoothly, Meghan was accused multiple times of “breaking protocol” or committing some nearly invisible “faux pas.” She closed a door on her own! She isn’t wearing a hat when she should be wearing a hat! She shows P.D.A. with Harry!!!!!!

All the while, Meghan—at least publicly—appeared to take it all, even as her father and half sister added additional tabloid drama to the mix, in stride. And on the royal tour she and Harry just completed, a 16-day sprint across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Tonga, Meghan seemed more assured than ever in her brand-new royal role. Just a few months into life as a duchess, and with her first child already on the way, Meghan is turning the role into something very much its own—incorporating aspects of her previous jobs (as actress, advocate and lifestyle blogger) and making it clear she is going to use the platform to speak out about the causes she cares about. Continue reading Meghan Markle Proved She’s Her Own Kind of Royal on Her First Major Tour

Categories Gallery Updates Royal Tour: New Zealand

Photos & Roundup: October 31 – Royal Visit New Zealand – Day 16

The final day of Their Royal Highnesses’ tour will take place in Rotorua, a town set on Lake Rotorua, renowned for its geothermal activity and Maori culture. The Duke and Duchess will firstly visit Te Papaiouru Marae, for a formal pōwhiri and luncheon in Their Royal Highnesses’ honour.

Next, The Duke and Duchess will head to Rainbow Springs to learn more about the centre’s kiwi breeding programme. Kiwi, which are New Zealand’s national bird, have become increasingly endangered in recent years, and Their Royal Highnesses will meet conservationists working to protect the species. They will also have the opportunity to name two young kiwi chicks at Rainbow Springs.

Later that afternoon, The Duke and Duchess will head into the city for the chance to meet members of the public gathered there. They will then travel to Redwoods Treewalk Rotorua. The treewalk is a 700m-long walkway of suspension bridges between 117-year-old Redwood trees. The forest is also the home to a thriving mountain biking community that draws people of all ages to the Redwoods. The Duke and Duchess will learn more about the forest’s history as they take on the tree walk, and will then meet invited representatives of the local biking community under the forest canopy.

Their Royal Highnesses will return to Auckland that evening, before departing for London the following day.

GALLERY LINK
Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 31 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 16 – Set 1
Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 31 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 16 – Set 2
Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 31 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 16 – Set 3

Categories Gallery Updates Royal Tour: New Zealand

Photos & Roundup: October 30 – Royal Visit New Zealand – Day 15

Their Royal Highnesses will travel to Auckland, where they will firstly visit the North Shore to dedicate a 20 hectare area of native bush to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. After unveiling the plaque, The Duke and Duchess will hear more about the ecological importance of the native bush, before joining children from the ‘Trees in Survival’ group in a ‘welly-wanging’ contest.

Their Royal Highnesses will then join the Prime Minister to visit Pillars, a charity operating across New Zealand that supports children who have a parent in prison through the provision of special mentoring schemes. As a wedding present to The Duke and Duchess, the Government of New Zealand gifted $5000 dollars to Pillars, and Their Royal Highnesses will have the opportunity to meet some of the children who have directly benefitted from this funding.

Later that afternoon, The Duke and Duchess will have the opportunity to meet the people of Auckland on the Viaduct Harbour, before attending a Reception hosted by the Prime Minister at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. This reception will include cultural performances and entertainment by members of the Pasifika community living in Auckland. The guests will be predominantly young people in the 17 to 25-year age group who are making significant contributions to the wellbeing of their communities, representing the future of New Zealand.

GALLERY LINK
Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 30 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 15 – Set 1
Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 30 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 15 – Set 2
Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 30 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 15 – Set 3

Categories Gallery Updates Royal Tour: New Zealand

Photos & Roundup: October 29 – Royal Visit New Zealand – Day 14

The Duke and Duchess will visit one of Wellington’s most iconic cafes. Their Royal Highnesses will meet young people from a number of mental health projects operating in New Zealand offering support to other young people through helplines, social media, websites and school-based programmes.

From Wellington, The Duke and Duchess will travel to Abel Tasman National Park, which sits at the north-Eastern tip of the South Island, and is an area famed for its golden beaches and native bush walks. Their Royal Highnesses will be greeted by a traditional welcome ceremony on arrival, before embarking on a trail walk with one of the park’s rangers to learn more about the history of the forest and the environmental challenges of protecting the park’s habitat. Before departing, The Duke and Duchess will join some of the park’s young ambassadors and local school children at a barbeque lunch and for a tree planting.

That evening back in Wellington, Their Royal Highnesses will visit Courtenay Creative for an event celebrating the city’s thriving creative arts scene. Courtney Creative runs programmes to give young people the tools and experience to excel in the film industry, and The Duke and Duchess will meet a number of young creatives demonstrating their skills in props, make-up, and costume.

GALLERY LINK
Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 29 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 14 – Set 1
Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 29 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 14 – Set 2
Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 29 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 14 – Set 3

Categories Gallery Updates Invictus Games Royal Tour: New Zealand

Photos & Roundup: October 28 – Royal Visit New Zealand – Day 13

The Duke and Duchess will depart on a Royal New Zealand AirForce flight for Wellington. Their Royal Highnesses will travel on the same aircraft as a number of the New Zealand Invictus Games competitors, and on arrival, will be met off the plane together by the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

From the airport, Their Royal Highnesses will attend the traditional welcome ceremony on the lawns of Government House – the residence of the Governor-General to New Zealand Dame Patsy Reddy. Their Royal Highnesses will be invited to hongi with the Governor-General’s Kuia and Kaumātua (Māori elders), before the pōwhiri, which includes a haka performed by members of the New Zealand Defence Force. The ceremony will also include a 21-gun salute, and will be attended by school children.

Their Royal Highnesses will then travel to the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. Here, they will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, and will visit the newly unveiled UK War Memorial – whose design takes the form of two of the United Kingdom and New Zealand’s most iconic trees – the Royal Oak and a Pōhutakawa. This engagement will be followed by a public walkabout in the Memorial Park.

That evening, The Duke and Duchess will receive official calls from the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition at Government House, before attending a reception hosted by the Governor General celebrating the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand.

GALLERY LINK
Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 28 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 13 – Set 1
Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 28 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 13 – Set 2
Engagements In 2018 > Commonwealth Tour > October 28 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 13 – Set 3

Categories Gallery Updates Invictus Games Royal Tour: Australia

Photos & Roundup: October 27 – Royal Visit Australia – Day 12

U.S.A. WINS GOLD: The last day of the Australian programme falls on the final day of the Invictus Games. After having the morning off Their Royal Highnesses spent the afternoon at the wheelchair basketball finals at the Quay Centre. Meghan cheered her native home team on to victory with the U.S. winning 29-17 over the Netherlands team. Meghan presented the medals with Harry with one competitor stealing a kiss on the cheek from Meghan.

UNTIL NEXT TIME: The Closing Ceremony that evening took place at Qudos Bank Arena. The event, at which both The Duke and Duchess will spoke, was full of celebration of the outstanding achievements and inspiring spirit of the Invictus Games competitors. You can watch the closing ceremony at the link below, you don’t want to miss Harry and Meghan’s incredible speeches, but also the performances by Grammy-nominated artist Aloe Blacc and The Kingdom Chior which performed at the couple’s wedding in May.

VIDEOS: Invictus Games: Sydney 2018 Closing Ceremony

GALLERY LINK
Engagements In 2018 > Invictus Games: Sydney > October 27 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 8 – Set 1
Engagements In 2018 > Invictus Games: Sydney > October 27 | Commonwealth Tour – Day 8 – Set 2