MEGHAN Markle and Prince Harry have hinted at their future roles in the Royal Family by announcing details of their official first official overseas tour to Australia, Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga, and New Zealand.
The royal couple have been invited to visit Australia and New Zealand by the countries’ respective governments in October.
The Duke and Duchess will also travel to the Pacific Islands of Fiji and Tonga during their whirlwind tour, as they seek to increase their engagement with Commonwealth nations, after the Prince took on the role of Commonwealth youth ambassador in April.
The tour will focus on the recovery and rehabilitation of servicemen and women through Prince Harry’s 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney.
Kensington Palace said: “The programme across these four Commonwealth countries will focus on youth leadership, environmental and conservation efforts – including the dedication of several new Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy projects – and the recovery and rehabilitation of servicemen and women through the Invictus Games Sydney 2018.”
The 16-day visit will take place between Tuesday, October 16 and Wednesday, October 31.
The four-country tour of the Pacific will see Meghan Markle and Harry in Sydney on October 16 for a day before spending October 17 in Dubbo in rural New South Wales.
On October 18, the couple will be in Melbourne, before returning to Sydney for the fourth Invictus Games events between October 19 and October 21.
The Invictus Games opening ceremony will be held on October 20.
The sporting event, first launched in London in 2014 by Prince Harry, will see 500 wounded and paralysed defence force veterans from 18 nations competing in 11 adaptive sports.
The royal couple will then travel to Fraser Island in Queensland on October 22 where they will see a completed Queen’s Canopy project.
Meghan and Harry will then fly to Fiji and Tonga, before returning to Sydney late on October 26, to spend October 27 in Australia for the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games.
The Commonwealth is an area of focus for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, with Meghan saying in her official engagement interview how she wanted to do more work with the countries when she joined the Royal Family.
At the time, when asked about her future role, she said: “I’m excited to just really get to know more about the different communities here, smaller organisations we’re working on the same causes that I’ve always been passionate about under this umbrella. And and also being able to go around the commonwealth I think is just just the beginning of that.”
Harry added: “She’s capable of anything. And together as I said there’s a hell of a lot of work that needs doing. At the moment for us, it’s going to be making sure that our relationship is always put first, but both of us have passions for wanting to make change, change for good. And with lots of young people running around the commonwealth, that’s where we’ll spend most of our time hopefully.”
Meghan also famously ensured all 53 Commonwealth nations were represented at her royal wedding, with their national flowers included in her intricate veil.
And Kensington Palace’s announcement the couple will focus on “youth leadership” during their tour is another sign Harry and Meghan appear to be forging their careers to work with young people.
Already Prince Harry has taken on the role of Commonwealth youth ambassador after being given the role by the Queen in a bid to modernise the monarchy’s role in the Commonwealth.
In his first speech in the role, in April, before his marriage to Meghan the following month, Prince Harry said: “I know that serving as ambassador to young people I’m going have to try to keep up with you all … my job will be to listen to you, my duty will be to ensure that your ideas, concerns, thoughts and hopes are heard.
“I’m also incredibly grateful that the woman that I am about to marry, Meghan, will be joining me in this work, in which she too is hugely excited to take part in.”
He and Meghan also spent their pre-wedding royal engagements speaking to young people.
Also high on their agenda is supporting veterans, with the Invictus Games a special occasion for the pair who made their first public engagement as a couple at last year’s Toronto event.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s visit to Australia and New Zealand is their first overseas visit as a married couple.
They are expected to use their precious downtime to reconnect with Meghan’s close friends and former co-stars Gabriel Macht and his wife Jacinda Barrett.
They are expected to escape the chaos of Sydney and head to the Sunshine Coast in order to relax out of sight of the public.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull previously welcomed the news of the Royal couple’s visit to Australia, and stated Australians will be excited to greet them.
He said: “The Duke of Sussex has become a champion for war veterans around the world, including in Australia.
“His attendance, alongside the Duchess of Sussex, will be a wonderful highlight for the more than 500 competitors and thousands of spectators.”