Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Meghan’s visit to Fiji market cut short over concerns about large crowds

The Duchess of Sussex spent seven minutes at the market.

The Duchess of Sussex during a visit to a market in Suva, Fiji (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)
The Duchess of Sussex during a visit to a market in Suva, Fiji (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

The Duchess of Sussex was rushed out of an official engagement after concerns about security as large crowds greeted her.

Meghan was due to spend 15 minutes at the Suva Municipal Market to learn about Markets for Change, a UN Women’s project which promotes female empowerment.

However, the duchess only spent around seven minutes at the venue.

The mother-to-be was taken out by her entourage after what has been described as “crowd management issues”.

A royal aide said the market visit was an extension of an earlier engagement where the duchess heard about the Markets for Change project at a morning tea.

They added: “She met everyone she was meant to meet and left.

“On advice she was taken out due to crowd management issues.”

Royal sources said there was a “security issue” because of the “much bigger crowds than anticipated” inside the market, making the event “uncomfortably busy”.

Inside the market, stallholders and members of the public appeared calm and orderly and there did not appear to be any obvious security risk or problems with the crowds.

A source said: “It was cut slightly short due to the large number of people within the market, which made the event uncomfortably busy. There were much bigger crowds than people had been anticipating and there were a lot of people cramped into the market.”

The duchess, wearing a dress by Figue and carrying a woven bag made by women at the market, was greeted by crowds waving flags and cheering.

Meghan was given a bouquet of flowers during her visit to Suva Market (Ian Vogler/PA)

Shobna Verma, the legal advisor to Suva Market Vendors’ Association, presented Meghan with a bouquet of flowers.

Mrs Verma, 58, who sells eggs at the market, said: “The duchess asked me if the programme really is making a difference and I told her there have been a lot of positive changes, but we are still waiting for more.”

Asenaca Salusalu was the first vendor to meet the duchess inside the market.

Mrs Salusalu, 50, a farmer from the village of Nukulau, more than 100 kilometres from Suva, has been a stallholder at the market for nine years, selling root crops, vegetables and fruits.

Meghan, who looked slightly flustered during the hurried walk through the market, shook Mrs Salusalu’s hand, and said: “It’s very good to meet you”, before moving on.

Mrs Salusalu said: “She didn’t really speak at all, like she was a bit afraid. She just said ‘Bula’ and ‘Nice to meet you’. But I’m happy to have met her.”

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph