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The Next Royal Tour Is Testament To Meghan Markle's Feminism

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Let two weeks of royal watching commence...

Just two weeks before their first ever international tour as a married couple, Buckingham Palace has unveiled a detailed itinerary for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s trip to Australia, Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga and New Zealand.

The trip, which was announced earlier this summer, shortly after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex tied the knot at Windsor Castle, will last 16 days, and will see the newlyweds take on extensive royal duties in their capacity as Commonwealth ambassadors. They’ll also kickstart the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney, just over a year after memorably making their public debut as a couple at last year’s event in Toronto.

According to the Palace, the Sussexes will be focusing on ‘youth leadership, and projects being undertaken by young people to address the social, economic, and environmental challenges of the region,’ and will look to ‘shine a light on the work and aspirations of young people across the Commonwealth.’ Another cause close to the couple’s hearts is conservation, and Meghan and Harry will have the chance to see the region’s environmental projects at first hand.

Perhaps most striking is the number of events dedicated to women's rights, something which we can perhaps credit to the Duchess of Sussex's high-profile advocacy of feminist issues.

Oceania has become a popular destination for young royals embarking upon public life as a couple: Harry and Meghan will follow in the footsteps of Harry’s parents, Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, whose first royal tour as a married couple also took in Australia and New Zealand. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge embarked on a similar trip in 2014, which marked a one-year-old Prince George’s first overseas visit.

When does the royal tour begin and end?

Harry and Meghan will arrive in Sydney on Tuesday October 16th, and will fly back to the UK from Auckland, New Zealand 16 days later on Wednesday 31st.

Harry and Meghan in Sydney…

First up is six days in Sydney, which will start off with a visit to Admiralty House, the Sydney residence of Australia’s Governer-General, where Harry and Meghan will meet with representatives from the 18 nations participating in the Invictus Games. Then they’ll head to Taronga Zoo – the site of one of Prince George’s first royal engagements, when he famously rejected a toy bilby – to meet koalas and joeys (expect some very sweet photo opportunities). Things will conclude with a boat ride to the Sydney Opera House, followed by a walkabout.

The next few days will involve trips to local schools, meeting with youth leaders and a trip to Bondi beach, where they will ‘interact with others enjoying yoga and surfing’ (note the careful word choice: we are unlikely to see Meghan doing sun salutations, or Harry catching some waves). To mark the start of the Games, Harry will climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge and raise the Invictus flag; after that, the pair will spend two days at the sporting event.

… in Queensland

The second leg of the trip (on Monday 22nd October) will see Harry and Meghan travel to Fraser Island or K’gari, the world’s largest sand island and an important conservation site. Here, they will meet with the Butchulla People, traditional owners of K’gari, and take part in some typical ceremonies.

… in Fiji

Next up is a stop off in Fiji, first heading to the capital of Suva before embarking on a ‘three day programme experiencing the rich Fijian culture and generous hospitality.’ On the first day, they’ll attend a state dinner, hosted by the president, when Meghan is expected to wear a tiara for the first time since her wedding day. It’s also worth noting that the couple will attend solo engagements on this leg of the trip: Meghan is slated to attend a special tea to showcase organisations dedicated to women’s empowerment, a cause that we know is of paramount importance to the Duchess.

Look back at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's relationship timeline in the gallery below...

… in Tonga

The Sussexes will meet with Tonga’s King and Queen, and will attend a number of events with their daughter Princess Angelika, including a showcase for Tongan craft.

… and back in Sydney

The Duke and Duchess will then head back to Sydney, just in time for the Invictus Games closing ceremony, where they will both give speeches.

… in New Zealand

On Sunday 28th, Harry and Meghan will board a flight for New Zealand (along with some of the country’s Invictus competitors), where they will be met off the plane by Prime Minister Jacinda Arden. Here, their programme will encompass everything from conservation to traditional Maori ceremonies to mental health projects and the anniversary of women’s suffrage.

Do they get any time off?

Short answer: it certainly doesn't seem that way. Though previous reports had suggested that the couple might take the opportunity to reunite with Meghan’s former Suits co-stars, Gabriel Macht and Jacinda Barrett (who were rumoured to have invited the pair to stay at their home in Noosa on Australia’s Sunshine Coast) it appears that the Sussexes's busy schedule is unlikely to allow for much down time.