meghan-market

Duchess Meghan surprises crowds by leaving Fiji engagement just minutes after arriving – royal aides blame 'crowd management issues'

She had been due to spend longer chatting at the bustling Suva market

fiona ward

The Duchess of Sussex was ushered away from her last public engagement of the day in Fiji after just a few minutes on Wednesday – with royal aides revealing that "there were far larger crowds than expected". Meghan was at the bustling Suva Market in the Fijian capital to meet female entrepreneurs when the visit was cut short – she left with her team after just eight minutes, despite being due to stay and chat with the vendors for at least 15.

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Meghan arrived at the market amid large crowds

A royal aide said: "It was hot, humid and uncomfortably busy and there were far larger crowds than expected. She met everyone she was meant to meet and left. There would have been a lot of people who would have been keen to meet her but she did meet those who had hoped to. On advice she was taken out due to a crowd management issue."

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The Duchess, who is thought to be four months pregnant, had been due to spend a quarter of an hour chatting to the women who have been involved in the UN Women’s Project 'Markets for Change'. And while she did manage to speak to many, some members of the crowd opened up about their disappointment at not being able to meet Meghan too.

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She spoke with the female market vendors

"It's such a shame as we were all very excited to meet her," said one stall holder who had been positioned to expect a visit from the Duchess. "We started preparing for the visit three weeks ago and had been meant to meet her."

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Meghan's visit to the market marked the end of her second day in Fiji, where the majority of her engagements were solo. After visiting the University of the South Pacific campus with her husband, where she gave a short speech, her schedule involved a morning tea with the British High Commissioner to Fiji, followed by the trip to Suva Market.