Harry and Meghan follow in Queen’s footsteps on Fiji visit

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited Fiji as part of a six-month tour following her ascension to the throne in 1952.

She became Head of the Commonwealth upon the death of her father on February 6 1952 and visited Bermuda and Jamaica, before boarding SS Gothic to visit Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand and Australia between 1953 and 1954.

Royalty – Queen Elizabeth II Commonwealth Tour – Fiji
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh step from the dais after receiving a native welcome to Fiji in Albert Park, Suva, in 1953 (PA)

The visit of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to the Fijian Islands partly followed the path trodden by Harry’s grandmother and grandfather nearly 65 years ago.

The mother and father-to-be were treated to a welcome ceremony in Albert Park in Fiji’s capital, Suva, before heading to the Grand Pacific Hotel and waving from the balcony.

The Queen was met by a fleet of canoes from Suva as the Gothic made its way to the capital and she was greeted with a bouquet of flowers by then three-year-old Mei Kamona Gunilau.

Royalty – Coronation World Tour – SS Gothic off Suva
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh receive gifts from a native chief during a “Ceremony of Welcome” on board the SS Gothic off Suva in 1953 (PA)

Both the Queen and Philip and the Sussexes travelled from Albert Park to the Grand Pacific Hotel during their stay.

Royal tour of Fiji – Day One
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex wave from the balcony of the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva (Phil Noble/PA)

In the former’s case, 200 runners with torches guided the way, but Harry and Meghan were greeted by a sea of smartphones as they were escorted by police.

The duke mentioned the symmetry in his speech at a dinner hosted by the Fijian president, saying: “This visit is particularly nostalgic for us as a young married couple – my grandparents stayed in this very hotel, the Grand Pacific, a number of times over the years.”

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