The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been invited to visit the Commonwealth Realms of Australia and New Zealand by the countries' respective Governments, and Fiji and Tonga at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This will be The Duke and Duchess's first joint visit to these four countries.
Across this sixteen day tour, Their Royal Highnesses' programme will focus on youth leadership, and projects being undertaken by young people to address the social, economic, and environmental challenges of the region. The Duke is particularly keen to highlight these youth-led initiatives in his new role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, and to shine a light on the work and aspirations of young people across the Commonwealth.
The visit will also concentrate on environmental and conservation efforts, from engaging the local community in forest protection schemes in Colo-i-Suva, to the promotion of sustainable tourism on Fraser Island. The Duke and Duchess will dedicate a number of projects to The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy in each country, learning more about local conservation initiatives, whilst visiting some of the region's most beautiful landscapes.
A major focus for Their Royal Highnesses will also be the Invictus Games Sydney 2018. The Duke and Duchess are excited to see Sydney fully embrace the Invictus spirit, and to support the competitors as they compete across a range of sports at some of the city's most iconic venues. This year's Games will emphasise the integral role played by servicemen and women's family and friends, and Their Royal Highnesses will spend time with a number of the competitors' supporters as they cheer them on from the side-lines.
There is a long history of friendship between The Royal Family and Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand, and their links with the UK are extensive. The Duke and Duchess are very much looking forward to experiencing the unique cultures and customs of these four Commonwealth countries, and have asked that this tour allow them opportunities to meet as many Australians, Fijians, Tongans and New Zealanders as possible. Together they look forward to building an enduring relationship with the people of the region.
Australia Part 1
The tour started in Sydney, Australia, where Their Royal Highnesses were officially welcomed by the Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, and Lady Cosgrove.
At Taronga Zoo, The Duke and Duchess officially opened the new Taronga Institute of Science and Learning, as well as meeting two koalas and their joeys that are part of the Zoo's breeding programme.
At Barranga Dance Company, Their Royal Highnesses viewed a rehearsal of 'Spirit 2018' by the Company - an internationally acclaimed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander modern dance company.
The Duke and Duchess were then able to meet many Australians who turned out to welcome them at the iconic Sydney Opera House.
The Duke and The Duchess of Sussex visited Dubbo to celebrate 90 years of the Royal Flying Doctor, which provides health care and 24 hour emergency service to people over an area of 7.69 million sq kilometres.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended the aircraft naming and unveiling of the newest plane in the fleet.
Later, The Duke and Duchess visited Mountain View Farm and spoke to farmers who were dealing with the impact of drought.
Afterwards, Their Royal Highnesses spent time at Dubbo’s Picnic in the Park, where The Duke gave a speech.
Later Their Royal Highnesses met students and staff at Dubbo College.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex to hear about their work to improve life skills and employment prospects for Indigenous men, and reduce barriers keeping Indigenous female students from completing their education.
On Thursday 18 October, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent time in Melbourne – visiting organisations, which help to support and develop skills of young people across Australia.
Their Royal Highnesses met some of Australia's inspiring young leaders – including Queen's Young Leader Hunter Johnson, who founded The Man Cave Australia, a preventative mental health and emotional intelligence programme for boys and young men.
Later, The Duke and Duchess joined a cooking session alongside young people involved in the Charcoal Lane Mission Australia training programme for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.
Outside, Their Royal Highnesses walked past a a wall painting which pays homage to Fitzroy's Aboriginal identity.
Next it was on to South Melbourne Beach, where The Duke and Duchess spoke to lifeguards before taking part in a beach clean up. In addition to beach cleans, Beach Patrol raise awareness about the issue of plastic in the environment and oceans, which a strong focus on education the younger generation.
During their visit to Melbourne, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex boarded an iconic Melbourne Tram with six young leaders from local schools in the city.
On Friday 19 October, The Duke and Duchess visited Bondi Beach in Sydney. Their Royal Highnesses joined members of OneWave, a group that encourages people to share their experiences of living with mental health issues.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited the National Rugby League's 'In League In Harmony' programme at Macarthur Girls High school.
The Programme works to unite and empower young people to be advocates of positive change in their communities.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended a call with Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition, at Admiralty House today.
Their Royal Highness also attended a call with Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister of Australia, at Kirribilli House.
The Duke of Sussex, Invictus Games competitors and the Prime Minister of Australia climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge to view the raising of the Invictus flag ahead of the Invictus Games Sydney opening on Saturday 20 October 2018.
Sydney is to host 500 competitors and 1000 family and friends from 20-27 October. The Games will feature competition in 11 sports with events being held across Greater Sydney, including Sydney Olympic Park and Sydney Harbour.
Day Five - Anzac Memorial
On Saturday 20 October, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended the official opening of the Anzac Memorial Centenary Extension in Sydney.
As part of the 100th Anniversary of the First World War, New South Wales Government's 'Centenary Project' will allow the Memorial to tell the stories of NSW's involvement in all wars and peace-keeping mission and honour those who have served.
The Invictus Games
In the evening, The Duke and The Duchess of Sussex attended the opening of the Invictus Games Sydney.
This year's Games emphasised the integral role played by servicemen and women's family and friends, and Their Royal Highnesses will spend time with a number of the competitors' supporters as they cheer them on from the side-lines.
Read The Duke of Sussex's speech at the Invictus Sydney opening ceremony #IG2018.
On Sunday 21, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended the InvictusGames 2018 Sailing competition, making its debut in this year's #InvictusGames — after the final The Duke and Duchess caught up with Team Canada in Sydney Harbour.
The Duke of Sussex founded the Invictus Games, first held in London in 2014, which use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women.
Day Six - Fraser Island
On the final day of the first leg of their Australia tour, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited K’gari, as it is known by the Butchulla people, as part of the dedication of the site to the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy.
Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, and has a total of 206,970 acres of protected forest. Among its many striking features, the Island is characterised by its long beaches, tall rainforest, coastal heaths, freshwater lakes and ever-evolving sand dunes.
The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project was launched in 2015 with the aim of creating a unique network of forest conservation initiatives across the 53 countries of the Commonwealth.
The Duke took part in a traditional Welcome to Country Smoking Ceremony with the Butchulla People before unveiling a plaque for the dedication of the Forests of K’gari to the QCC before visiting one of Fraser Island’s iconic lakes. Later, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex strolled along picturesque Kingfisher Bay together before they begin the next stage of their tour in Fiji.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex began their three-day tour of Fiji by experiencing the rich Fijian culture and generous hospitality.
Their Royal Highnesses were by a Guard of Honour at the airport, before calling on His Excellency The President of Fiji at Borron House. The Duke and Duchess then attended an official welcome ceremony in the city centre's Albert Park. The ceremony, known as the Veirqaraqaravi Vakavanua, embodies Fijian cultural identity and heritage, and will mirror in format that of the one attended by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh in 1953. It involves a number of traditional elements of Fijian culture, including dance performances, the presentation of the Tabua, and a Kava ceremony.
The Duke and Duchess received a warm welcome, with crowds lining the streets to see them. The Duke of Sussex referred to the warmth of the Fijian people in his speech later in the day at a State Banquet held to mark the visit, saying, 'All over the world Fiji is renowned for its incredible natural beauty and hospitality. We, as a couple, feel very lucky to be spending part of our tour as your guests.'
The Duke of Sussex began Day Two of his visit to Fiji by meeting Fijian war veterans - some of whom served with the British Armed Forces - at the Fiji War Memorial. Links between the British Military and Fiji continue to this day with more than 1250 Fijians currently serving in the British Army.
Then, joined by The Duchess, Their Royal Highnesses watched a cultural performance on the effects of climate change the University of the South Pacific campus in Suva, before meeting students studying subjects from agriculture to women’s development.
The Duke travelled Colo-i-Suva Forest Park - an indigenous forest site housing many flora and fauna native to Fiji, and species including the Fiji Tree Frog. His Royal Highness dedicated the site to The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy an met school children, student conservators, representatives from sustainable tourism industries, and local landowners and villagers to see how the rainforest impacts upon their education and livelihoods.
Meanwhile, The Duchess of Sussex attended a tea at the High Commissioner’s Residence.
To finish the Fiji visit, Their Royal Highnesses travelled to the city of Nadi, where they unveiled a new statue that commemorated Sergeant Talaiasi Labalalba - British-Fijian soldier who lost his life in the 1972 Battle of Mirbat.
The Royal Highness The Princess Angelika Latufuipeka officially welcomed The Duke and Duchess to Tonga.
His Majesty King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau'u then hosted an official Reception and Dinner - with traditional Tongan entertainment.
During the dinner, The Duke gave a speech which included a message from The Queen:
Your Majesties, it gives me great pleasure that my grandson and his wife are visiting The Kingdom of Tonga. Our two families have enjoyed a deep and warm friendship over many years, and I hope that our close relationship continues with the next generation.
To this day, I remember with fondness Queen Salote's attendance at my own Coronation, while Prince Philip and I have cherished memories from our three wonderful visits to your country in 1953, 1970 and 1977.
In the months and years ahead, I wish Your Majesties and the people of Tonga every good fortune and happiness.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex started day two of their visit to Tonga with a meeting with the Prime Minister of Tonga and Cabinet ministers.
Next, Their Royal Highnesses attended an exhibition that celebrates Tongan handicrafts and products, including traditional mats and 'tapa' cloth.
At Tupou College, The Duke and Duchess dedicated two forest reserves at the school's on-site forest; the Toloa Forest Reserve and Eua National Park Forest Reserve, to The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy.
The Toloa reserve is the last remaining forest area on Tonga's main island of Tongatapu.
Tonga is leading by example and understands deeply the impact of environmental changes
The Duke of Sussex
Australia Part 2
Following visits to Fiji and Tonga, The Duke and Duchess travelled back to Sydney, Australia for the Australia Geographic Society Awards.
At the ceremony, The Duke gave a speech as he accepted an outstanding contribution to global conservation on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen.
The final day of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's Australian visit fell on the final day of the Invictus Games.
Their Royal Highnesses spent the afternoon at the wheelchair basketball finals at the Quay Centre, meeting athletes and enjoying the competition.
In the evening, The Duke and Duchess attended the Closing Ceremony at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. The event, at which they both spoke, was a celebration of the outstanding achievements and inspiring spirit of the Invictus Games competitors.
The Duke and Duchess left Sydney on a Royal New Zealand AirForce flight, travelling with members of the the New Zealand Invictus Games team. They were met by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern before attending a traditional welcome ceremony on the lawns of Government House.
Their Royal Highnesses then travelled to the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park where they laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, and visited the newly unveiled UK War Memorial.
In the evening, The Duke and Duchess attended a reception hosted by the Governor General celebrating the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand.
The next morning, The Duke and Duchess visited Maranui Café in Wellington where they met young New Zealanders supporting others in the area of mental health.
Then it was on to Abel Tasman National Park at the north-Eastern tip of the South Island - an area famed for its golden beaches and native bush walks. Their Royal Highnesses were greeted by a traditional welcome ceremony on arrival, before embarking on a trail walk with one of the park’s rangers to learn more about the history of the forest and the environmental challenges of protecting the park’s habitat.
That evening back in Wellington, The Duke and Duchess visited Courtenay Creative for an event celebrating the city’s thriving creative arts scene. Courtney Creative runs programmes to give young people the tools and experience to excel in the film industry.
At North Shore Riding Club, The Duke and Duchess unveiled a Queen's Commonwealth Canopy Dedication, which included planting a Kōwhai tree, the flower of which was one of 53 on the veil of The Duchess's wedding dress, representing each nation of the Commonwealth.
With the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, Their Royal Highnesses visited Pillars, a charity operating across New Zealand that supports children who have a parent in prison by providing special mentoring schemes.
As a wedding present to The Duke and Duchess, the Government of New Zealand donated money to Pillars, and during the visit they were able to meet some of the children who have directly benefitted from funding.
It has been a real pleasure to meet you and in particular, to spend time with the four award winners, your mentors and families.
The Duke of Sussex
In the evening, The Duke and Duchess attended a reception hosted by the Prime Minister at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, where the guests were predominantly young people in the 17 to 25-year age group who are making significant contributions to the wellbeing of their communities, representing the future of New Zealand.
The Final Day
During the final day of The Duke and Duchess's Tour, Their Royal Highnesses watched the Haka Pōwhiri, the Dance of Welcome, outside the Wharenui.
At Te Papaiouru Marae in Rotorua, Korowai (feather cloaks) are placed on the shoulders of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in preparation for the Pōwhiri, the Ceremony of Welcome.
With the Mayor of Rotorua, Steve Chadwick, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex met members of the public during a walk in the Rotorua Government Gardens.
The Duke and Duchess took a stroll along the Redwoods Treewalk in Rotorua, a series of 23 suspension bridges traversing the gaps between 22 majestic 100-year old trees, each with their own living deck to ensure viewing platforms adapt to the trees’ rapid growth without any harm.