Couple seek advice on Zika

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle arrive in Australia. Picture: SUPPLIED

PRINCE Harry and Meghan Markle have sought medical advice about the risk of Zika virus on the islands of Fiji and Tonga and there will be no change to their planned visit to the two countries.

A statement released by the Kensington Palace said The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made no changes to their tour to avoid visiting the islands.

The Duke and Duchess who are in Australia will travel by a chartered flight to Suva (Nausori International Airport), where they will embark on a three-day program starting on October 23.

According to their schedule released by the British Government, upon their arrival, the royal highnesses will be greeted by a guard of honour at the airport, before calling on the President at Borron House in Suva.

The Duke and Duchess will then attend an official welcome ceremony at Albert Park.

The ceremony will mirror the format of the one attended by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1953.

The public event will involve a number of traditional elements of Fijian culture, including dance performances, the presentation of the tabua (whales tooth) and a kava ceremony.

From there, the Duke and Duchess will leave Albert Park for the Grand Pacific Hotel to attend a reception and a State dinner hosted by the President, where the Duke will speak.

On October 24, his royal highness will lay a wreath at the War Memorial, and meet a number of Fijian war veterans, some of whom served with the British Army.

The royal couple will then visit the University of the South Pacific campus in Suva, where they will observe a cultural performance on the effects of climate change before meeting students.

The Duke will make a short speech in his capacity as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador and the Duchess will say a few words. From here, their program will split — The Duke will travel to Colo-i-Suva Forest Park, and the Duchess to the British High Commissioner’s residence in Suva.

At Colo-i-Suva, Prince Harry will plant a tree and unveil a plaque to mark its dedication.

He will also meet schoolchildren, student conservators, representatives from sustainable tourism industries, and local landowners and villagers to see how the rainforest impacts upon their education and livelihoods.

On the other hand, the Duchess will attend a morning tea at the British High Commissioner’s residence to showcase women’s organisations which operate throughout Fiji.

The Duchess will then travel to the Suva Municipal Market to meet some of the female vendors who have become empowered through the UN Market Project for women.

On October 25, the Duke and Duchess will travel to Nadi, where they will attend a special event at Nadi International Airport.

After an official welcome ceremony, the Duke and Duchess will unveil a statue commemorating Sergeant Talaiasi Labalaba, a British-Fijian soldier who lost his life in the 1972 Battle of Mirbat.

The event will be attended by the President, and senior representatives from government and the armed forces.

From Nadi International Airport, their royal highnesses will take a chartered flight to Tonga.