Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirm first official royal tour details

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will tour Australia in October [Photo: Getty]

The confetti has barely settled after the spectacle that was the royal wedding, but Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are already making plans for their first official royal tour as a married couple.

Kensington Palace announced this morning that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will make an official visit to Australia, Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga, and New Zealand in the autumn.

The tour has been planned to coincide with the 2018 Invictus Games, which will take place in Sydney from October 20 to 27.

The Invictus Games has played a big role in the couple’s relationship. Having been inspired by the injured soldiers he met during his time in Afghanistan, Prince Harry founded the games in 2014.

And last year the Toronto games also famously marked Harry and Meghan’s first public appearance together where Meghan wore ripped jeans and oversized white shirt, dubbed the ‘husband shirt’.

And the rest is royal history.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their first public appearance at the Invictus Games [Photo: Getty]

There has been speculation about the royal tour for months, but confirmation came in a statement from Kensington Palace released on Sunday night.

According to the press release, the couple have been invited to Australia and New Zealand by the countries’ respective governments, and are visiting Fiji and Tonga at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

It will mark the first time Harry, 33, and Meghan, 36, have visited Australia as a couple.

The Duke of Sussex travelled to Sydney by himself in June 2017 to celebrate the beginning of a 500-day countdown to Sydney’s Invictus Games.

Although Kensington Palace said more details about the visit would be released in due course, the Australian section of Harry and Meghan’s tour could include a visit to Bathurst and the Hunter Valley, and a day at Sydney’s Randwick Racecourse.

Previous royal tours of Australia

It won’t be the first time a royal couple have visited the region. Back in 2014 the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge carried out an official tour of Australia with a very young, and super cute Prince George in tow.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge undertook an official royal tour of Australian and New Zealand in 2014 [Photos: Getty]

And earlier this year Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall travelled to the Gold Coast to open the Commonwealth Games.

Harry and Meghan will also be following in the footsteps of Prince Harry’s parents, Charles and Princess Diana, who also travelled to Australia and New Zealand on their first overseas tour together.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana in Australia in April 1983 [Photo: Rex]

For their first official overseas tour as a married couple, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Canada and the United States just two months after their 2011 wedding.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge undertook an official royal tour of Australian and New Zealand in 2014 [Photos: Getty]

Speaking about the official tour Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the Duke and Duchess of Sussex could expect a very warm welcome.

“As the founder of the Invictus Games, The Duke of Sussex has become a champion for war veterans around the world, including in Australia,” he said in a statement.

“His attendance, alongside The Duchess of Sussex, will be a wonderful highlight for the more than 500 competitors and thousands of spectators.”

Having already made clear their commitment to the Commonwealth, the group of 53 countries that are mainly former British colonies (Australia, Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand are all members), the visit could offer a hint at the work the couple may undertake moving forward.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have previously outlined their plans to travel to Commonwealth countries. “With lots of young people running around the Commonwealth, that’s where we’ll spend most of our time hopefully,” Harry said in an interview after they announced their engagement.

Back in April Meghan also made history when she attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, before she was even an official royal.

Harry, who was given the new title of Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, also spoke at the event revealing that he was “incredibly grateful that the woman I am about to marry, Meghan, will be joining me in this work, of which she too is hugely excited to take part in.”

The Duchess of Sussex’s own page on the official royal.uk website also confirms that Meghan will undertake royal duties in support of the Queen both in the UK and overseas.

The couple are also expected to make issues surrounding youth violence a priority in terms of their future charitable interests.

Representatives from The Royal Foundation previously confirmed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are researching the work that’s taking place in the UK to combat youth violence.

It comes after a visit to Reprezent, a radio station in Brixton that was set up in 2008 after a rise in knife crime earlier this year.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will tour Australia in October [Photo: Getty]

Kensington Palace has so far not announced what causes Meghan wishes to focus on but the biography on her official page explains that charity work has played a huge role in her life so far.

The short biography details that the Duchess of Sussex “had a keen awareness of social issues and actively participated in charitable work” from a young age.

Meghan also volunteered at a soup kitchen in Los Angeles between the ages of 13 and 17 before going on to become the UN Women’s Advocate for Women’s Political Participation and Leadership in 2015.

Her page then describes her work with World Vision, revealing that she completed a learning mission with the charity in 2017 to “bring a greater awareness to girls’ lack of access to education”.

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