Speech by The Duke of Sussex at State Dinner


A speech by The Duke of Sussex at a State Dinner hosted by His Excellency The President of Fiji

Your Excellency President Konrote and First Lady Madam Sarote, Honourable Prime Minister, representatives from all Opposition Parties, Ladies and Gentlemen, Bula Vinaka.

It is a great pleasure for Meghan and me to be your guests here tonight on our first visit to Fiji. We were overwhelmed by the warm Fijian welcome we received from the people of these beautiful islands this afternoon in Albert Park, and all the way from the airport! It really is a privilege to be here.

As you know, Fiji has a long tradition of welcoming Royal visitors over the years and our two countries have enjoyed a close relationship and friendship.

We share Commonwealth values and common goals – a love of rugby and a sense of humour! Our ties run deep. Your soldiers fought with the British Armed Forces during the First and Second World Wars and continue to serve alongside our soldiers to this day, with more than 1,250 Fijians currently serving.

I must emphasise my respect, admiration and camaraderie with the Fijian soldiers that I served with in Afghanistan. We trained together, we fought together, and most importantly we laughed together.

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.

But this visit is also an opportunity to learn more about the future of Fiji, your economic growth, sustainable tourism development and social enterprises.  We are really looking forward to meeting the students at
the University of the South Pacific and the young leaders from all walks of life. The health and sustainability of this planet depends on the younger generation, and they are full of optimism so let’s listen to them.

I’m very glad that the British Government is increasing its support for Fiji and the region, and we are proud of the long-standing collaboration between the UK and Fiji on climate change; and in fact, the UK just hosted its own Talanoa on climate change across Great Britain earlier this month.

We look to Fiji to provide leadership on environmental issues which affect all of us, and that have been affecting you as an island nation for many, many years.

Fiji is a proud and vibrant culture whose people are so gentle but proud, honourable and resourceful.
Your country has demonstrated its fortitude and resilience by rebuilding your communities following the devastating Cyclone Winston two years ago. You continue to smile, you continue to have hope, and you continue to share what you have with others.

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.

Your Excellency, through you, I would also like to wish the people of Fiji the very best for a successful election in November.

Vinaka Vakalevu.

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