Prince Harry is happy to leave royal tour speeches to his wife.
After Meghan Markle – who is expecting the couple’s first child – addressed students and staff at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, on Wednesday in her first speech of the royal tour, Harry made it known how proud he was of her.
The 34-year-old royal was also set to give a speech, but the host nearly forgot to introduce him, according to reporter Omid Scobie.
“Ten out of 10 for the recovery. I thought I got away with it,” Harry joked after reaching the podium, before praising Meghan. “No way that I could follow my wife after that.”
Meghan and Prince Harry visited the school to observe a cultural performance on the effects of climate change, before meeting students studying subjects from agriculture to women’s development.
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During his speech, Harry revealed a connection to the university shared with Queen Elizabeth.
“Fifty years ago, my grandmother, the Queen, personally delivered the Royal Charter to your university, so it’s a great honor for us to be here to celebrate this milestone and reflect on all you have achieved across the region in that time,” he said.
Harry announced four new scholarships to aid students studying climate change.
Meghan previously took the podium, wearing traditional garlands and a pink printed Figue dress, she shared her own college experience after giving the traditional greeting: “Bula vinaka!”
“As a university graduate, I know the personal feeling of pride and excitement that comes with attending university,” she began. “From the moment you receive your acceptance letter to the exams you spend countless late nights studying for, the lifelong friendships you make with your fellow alumni to the moment that you receive your diploma, the journey of higher education is an incredible, impactful and pivotal one. I am also fully aware of the challenges of being able to afford this level of schooling for many people around the world, myself included.”
Meghan, 37, said it was “worth every effort” as she paid for school though scholarships, financial aid programs and work-study.
“Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive the education they want, but more importantly the education they have the right to receive. And for women and girls in developing countries, this is vital,” she shared. “When girls are given the right tools to succeed, they can create incredible futures, not only for themselves but for all of those around them. And while progress has been made in many areas across the Commonwealth, there is always scope to offer more opportunities to the next generation of young adults, and specifically to young women.”
She ended her speech by saying: “My husband Harry and I wish you all the very best of luck as you continue your studies and your work. Your efforts now will help to make a positive future for each of you and your communities at large.”
Before she became the Duchess of Sussex (and a film and TV star!), Meghan was a regular college student at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She double-majored in theater and international relations, and was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
Meghan‘s former professor, Harvey Young, who had her in his “Studies in Black Performance” class in the spring of 2003, told the Chicago Sun-Times that she was a “respectful” student and thought she had a lot of potential in the industry.
“She reminded me of a lot of our other very promising alumni, in that she was passionate about theater and really had a sense of self-confidence that you could imagine would allow her to weather the storms of the professional world,” Young said.