Pregnant Meghan Markle will visit Fiji and Tonga on royal tour - despite zika risk

Danielle Stacey
Royal Correspondent
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are expecting their first child (PA)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they are expecting their first child together, just hours after they touched down in Sydney for their 16-day royal tour of Australia.

Their itinerary for the visit includes engagements in Fiji and Tonga, countries which have been classified as having a moderate risk of Zika virus transmission. 

The disease is mainly spread by mosquitoes and for most people, it is a very mild infection and isn’t harmful. 

However, it may be more serious for pregnant women, as there’s evidence it causes birth defects – in particular, abnormally small heads (microcephaly).

A spokesman for Kensington Palace has said that there will be no change to Meghan and Harry’s programme in Fiji and Tonga next week, despite Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice that pregnant women should not travel to the region.

Harry and Meghan attended Princess Eugenie’s wedding (PA)

They said they have sought medical advice and have decided to go ahead with their plans.

The royal aide added that Meghan has had her 12-week scan and is in “good health.”

Harry will carry out a couple of solo engagements in Suva, Fiji during the visit.

On Wednesday 24 October, the Duke will lay a wreath at the Fiji War Memorial, before travelling to Colo-i-Suva forest to unveil the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy Project.

The Duchess will attend a morning tea at the British High Commissioner’s Residence and visit Suva Market to meet those involved in the Un Womens’s project ‘Markets for Change.’

On Friday, the couple attended Princess Eugenie’s wedding at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, with the couple seemingly keeping a low profile and Meghan wearing an oversized navy Givenchy coat.

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Harry and Meghan touch down in Sydney