The pregnant Duchess of Sussex was urged to “take care of herself” by a guest at an official reception in Tonga. Meghan and the Duke of Sussex landed in the Pacific nation on Thursday afternoon and had a private audience with King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u in the early evening.
The couple then attended an official welcome reception and dinner at Consular House in the capital Nuku’alofa, where they met dignitaries including Justice Charles Cato, a New Zealand judge, and his Russian wife, Miriam.
Mrs Cato said: “I asked, how does she feel? She responded ‘Very well, thank you.’ I said ‘No visible signs yet!’” That prompted the duchess to look down at the front of her dress and laugh in agreement.
Mrs Cato, 41, added: “As a doctor, I was a bit concerned about her taking all these long trips. I’m a mother of two. I know how it feels. “I asked her to take care of herself. She promised to do so.”
Harry and Meghan met an array of government ministers at the reception, including the Environment Minister. The duke told him that he was “a very important man” as the couple discussed with him the effect of global warming on sea levels.
Schoolchildren in Tonga were given the day off and welcomed the royal visitors, lining the streets between the airport in Fua’amotu and Nuku’alofa – a 40-minute drive. Harry told Education Minister Penisimani Fifita: “Thank you for giving the schoolchildren the day off, to line the street from the airport.
“It was very nice to see so many Tongan flags.”
In a speech at the event, Harry said that going to Tonga was like visiting “an extended family”.
He said: “My grandparents have visited a number of times and Your Majesties have been frequent visitors to see my family over the years.
“We have a strong bond as members of the Commonwealth; we share so much history – and common values.
“Tongan soldiers served with our allies during the First and Second World Wars and later independently to offer support in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
The duke added: “We are deeply grateful to you all for welcoming Meghan and me to Tongatapu (the main island of Tonga) and to Your Majesties for making us feel at home here.”
He also read a message from his grandmother, the Queen.
“Your Majesties, it gives me great pleasure that my grandson and his wife are visiting the Kingdom of Tonga.
“Our two families have enjoyed a deep and warm friendship over many years, and I hope that our close relationship continues with the next generation.
“To this day, I remember with fondness Queen Salote’s attendance at my own Coronation, while Prince Philip and I have cherished memories from our three wonderful visits to your country in 1953, 1970 and 1977.
“In the months and years ahead, I wish Your Majesties and the people of Tonga every good fortune and happiness.”
Harry signed off his speech with “malo ‘aupito”, Tongan for “thank you very much”.