Meghan Markle gave her first royal tour speech, and it was a powerful one. Speaking to students and staff at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji, the Duchess of Sussex talked about the value of education and the cost of university.
Rocking a pink printed Figue dress with traditional garlands, she kept it real by sharing her own university experience and how it personally affected her. She opened the speech with 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.”
Getting honest about the difficulties of paying for life as a student, she said, “It was through scholarships, financial aid programs and work-study where my earnings from a job on campus went directly towards my tuition – that I was able to attend university. And, without question, it was worth every effort.”
She continued, “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. 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.”
Meghan then went on to announce two new grants that support female staff members at the school.
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.”