The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, appear in the picture greeting the supporters on the balcony of the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, Fiji, upon their arrival today.

As they watch the progress of the Duke and the Duchess of Sussex on their farm tour of the Pacific, memories must be flooded for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Because it is on the islands of the South Seas that so many members of the Royal Family have had some of their happiest and most unforgettable experiences, whether a minister in the Cabinet takes him through the streets on a grassy slope or on a trip in a caravan of vehicles. Standing, torch avas.

It is in the Pacific where the Queen has had her only experience of being named. as monarch.

Even though Fiji is the only place where he has really abdicated, it seems that few of his former subjects have noticed. The region was also the home of one of his favorite fellow monarchs.

So Harry and Meghan must have had many tips before this week's arrival in Fiji. The Queen knows it much better than most of the important European nations, since she has made half a dozen visits. After all, she was the queen of Fiji during the first 35 years of her reign.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, appear in the picture greeting the supporters on the balcony of the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, Fiji, upon their arrival today.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, appear in the picture greeting the supporters on the balcony of the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, Fiji, upon their arrival today.

Today's scenes recall the Queen's visit to Prince Philip of the Duke of Edinburgh after her coronation in 1953.

Today's scenes recall the Queen's visit to Prince Philip of the Duke of Edinburgh after her coronation in 1953.

Today's scenes recall the Queen's visit to Prince Philip of the Duke of Edinburgh after her coronation in 1953.

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His first trip was in 1953, when he arrived on a ferry called the Gothic (Britannia was still finishing), shortly before Christmas.

Before reaching the mainland, she was received by a delegation of local chiefs who rowed towards the ship to perform the traditional welcome ceremony with a tabua or whale tooth.

Comprised of more than 320 islands, Fiji became part of the British Empire at its own request in 1874 (and for the second time, too).

In other words, he did not annex or invade, a fact that has always shaped his feelings towards Britain and the Crown.

While the queen and the duke were driving, they were escorted by "warriors" with torches that ran alongside the real Rolls-Royce, like the bodyguards that run alongside the limo of Kim Jong-un of North Korea.

On subsequent trips, the Queen would arrive at the Royal Yacht, although the crew of Britannia could be quite elusive regarding the traditional welcome to the whale teeth.

The tribal chiefs would arrive asphyxiated with coconut oil that would leave terrible stains on the covers and carpets of the yacht.

The Prince of Wales received a grass skirt for use by a head of the island of Vanatu, in the South Pacific, on his visit to this place in April.

The Prince of Wales received a grass skirt for use by a head of the island of Vanatu, in the South Pacific, on his visit to this place in April.

The Prince of Wales received a grass skirt for use by a head of the island of Vanatu, in the South Pacific, on his visit to this place in April.

Prince Harry, 34, is portrayed receiving similar gifts in Suva, Fiji, with his pregnant wife Meghan Markle, 37, today

Prince Harry, 34, is portrayed receiving similar gifts in Suva, Fiji, with his pregnant wife Meghan Markle, 37, today

Prince Harry, 34, is portrayed receiving similar gifts in Suva, Fiji, with his pregnant wife Meghan Markle, 37, today

After two military coups in 1987, a local army officer was appointed head of state, leaving the governor general, the queen's representative, in an impossible position. So the queen told him to quit.

As I explain in my new book, Queen of the World, Margaret Thatcher was horrified, warning the Queen that this amounted to an abdication. & # 39; What it was! & # 39; The private secretary of the queen, Sir William Heseltine, told me, and added: "I have a swing in my bag."

However, the British government could not formally advise her in her capacity as Queen of Fiji. With a heavy heart, the monarch decided it was time to leave.

But something strange happened. Although the queen was no longer the head of state, the Fijians continued as if she were.

They kept it on coins and bills and his photo remained on the walls of government buildings, where it remains today. It was not until 2012 that they finally took his face off the coin.

Harry was on stage while they gave him the whale tooth, a sign of wealth, in the vakasobu, before he was given kava, a drink made from a mashed plant root in the yakona vakaturaga.

Harry was on stage while they gave him the whale tooth, a sign of wealth, in the vakasobu, before he was given kava, a drink made from a mashed plant root in the yakona vakaturaga.

Harry was on stage while they gave him the whale tooth, a sign of wealth, in the vakasobu, before he was given kava, a drink made from a mashed plant root in the yakona vakaturaga.

During a visit to Suva in 1982, the Duke of Edinburgh also drank kava, like the one given to Prince Harry today.

During a visit to Suva in 1982, the Duke of Edinburgh also drank kava, like the one given to Prince Harry today.

During a visit to Suva in 1982, the Duke of Edinburgh also drank kava, like the one given to Prince Harry today.

The queen was also photographed drinking the traditional Fijian drink on an official visit to Fiji in October 1982

The queen was also photographed drinking the traditional Fijian drink on an official visit to Fiji in October 1982

The queen was also photographed drinking the traditional Fijian drink on an official visit to Fiji in October 1982

St. Edward's crown is still in Fiji uniforms. Young Fijians still gather to join the British Army and there has been a proposal to remove the Union flag from the Fiji flag.

Nor, for its part, the Queen, the Queen has ever renounced the title granted for the first time to Queen Victoria. So she is still Tui Viti – "Monarch of the Fijians".

From Fiji, the Sussex will move to Tonga, another archipelago with a special place in British royal hearts, and not only because the state limousine was, until recently, a London taxi.

For Queen Salote of Tonga she was one of the stars of the Coronation of the Queen in 1953, refusing to have the roof raised in her carriage while processing through London under torrential rain.

I wanted the crowd to see it and it was an instant success with the British public. Later that year, she participated in the grandest banquet in the history of Tonga when the Queen sailed to the capital, Nuku & alofa.

Each village in Tonga had to provide a specific number of pola, vast patches of pork, chicken, yam, fish and crabs seven feet long and cooked in coconut leaves. In total, more than 4,000 pigs were slaughtered for a banquet that did not include silverware or chairs.

The couple greets from the balcony of the Grand Pacific Hotel, where they attend a reception hosted by the President of Fiji

The couple greets from the balcony of the Grand Pacific Hotel, where they attend a reception hosted by the President of Fiji

The couple greets from the balcony of the Grand Pacific Hotel, where they attend a reception hosted by the President of Fiji

Everything is still recorded in the mind of the Queen to this day. During a recent conversation with a Tonga winner of the Queen's Young Leaders Award, her eyes lit up when she spoke about the first visit and the exotic orchestra that had played her.

"We had people playing their nose flutes outside the window," he recalled. & # 39; It was the most extraordinary thing to do. It sounds terribly uncomfortable, but they do it quite well.

The only challenge, he said, had been the lack of chairs at Queen Salote's banquet. "The only thing that was difficult for me was to sit a lot with my legs crossed."

One of the South Pacific islands that the Sussex will not visit this time is the Queen's smallest kingdom, Tuvalu.

Upon arrival in 1982, she and Prince Philip were taken ashore in richly decorated canoes that were then taken to the beach and then through the capital.

Among those who raised the Queen and her canoe through the city was the country's finance minister, Henry Naisali, who was dressed in an elaborate grass skirt. While later joking with him, it was the first time he saw a haystack with sunglasses.

The next time the Sussex are touring the Pacific, they may also find time to visit Vanuatu, where the residents of a remote village revere Prince Philip as a deity. One day, they will also visit Papua New Guinea.

Known as "PNG", this is the only country that has named the Queen as their monarch instead of inheriting it.

Before the independence of Australia in 1975, he opted for a republican constitution.

Then the politicians realized that they were never going to agree with a head of state and they asked the Queen if she would do the honors for an interim period of ten years. More than 40 years later, there is no appetite to change things.

While Harry and Meghan are about to discover, and to the incomprehensible dismay of Republicans around the world, you will not really find a more devoted group of realists than in the middle of the South Pacific.

Queen of the world by Robert Hardman. Published by Century. £ 25

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