Prince Harry and Meghan receive heartbreaking news from Down Under

By Meaghan Wray

During the Duke and Duchess of Sussex ’s overseas tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the Kingdom of Tonga, they had the opportunity to meet many inspirational young people, like Eva McGauley, who are making differences in their communities. The couple are likely very saddened to hear of the young woman’s passing, four years after being diagnosed with cancer at 15.

MORE: The best quotes from Duchess Meghan’s powerful royal tour speeches

Eva, who was 19 years old when she died, didn’t let her disease hold her back. In fact, she used her experience to start a charity called Eva’s Wish, which fundraises for initiatives supporting victims of sexual violence. Her organization has raised over $65,000 so far. Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan first met the New Zealand native while attending the Prime Minister’s reception in Auckland. A post to her Instagram revealed the tragic news, that she lost her battle to metastatic nasopharyngeal (neck) cancer on Nov. 10: “We are heartbroken to tell you all that Eva left us yesterday morning. It was very fast and peaceful and she was surrounded by her loved ones. Thank you so much to all of you who have followed Eva’s journey and supported her dreams.”

Three weeks prior to her death, Eva shared her excitement about meeting the duke and duchess on her social media, writing: “I have had the most amazing morning! I am so honoured and thankful to have been invited to Government House to meet with Meghan and Harry this morning!!! They are such kind, down-to-earth people who were really interested in the work Eva’s Wish does." The inspiring young woman also gifted mom-to-be Meghan a copy of a book she was featured in called 200 Women. The former actress was likely delighted by the present, given her passion for celebrating the lives and accomplishments of women just like Eva.

Prince Harry and Meghan's final tour stop was New Zealand. Photo: © Getty Images

It was a wonderful way to wrap up their royal tour at the end of October, which saw them travel around the south Pacific for 16 days, meeting with locals and learning about all of the wonderful initiatives born from the perseverance of each country’s young people, women and minorities. Meghan made waves with one of her speeches in particular, which touched on the importance of women’s rights. In celebration of New Zealand’s 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage, the Suits alum took the podium, saying: "Yes, women's suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness. Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote but also about what that represents. The basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community. The involvement and voice that allows you to be a part of the very world you are a part of."

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