Duchess Meghan gives inspiring speech about women and education while on university visit in Fiji

By Jessica Pollack

From a young age, Meghan Markle was a proven public speaker - and that's made her a confident addition to the Royal Family, especially while on her first royal tour. While visiting the University of the South Pacific in Fiji with her husband on Oct. 23, where the couple learned about climate change and met students studying a wide range of subjects, the pregnant duchess made a few remarks.

She spoke to a cause very close to her heart, the importance of education for women, who can "create incredible futures" when "given the right tools to succeed." She also made an exciting announcement that two new grants will be awarded at Fijian universities by The Association of Commonwealth Universities, one of the Queen's patronages, to fund workshops to empower female staff.

Scroll down to watch Meghan's speech...

The duchess wore a beautiful dress by Figue for the occasion. Photo: © Getty Images

The future mom shared her belief that learning should be for all. “Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive the education they want, but more importantly the education they have the right to receive," she said. "And for women and girls in developing countries, this is vital." She added: "I know the personal feeling of pride and excitement that comes with attending university. 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."

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The duchess also gave some insight into her experience as a student, where money wasn't in great supply. "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 concluded the speech with a toast to the students. "My husband Harry and I wish you all the very best of luck as you continue your studies and work. Your efforts now will help to make a positive future for each of you and your communities at large. Congratulations to you all!"

And this isn't the first time she aced her remarks! When the 37-year-old spoke for three minutes without notes at the launch of her first solo charity project, Together: Our Community Cookbook, it's safe to say the world was listening. During her impassioned speech, the duchess had her husband Prince Harry and mother Doria Ragland beaming with pride as she spoke with confidence and emotion - so it's no wonder she's opted to speak again while touring four Commonwealth countries.

"She's a very confident speaker," a Palace aide told HELLO! ahead of the tour. "When the Duchess launched Together she spoke confidently, and off the cuff. It's only natural at some of the events she's doing by herself that she would want to speak." They added that the South Pacific country is working hard to empower women, something that's very close to Meghan's heart. "Fiji asked the Duchess to do those events. There's a movement in Fiji to encourage women to move away from the stereotypical roles of cooking and looking after children."

The duchess gave a speech while launching her charity cookbook. Photo: © Getty Images

The couple has had a busy few days in Fiji, attending a traditional welcome ceremony at Albert Park in Suva before heading to the storied Grand Pacific Hotel, where they waved from the balcony just like the Queen and Prince Philip in 1953. After some glam, the Duke and Duchess of sussex headed downstairs for a state dinner, looking every inch the modern royals - he in a dapper tuxedo and she in a Fijian blue caped gown that put her blossoming baby bump front and centre (though she opted out of wearing a tiara!).

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The couple will split up for the rest of the day's events, Meghan heading to tea with the British High Commissioner and to Suva Market to see the UN's Markets for Change project while Prince Harry dedicates a Colo-i-Suva forest to the Queen's Canopy Project. After unveiling a statue on Thursday, they'll head to Tonga for the next portion of their royal tour.

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