Opinion: Fiji basking in the feel good factor of Prince Harry and Meghan's visit

It’s certainly not the fashion, food, culture or tradition.

They couldn’t be further apart either when it comes to lifestyle, annual income and opportunity.

So, what’s with this love affair between the Fijian people and the royals?

Love is not a word I use lightly but the heartfelt connection this week between Fijians and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is real. 

From the outside it’s easy to be cynical and see elements of colonial domination all over the place.

But when you ask what they think of the royals coming to visit Fijians of all ages are incredibly humble and proud.

They’re proud the world will see their culture on display, proud to be hosting such famous guests and proud the grandson of Queen Elizabeth is following in her footsteps.

There’s no doubt the 92-year-old monarch is revered here and she has laid the groundwork for the young royals to follow.

This week’s carefully choreographed visit mirrored several elements of the Queen’s visit to Fiji in 1953. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex touched down this afternoon after attending the Invictus Games in Sydney.

Harry and Meghan were welcomed in the same way, stayed in the same hotel and met locals who fondly remember the young monarch’s visit 65 years ago. 

One of them is 87-year-old Mariana Rokotovitovi who, as a 21-year-old house maid, served tea to the Queen.  

The royal respect for its military ties with Fiji is another area where they excel.  

The unveiling of a statue yesterday honouring a Fijian soldier killed while serving in the British military is a tribute that’s gone down extremely well with the Fijian people, who regard him as a hero.

And like the rest of the world, the Fijians are swept up in the ‘Royal Rockstar’ culture of Meghan and Harry. 

The crowd went wild with cheers and laughter as the Duke of Sussex downed the brew in one. Source: 1 NEWS

Harry is extremely popular with young men who are keen to hang out or drink kava with him.   

Some of the vets the Duke of Sussex met with today served with the British Armed Forces. Source: 1 NEWS

Many women simply say he’s hot before bursting into hysterical giggles.

There’s so much I could say, so many questions I have about the difference these expensive visits make to the lives of the many Fijians who are doing it tough.

But for now, I’m still processing the scale of feel good factor.

Fiji – it’s been a privilege being part of your heart warming week.  

Some of the vets the Duke of Sussex met with today served with the British Armed Forces. Source: 1 NEWS