Meghan Markle attended her first solo engagement at the Royal Academy on Tuesday, and touched noses and forehead with her hosts in a traditional Maori greeting.
She attended the opening of the Oceania at the Royal Academy of Arts, during which she was introduced to a Maori guest. The new Royal did a hongi, a traditional Maori greeting in which one touches noses and foreheads. She performed it with several of her hosts, including New Zealand’s hig commissioner Sir Jerry Mateparae and his wife Janine.
She also performed it with performers from Ngati Ranana, the London Maori Club. Members of the club also entertained the royal party with a waiata or a song.
The Duchess of Sussex has done the hongi before as well. In April, she attended the dawn service on Anzac Day in London with Prince Harry to commemorate the Australian and New Zealand war dead. Before she performed the hongi yesterday, she was also show a large piece of art by four New Zealand artists which summarized a rising wave.
The Mata Aho Collective also greeted Markle with a traditional Maori greeting, saying, “We thought it might be a nice bit of practice before she comes to the Pacific next month and it’s nice to be able to practice something that’s customary for us. She’s honoring our heritage and it’s so humbling.”
The Duchess was dressed in Givenchy dress with featured sheer sleeves and a velvet panel around the neckline, costing £2,510. She also carried a small black Givenchy box clutch costing £1,390 and paired her look with a pair of Aquazzura stilettos which cost £490. She has worn the shoes previously on several engagements.
Markle went around the viewed the artifacts, of which there were 200, at the exhibition, telling the New Zealand artist Lisa Reihani, “It’s so special. It’s spectacular.” She added, “It’s a great introduction to the sights and sounds of that part of the world.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be visiting New Zealand together next month. Markle did not go near a Solomon Island feast trough in the shape of a crocodile, which was labelled as having been forcibly seized in a violent punitive raid by HMS Royalist in 1891.
Meghan’s first solo appearance comes a full year after her first public appearance with Prince Harry at the Invictus Games in Canada.