Meghan, 37, was at the marketplace in Suva, the Fijian capital, to meet women for a UN initiative. But she only spent six minutes out of her planned 20-minute tour and had to be rushed out of the sweltering market place, to the disappointment of royal fans who had come to meet with her.
The swift change in schedule was put down to a "security risk" with Kensington Palace blaming massive crowds as one royal aide said it was "hot, humid and uncomfortably busy."
Dramatic footage shows the moment her chief bodyguard and other protection officers realised something was amiss and swiftly escorted her through the crowds.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex earlier visited the University of South Pacific campus, and Harry unveiled The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy Project and laid a wreath at the Fiji War Memorial.
For the outing, Meghan wore a red silk dress by Figue with a blue floral print and a playful pom pom detail, while her husband Prince Harry chose a tropical print shirt. Meghan paired the gown with the Castaner canvas wedge espadrilles she wore on Sydney's Bondi Beach last week. She carried a woven bag made by women at Suva market. She completed her look with a tropical flower headpiece fitted in an up-do created by her personal hairdresser, George Northwood, who joined the Royals on tour in Fiji.
But the royal couple later separated and went for different engagements; Meghan to the market and Harry went on a visit to Colo-I-Suva Forest Reserve where he planted a tree with the same shovel his grandmother the Queen used for the task in 1953.
During Meghan's visit to the market many of the gathered people in the crowd were disappointed and surprised at her sudden exit, as onlookers described the meeting as well behaved and friendly.
They pointed out that the crowds were being kept well back from the Duchess by police and royal security and she was not being mobbed.
A royal aide said:
It was hot, humid and uncomfortably busy and there were far larger crowds than expected.
She met everyone she was meant to meet and left. There would have been a lot of people who would have been keen to meet her but she did met those who had hoped to.
On advice she was taken out due to crowd management issue.
One stall holder who had been positioned to expect a visit from the Duchess, said:
It is such a shame as we were all very excited to meet her.
We started preparing for the visit three weeks ago and had been meant to meet her but she left without even saying hello.
In between the university and the market, Meghan dropped by the British High Commissioner's Residence, where she attended a morning tea reception.
More photos below.