The new-age princess
How Meghan made her mark as a 'real deal' campaigner
She has sparkle, style and star quality, as newspaper headline writers like to tell us. But Meghan Markle also has something else about her which wasn't always part of the princess- to- be package - but has become a key part of the modern role.
She comes into her new royal role already firmly established as a campaigning force. Indeed, her and Prince Harry's shared passion for social change was, she www. sundaytimes. lk says, what got him the second date.
Aged 11, she wrote a letter to the then US first lady, Hillary Clinton, lamenting a washing up liquid's TV ad strapline: "Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans". Within a month, manufacturers Procter and Gamble had changed the word "women" to "people", she says. "It was at that moment that I realised the magnitude of my actions. I had created my small level of impact by standing up for equality," she was to say some 20 years later, in an
Meghan Markle has had a taste of royal life, as she joined her fiance Prince Harry on their first joint official public engagement in Nottingham.
Excited crowds cheered as the couple greeted well-wishers ahead of a visit to a World Aids Day charity fair hosted by the Terrence Higgins Trust. They split up to talk to people lining both sides of their route and were given cards, flowers and chocolate.
After the charity fair, they met head teachers at a nearby school. Wellwishers gathered in the city ahead of the visit to catch a glimpse of the couple. International Women's Day speech before the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. At 15, she was volunteering in soup kitchens.
She's tackled the delicate issue of the stigma around menstrual health in an article for Time magazine and been global ambassador for World Vision Canada, which campaigns for better education, food and healthcare for children around the world.
It may not be unusual for actors to take up fashionable causes to boost their profile and appear kind and thoughtful. But Meghan is the real deal, says Kate Robertson, co- founder of the charity One Young World. She invited her to speak on a stage in Dublin after watching her in her hit TV series, Suits, and seeing her UN speech.
She said she thought Meghan would be a famous face that would interest their audience of young people from around the world, but couldn't be sure how good she'd be on a panel or speaking freely in a question-and- answer session. But, when it came to the crunch, Meghan was "so eloquent, so erudite", she says. "It wasn't your average actress stepping up and talking about gender equality. It was the real deal - very forthright, very confident and very un-celebrity," she adds.
As Meghan readies herself for royal life, she has said she wants a "clean slate" and so will no longer work as a UN women's advocate or for World Vision. Instead, she plans to focus her attention on the UK and Commonwealth. "This is the country that's going to be her home now and that means travelling around, getting to know the towns and cities and smaller communities," Harry's press secretary Jason Knauf said.
She will also become the fourth patron of the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The foundation is behind Harry's Invictus Games - the Paralympicstyle competition for injured servicemen and women and veterans - and also the mental health charity Heads Together.
For her first public appointment on Friday, Meghan joined Harry on his previously- arranged visit to a Ter rence Higgins Trust World Aids Day fair in Nottingham. Over time, Meghan is expected to carve out her own charitable interests.
Her f r i e n d E l i z ab e t h Nyamayaro, a senior adviser with UN Women, knows Meghan won't rush into anything. "She will spend a few months, if not years, working behind the scenes - listening, learning, identifying what needs to change, and pinpoint what she wants to make a difference on," she said.
Allan Bryce, editor of Royal Life magazine, thinks the Palace probably already has a good idea what Meghan wants to do.
FIRST ROYAL VISIT
Meghan, 5 sings The Wheels On The Bus in 1986 at an end-of-year show at the private Little Red School House (Pic Splash News)
The Watercolour Project, hosted by Meghan, helped raise money to build a well in Rwanda (Pic World Vision Canada)