The Daily Telegraph
I didn’t feel I belonged on world stage, says Meghan
Duke and Duchess of Sussex return to UK to join youth leaders at the One Young World summit
THE Duchess of Sussex last night revealed that she did not feel like she“belonged” among world leaders and humanitarians when she first started advocating for a better world as she was just “the girl from Suits”.
She told delegates at the One Young World summit in Manchester that when she joined the global youth organisation in 2014, she felt “nervous” and “overwhelmed” to be seated alongside world leaders and humanitarians.
But she said she was “thrilled” to return to the UK for this year’s event alongside Prince Harry. She noted that her world view had since “expanded exponentially” and said that to be back in Britain with her husband made “it all feel full circle”.
The Duke and Duchess were given a standing ovation as they were welcomed into the Bridgewater Hall before 2,000 young leaders from more than 190 countries.
They took the train from London Euston to Manchester ahead of their first joint work engagement on British soil since quitting royal duties more than two years ago.
The couple, who were last in Britain for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June, were seen with two former Metropolitan Police officers who they have hired to protect them in the UK.
One, David Langdown, is a trusted, long-standing member of the Duke’s former royal protection team who accompanied him on his now infamous trip to Las Vegas in 2012 when he played naked billiards with a stripper.
The Duchess used the address, her first UK speech since swapping royal duties for the Californian sunshine, to talk about her own journey as a campaigner.
She said that when she first became a One Young World counsellor, she had a “pinch me moment”.
That year, she joined a panel discussion on challenging gender stereotypes and bias in the media.
“There I was, the girl from Suits,” she said, referring to the US legal drama in which she starred before meeting Prince Harry.
“I was surrounded by world leaders, humanitarians, prime ministers and activists that I had such a deep and longstanding respect and admiration for. And I was allowed in, to pull up a seat at the table. I was so overwhelmed by this experience, I think I even saved my little paper place-marker with my name on it. Just proof: proof that I was there, proof that I belonged, because the truth was, I wasn’t sure that I belonged.”
The Duchess, dressed in a bright red jumpsuit, continued: “Because the truth was, I wasn’t sure that I belonged. I was so nervous, I doubted myself and I wondered, wondered if I was good enough to be there?”
But she added One Young World, “saw in me, just as I see in you, the present and the future”.
She paused to receive applause after telling delegates that when she attended the One Young World summit in 2019 in London, her life had “changed rather significantly. I was now married and I was now a mom.”
She added: “My world view had expanded exponentially, seeing the global community through the eyes of my child.”
She told the young delegates: “You are the future... you are the present. You are the ones driving the positive and necessary change across the globe now, in this very moment.
“And for that I am so grateful to be in your company today.”
The Duke and Duchess were greeted with a mixture of cheers and boos as they were ushered inside the venue via a back entrance.
‘I was so nervous, I doubted myself and I wondered if I was good enough to be among humanitarians’
They had earlier met delegates to discuss gender equality at a private, roundtable event.
After attending the annual summit, young leaders become One Young World Ambassadors and are “funded, mentored and supported to accelerate change in their communities”.
The charity distributes money to various initiatives around the world. The Duchess told them she often spoke to young girls about the years ahead.
“About what you will do, about what you will have to adopt to fix from previous generations and also what legacy you will leave,” she added.
“Too often in that, we neglect the point – you are doing it now.
“You, here, in this present moment, this is where it is all beginning.”
The Manchester summit was the first of a brief flurry of engagements for the Sussexes on this side of the Atlantic.
On Tuesday, they will visit Düsseldorf, in Germany, for an event that will countdown to the Invictus Games.