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

- By Victoria Ward

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.

 ?? ?? The Duchess, with the Duke at the summit yesterday, said she now saw ‘the global community through the eyes of my child’. She added she was ‘thrilled’ to be back in the UK
The Duchess, with the Duke at the summit yesterday, said she now saw ‘the global community through the eyes of my child’. She added she was ‘thrilled’ to be back in the UK

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