From beauty and social media to racism and gender equality, here’s some of Meghan Markle’s most powerful and inspirational quotes.
Meghan Markle has never been one to stay quiet in the face of injustice.
And despite all the criticism thrown at her over the last couple of years, Meghan continues to use her voice to inspire change – since she and Prince Harry stepped back from royal life earlier this year, the ex-Duchess of Sussex has spoken out about the work that needs to be done to tackle racism across the world in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
As Meghan celebrates her birthday today (4th August), we’re looking back at some of her most powerful and inspirational quotes from the last couple of years.
On fighting racism
Responding to the Black Lives Matter movement during a call with the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, Meghan spoke about how important it was that we face “discomfort” right now.
“We have to, in this moment in time, say we’re going to have to be a little uncomfortable right now, because it’s only in pushing through that discomfort that we get to the other side of this and find the place where a high tide raises all ships,” she said.
“Equality does not put anyone on the back foot, it puts us all on the same footing – which is a fundamental human right. And that’s what we’re talking about here.”
On George Floyd and police brutality
During a virtual address to students at her former school in Los Angeles, Meghan addressed the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer by issuing a powerful statement.
“As we’ve all seen over the last week, what is happening in our country, and in our state, and in our hometown of LA, has been absolutely devastating,” she told the students.
“I wasn’t sure what I could say to you. I wanted to say the right thing and I was really nervous that I wouldn’t or that it would get picked apart, and I realised the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing, because George Floyd’s life mattered. And Breonna Taylor’s life mattered. And Philando Castile’s life mattered. And Tamir Rice’s life mattered.
“And so did so many other people whose names we know and whose names we don’t know.”
On empathy and connectedness
In an interview to mark the release of her documentary Elephant on Disney Plus, Meghan spoke about the power of connection to build empathy.
“I hope that when people see this film they realise how connected we all are,” she told the interviewer. “If we had more of an awareness about the obstacles we are facing, I think we would take care of each other – this planet and animals – in a very different way.”
On International Women’s Day
During a visit to Robert Clack School in East London to commemorate International Women’s Day, Meghan Markle appealed to the male students to ensure they were part of the movement too.
“In many societies – it doesn’t matter where you are – it’s very easy to compartmentalise or silo this idea of International Women’s Day solely being about women. But it’s not… it’s about all of us,” she said.
“Continue to value and appreciate the women in your lives, and also set the example for some men who are not seeing it the same way. You have your mothers, sisters, girlfriends, friends in your life – protect them. Make sure that they are feeling valued and safe. Let’s all rally together to make International Women’s Day something that is not just on Sunday, but, frankly, feels like every day of the year.”
On period poverty
“We need to push the conversation, mobilize policy making surrounding menstrual health initiatives, support organizations who foster girls’ education from the ground up, and within our own homes, we need to rise above our puritanical bashfulness when it comes to talking about menstruation,” Meghan argued in a 2017 essay for Time magazine.
On being in the spotlight
“It comes in waves – some days it can feel more challenging than others,” she told Vanity Fair in a 2017 interview. “And right out of the gate it was surprising the way things changed. But I still have this support system all around me, and, of course, my boyfriend’s support.”
On women’s rights
“You’ll often hear people say: ‘You are helping people find their voices’. I fundamentally disagree with that because women don’t need to find a voice – they have a voice,” she said in a public Q&A at The Royal Foundation Forum Event. “They need to feel empowered to use it and people need to be encouraged to listen.”
“Yes, women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness,” the Duchess said in a speech to commemorate the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand. “Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote but also about what that represents: the basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community, the involvement and voice that allows you to be a part of the very world that you are a part of.”
At the age of 11, Markle was already making change.
“If you see something that you don’t like or are offended by, on television or any other place, write letters and send them to the right people,” she told an interviewer after getting a sexist statement removed from a television advert.
“You can really make a difference for not just yourself, but lots of other people.”
On social media
“I don’t read anything, it’s much safer that way, but equally that’s just my own personal preference because I think positive or negative it can all sort of just feel like noise to a certain extent these days, as opposed to getting muddled with that to focus on the real cause,” Meghan explained at a panel event for International Women’s Day.
“We make a choice on what we click on, we make a choice on what we read, we make a choice in what we engage in. That is our personal decision to not feed into negativity. To really be more cause-driven and action-based.”
“Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive the education they want, but more importantly the education they have the right to receive. And for women and girls in developing countries, this is vital,” she told staff and students during a speech at at the University of the South Pacific in the Fijian capital of Suva, as part of her first royal tour.
“When girls are given the right tools to succeed, they can create incredible futures, not only for themselves but for all of those around them. And while progress has been made in many areas across the Commonwealth, there is always scope to offer more opportunities to the next generation of young adults, and specifically to young women.”