As the Duchess of Sussex celebrates her birthday today (4th August), here’s some of her best moments.
Despite the unprecedented levels of criticism thrown her way at the hands of the mainstream media and social media trolls, Meghan Markle continues to take royal life in her stride. Whether she’s making subtle statements with the clothes she wears or using her position to speak out about issues from abortion to mental health, there’s no shortage of reasons to love her.
And despite calls for Meghan to “stay out of politics” following her guest-edit for the September issue of Vogue, there’s no doubt that the modern royal will continue to inspire millions of young girls around the world with her trailblazing and influential work.
As the Duchess of Sussex celebrates her birthday today (4th August), here’s some of her most powerful and inspirational quotes as a reminder of the amazing work she continues to do.
On being mixed race
“To describe something as being black and white means it is clearly defined,” Meghan explained in a 2015 essay for Elle. “Yet when your ethnicity is black and white, the dichotomy is not that clear. In fact, it creates a grey area. Being biracial paints a blurred line that is equal parts staggering and illuminating.”
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.”
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 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.”
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.”