It’s not often we get to hear what Meghan Markle is thinking. Of course, some of the (ahem) grottier tabloids have claimed that they know what she’s thinking, usually via their dastardly and oh-so-dubious inside sources, but we prefer to take almost everything they say with a hefty pinch of salt.
Now, though, a rare TV interview has allowed Meghan to speak with fans around the world directly. And what she has to say is… well, it feels incredibly timely, considering that so many of us are voluntarily or involuntarily confined to our homes due to the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.
As many of you will undoubtedly already know, Meghan is the narrator of Disney Plus’ new documentary film, Elephant, which follows an elephant family on a 1,000-mile journey across Africa over eight months.
And, in a Good Morning America interview about the project – which was taped last year when she recorded her narration for the Elephant film – Meghan has spoken about her experience working on the documentary.
“I am really grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of bringing this story of elephants to life,” she said.
“I have been very lucky to be able to have hands-on experience with elephants in their natural habitat. When you spend time connecting with them and the other wildlife you really understand we have a role to play in their preservation and safety.”
Meghan continued: “These creatures are so majestic and at the same time, they are so sensitive and so connected. We see in this film just how remarkable they are.
“Their memories are amazing, the close connection of the herd, the protectiveness over their young. I think they are a lot more like us than they are different.”
All of this is incredibly interesting, and will no doubt nudge many towards streaming Elephant on Disney Plus. However, it is Meghan’s comments at the end of the interview – where she explains why she decided to work on this project in the first place – that really struck a chord with us.
“I hope that when people see this film they realise how connected we all are,” she said.
“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.”
Recording her interview all those months ago, we doubt that Meghan knew how relevant those words would feel to so many when they were finally broadcast.
Because, while the coronavirus lockdown means we’re all now living in (relative) isolation, we truly are more connected than ever before. A surge of up to 50% in the number of phone calls being made over mobile and landline networks has put Britain’s telephone system under significant strain.
Voice and video calls on WhatsApp, meanwhile, are at double their normal volume, and Zoom – which saw a huge rise in downloads since quarantines were imposed around the world – is now being used by millions for work and social gatherings.
Throw in all those other modes of communication – such as Skype and Slack – and you have proof that people really are more connected than ever. That they’re talking more than ever. That they feel the need to stay in touch with loved ones, recognise the importance of doing so, more than ever.
We only hope that, when life returns to normal – if it returns to normal, we all remember the value of human contact and connection. One thing’s for sure, though: it’s an absolute joy to finally have the opportunity to talk about Meghan in terms of her career, her beliefs, her thoughts as a free-thinking individual.
Because, up until now, Meghan’s character has been relentlessly picked apart by the tabloids. She has been forced into the imaginary feuds, treated like a pantomime villain, and held up as the media’s number one royal target (despite the fact that Prince Andrew is in the mix).
Finally, Meghan has unshackled herself from the limits and restrictions that come with life as a senior royal. Finally, she can speak about the issues she cares most about, take on the projects that excite her, become the change-maker she wants (and has the potential) to be.
And, quite honestly, we can’t wait to see what she does next.
The Elephant documentary is available on the streaming platform Disney+ and was released on 3 April.