Meghan Markle’s final royal duty is a reminder of her commitment to feminism

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Kayleigh Dray
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Meghan Markle vows to keep fighting the good feminist fight

Duchess of Sussex or not, Meghan Markle’s going to keep fighting the good feminist fight. 

You’ll no doubt remember that, shortly after her star-studded wedding to Prince Harry on 19 May 2018, Meghan Markle shared her official biography on the royal family website, listing the experiences that helped shape her “lifelong commitment” to “social justice and women’s empowerment”.

I am proud to be a woman and a feminist,” it read – a statement which Meghan has made abundantly clear in her actions as the Duchess of Sussex.

Since becoming a member of the royal family, Meghan has spoken out in support of Ireland’s abortion referendum, donned black as part of the Time’s Up movement, and worked alongside the women who were affected by the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy. She used her first public speech to champion women’s suffrage. She’s shown solidarity with those in South Africa who have taken a stand against gender-based violence and femicide. And, in 2019, she appeared alongside the likes of singer Annie Lennox and model-activist Adwoa Aboah at a Women’s Day summit, to debate issues facing women around the world.

With all this in mind, is it any wonder that Meghan has ensured her final solo engagement as an official member of the royal family will champion feminism, too?

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According to a spokesperson for the couple, Meghan and Harry will formally step down as senior royals on 31 March 2020. This means they will no longer carry out official engagements and duties on behalf of the Queen and royal family, but this process will be reviewed after a year, reports the BBC.

The pair’s final royal duty will be on 9 March, when they attend the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey alongside the rest of the royal family. However the couple – who announced their decision to step away from royal life in January – will also undertake some separate royal engagements before their new life begins.

And so, on 8 March, Meghan will mark this year’s International Women’s Day.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are stepping down as official members of the royal family

Details surrounding the event have yet to be announced, but we know the theme of this year’s IWD is ‘I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights’, which has been selected to align with UN Women’s new multigenerational campaign, Generation Equality.

It’s unsurprising that Meghan is using her royal platform to shine a spotlight on this event. After all, this is the same woman who, at the tender age of 11, successfully campaigned for a company to alter their television advert that had used sexist language to sell washing-up liquid. Who volunteered at a soup kitchen in Skid Row, Los Angeles from the age of 13-17. Who established a program at her place of work to ensure that leftover meals from the Suits set were donated to local homeless shelters.

Who was a UN Women’s Ambassador herself, long before she ever became a duchess.

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It remains unclear as to what Meghan and Harry’s plans are post-royal life. However, a spokeswoman for the couple has said the Sussexes will continue to work with their existing patronages as they build a plan for engagements in the UK and the Commonwealth throughout the year, with details of their new non-profit organisation to be announced later in the year.

With this in mind, it’s worth noting that the Duchess of Sussex previously expressed her wish to “shine a light” on women’s empowerment.

“There is no better time than to really continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people really helping to support them, men included in that,” she explained at the 2018 Royal Foundation Forum.

“It makes such a tremendous difference.”

We have a feeling, then, that Meghan and Harry’s global charitable foundation will focus on women’s empowerment to some extent. And we can’t wait to find out more.

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