Meghan Markle has taken to the stage in London to join Prince Harry, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their first official appearance as a four.
The actress joined her husband-to-be and brother- and sister-in-law to be for the first Royal Foundation Forum on Wednesday — an opportunity for them to update to public on their charitable work.
The Duchess of Cambridge with #MeghanMarkle at the Royal Foundation Forum: "Since our roles are lifetime roles, our commitment to the work we do through The Foundation is genuinely long-term." pic.twitter.com/rxdV4M62F9— Roya Nikkhah (@RoyaNikkhah) February 28, 2018
And the soon-to-be royal lost no time in voicing her support for the #TimeUp and #MeToo movements.
“I hear a lot of people saying when speaking about girls’ empowerment finding and knowing their worth, or women’s empowerment as well. You’ll often hear people say, you’re helping women find their voices,” Meghan told the audience.
“And I fundamentally disagree with that because women don’t need to find a voice, they have a voice. They need to feel empowered to use it and people need to be encouraged to listen,” she said.
“I think right now in the climate that we’re seeing, with so many campaigns like #MeToo and #TimesUp, there’s no better time to really continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people really helping to support them, men included in that. It makes such a tremendous difference.”
And Prince Harry seemed thrilled to have his fiancée alongside him.
“I am personally incredibly proud and excited that my soon-to-be wife, who is equally passionate about seeing positive change in the world, will soon be joining us with this work,” he said.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have their first joint royal engagement today! They are taking part in the first annual Royal Foundation Forum.#RoyalFanspic.twitter.com/5oRmlE8sNT— Royal Fans (@Royal_Fans10) February 28, 2018
The Royal Foundation was set up by Harry and William in 2011, to pursue their interest in charity and philanthropy. The forum is designed to give the royals a chance to showcase the programmes run through the Foundation.
These currently include mental health campaign Heads Together, the Invictus Games for injured servicemen and women, and the conservation scheme United for Wildlife, reported the MailOnline.
Since autumn 2017, Heads Together has been introducing a number of programmes to raise awareness about mental illness, and well as looking at stripping away the societal stigma. The programmes include using digital platforms to make support more accessible, and improving education about mental health.
BBC presenter Tina Daheley, who hosted the forum, which had the theme of “making a difference together,” said the impact of Heads Together had been huge and “changed the national conversation around mental health.”
Prince William, after saying he was “delighted” to welcome Meghan to the stage with them, said they took inspiration from their parents and their grandparents, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.
He described their parents, Charles, the Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, as “an example of diligence, compassion, and duty.”
He added that the Queen and her husband Prince Philip “had made support for charity central to their decades of service to the nation and the Commonwealth.”
In April, the leaders of the Commonwealth will be meeting in London for the Commonwealth Summit, looking at ways leaders from across the 53 nations can join together to end extreme poverty.
After their May wedding, Markle will become a patron of the charity alongside Harry, Kate, and William.
She said: “I certainly know how passionate I am, and Harry and I see the world so similarly in our approach of being very hands on with things.”
Following the latest spike in knife crime among young people in the UK, Harry and Meghan are also reported to be looking for ways for the Foundation to focus on youth violence.
Lorraine Heggessey, the chief executive of the Royal Foundation, told Sky News: “What’s important to all three of their royal highnesses at the moment and Ms Meghan Markle is that this generation of the royal family is seen to work together collectively to make a difference and make a significant impact on the issues that matter both to them as individuals and matter to them collectively and to society.”
“I think for Ms Markle she just naturally had synergy and, you know, understood that idea,” she added. “It resonated with her and we’re now researching, [at the] very early stages, the areas of interest and themes that might develop for her in the future.”
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