Today, on International Women’s Day, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle carried out two engagements in Birmingham. The first was with an organization, Stemettes, meant to support young woman pursuing the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), while the second was with Coach Core.
Given Meghan’s past advocacy work on behalf of women, not to mention her recent comments during the Royal Foundation forum, the two making an appearance today seems altogether fitting.
The day began with an exuberant walkabout, as we’ve come to expect from Harry and Meghan’s away days. During it, Harry met 10-year-old Sophia Richards, who told him that she wanted to be an actress when she grew up. Taking her over to meet Meghan, he reportedly told her, “You need to be confident and you can achieve whatever you want to achieve.”
Meghan also offered up her own encouragement. Sophia told reporters: “Meghan told me that I can achieve whatever I want to achieve. And Meghan said she would like to see me on TV when I become an actress.”
Yet another 10-year-old in the crowd requested a hug from Meghan, so she’s garnering quite the reputation for these engagements!
Another funny exchange came from Meghan chatting with a university student. Per the Mail:
“Meghan also joked about the British weather with Canadian student Brandy Davis, 20. Brandy, from Toronto, said: ‘Meghan came over and we exchanged pleasantries, and I said I was from Canada. She told Harry and he said ‘Canadians are everywhere.’
“‘Then Meghan asked me what I thought about the weather. She said people here complain about about the weather, and I said my goodness, they don’t know. We Canadians know about the weather. She said ‘yes, we’re in the same boat.’
“Ms Davis, who is studying at Warwick University on exchange from Queens University, Canada, added: ‘She was absolutely lovely. She had a smile on her face the whole time, and she made a point of going to everyone.'”
Turning to the Stemettes, Harry and Meghan met with 90 female students to hear more about their work and try out their technology. Also per the Mail:
“The couple, who are both feminists according to Meghan, told the students they must persevere with science, technology, engineering and maths when they left the morning session, run by Stemettes.
“Meghan said: ‘I love being here to see this on International Women’s Day. You’re using your brain in a really challenging way.’
“Prince Harry told pupils: ‘You must have brains the size of a planet. And you can’t just come in today, do this and leave. You’ve got to carry it on.’
“Watching girls placing wires from a laptop computer to a bananas, to connect it to make it work as digital bongos, he told his fiancée: ‘I was going to try and help but…’ before laughing and showing her the instructions.
“‘Oh wow,’ said Meghan.
“Keen to help, she picked up instructions to lend a hand, praising her three new companions for saying they aimed to be ‘surgeon, doctor, doctor’.
“‘It’s cool that you’re so interested in tech,’ she told a second group. ‘That’s really impressive.'”
A video shared by Kensington Palace captures a bit of the mood from the session:
Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon, a British computing and mathematics prodigy (she’s 27), said: “How many photos do you have of princesses doing technical things? You barely see pictures of women doing technical things, let alone princesses. You can’t be what you can’t see. To see her do it and see that she’s enjoying it, it sends a message […] We could follow a different kind of fashion for once.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself! (Though we are going to cover what Meghan’s wearing, so, whoops…)
The second engagement the couple carried out was with Coach Core, an organization we last discussed this past autumn when the Duchess of Cambridge made a surprise appearance alongside the Duke and Harry for them when she was easing back into work during her first trimester. The program just launched in Birmingham last year, so today gave the couple an opportunity to hear more about its progress and offerings.
Fashion-wise, I think Meghan is clearly developing a uniform of her own, much like Kate did in her early days. Unlike her future sister-in-law, however, who rarely wears trousers for engagements, Meghan has opted for them almost exclusively. Today, she donned a cropped black pair by Alexander Wang, which she paired with a blue and white jacket by J.Crew.
The white sweater underneath is AllSaints Ridley and her heels are Manolo Blahnik. The handbag, another unique staple to Meghan (unlike Kate, who favors clutches while working), is Altuzarra.
I loved the look and am a fan of this becoming a uniform, if we must have one (and it’s understandable that we do, at least as Meghan gets rolling). So far, my favorite looks of hers have been from today and when she was in Cardiff, the big differentiator being that the coats were cinched at the waist. While I thought she looked lovely in Brixton and Edinburgh, the open coat could at times look just a tad “undone.”
Moving on, we’ll next see the couple (and the rest of the family) on Monday for Commonwealth Day, so that’ll be a big one. I know I mentioned yesterday that I was going to cover the dinner at which William and the Prince of Wales hosted the Saudi Crown Prince, but I’ve decided to hold that for a royal roundup that I intend to pull together in the next day or two. I’m a bit behind on historical posts thanks to a busy work week and having just moved, but I promise to tee up a couple in the next few days. Bear with me!
Finally, I’ve heard that today ends the couple’s tour of the UK, but I’ve also seen speculation that the two will be in Belfast next month, perhaps to coincide with the Queen’s birthday. We shall see!
Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cornwall was doing her own commemorating of the day: