The Duchess of Sussex joined a panel discussion focused on a host of women’s issues in honor of International Women’s Day today. Ahead of her arrival, it was announced that she has been named vice president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. The conversation was focused primarily on issues of equality from a global perspective, complementing her and her husband’s work with Commonwealth youth.
Today’s event was held at King’s College where she was greeted by a host of Palace staff, including the Queen’s former private secretary Lord Christopher Geidt, who serves as chairman of King’s College and the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.
Meanwhile, the panel included singer Annie Lennox and former Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard.
Also there were Adwoa Aboah, who launched the discussion platform Gurls Talk, Chrisann Jarrett, founder of the higher education campaign Let Us Learn, and Angeline Murimirwa, head of the Campaign for Female Education in Africa and co-founder of CAMA, a pan-African network for young women.
A key part of the discussion included the idea that in order to truly address issues of gender inequality worldwide men and boys needed to be a part of the conversation and solution. Meghan mentioned:
“It’s funny, I’d actually been joking these past few weeks I’d seen this documentary on Netflix about feminism and one of the things they said during pregnancy was ‘I feel the embryonic kicking of feminism’. I loved that. So boy or girl, whatever it is, we hope that that’s the case.”
She also noted:
“I’ve said for a long time you can be feminine and a feminist, you can be masculine. And I think in terms of masculinity you understand that your strength includes knowing your vulnerabilities and your sense of self and security, and your confidence comes from knowing a woman by your side, not behind you, is actually something you should not be threatened about – as opposed you should feel really empowered in having that.”
Coming on the heels of negative press coverage last month and the release of Kensington Palace’s guidelines for engaging with their social media platforms, she further stated at one point:
“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.”
Just as the Duchess of Cambridge has found her niche with early intervention for children, women’s issues has from the get-go been where Meghan intends to devote much of her time and attention. It’s a natural fit given much of her charitable work prior to her marriage, and numerous past statements and writing during her time as an actress, UN ambassador and when she headed her own lifestyle blog, The Tig.
In an abrupt pivot (the irony of which isn’t lost on me, but here we go), Meghan wore a black and white dress patterned dress by Reiss with a black Alexander McQueen blazer. I’m down for the blazer, but the dress doesn’t do much for me. Regardless, it was professional and appropriate, and she fit in well with the vibe of the event.
Meghan is now solidly right around the eight-month mark in her pregnancy, but there’s no word yet (nor will there be, likely) as to when she intends to bow out of public engagements and begin her maternity leave. If we’re to use Kate as a barometer, then she’ll likely continue making appearances until the end of the month, but it’s unclear if Meghan will follow suit or work closer to her due date. Nor do we know, for that matter, how much maternity leave she intends to take. It’s been reported that the couple will make the move to their new home at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor prior to the birth, and that the baby may in fact not be born in London as the three Cambridge children have been, but that remains to be seen. I would imagine some of that will be ironed out (or the news will trickle out) within the next month or so.
We’ll next see Meghan on Monday when she attends a Commonwealth Day event at Canada House with Harry. For that matter, there’s a chance we’ll see all four of the younger royals alongside the rest of the Royal Family for the usual Commonwealth Day ceremony. In the meantime, Kensington Palace announced two new engagements for Kate next Tuesday – one during the day at a children’s center and another in the evening for the National Portrait Gallery’s annual gala. Between now and then, there’s a historical post slated for publication on Sunday so keep an eye out for that!