It’s been a rollercoaster ride of a year for Meghan Markle, the now-Duchess of Sussex, and with the recent revelations from her and husband Prince Harry where both admitted that dealing with the negative press has been more than a little challenging. It’s clear her time in the royal family has had significant ups and major downs.
But don’t think Meghan is going to curl up and hide away. On the contrary, despite showing that vulnerability and revealing that she has struggled, it’s not going to stop her from doing her job. Though her focus is on people in need, she isn’t immune to all the bad that’s said about her either. According to Bryony Gordon of The Telegraph, Meghan told her she doesn’t “want people to love her—she just wanted them to be able to hear her.” The reporter called Meg “a doer, not a wallower,” and her goal as a royal is simple: to use “her voice to help give one to people less privileged than her.”
Which is what she did earlier this week when she visited Luminary Bakery, a grass roots organization that empowers women from unfortunate circumstances and equips them with the job skills and confidence to succeed through training and job opportunities. Meghan has long been a supporter of the bakery, even featuring them in the Vogue issue she guest-edited. And during her time at Luminary’s second shop (proof that the work they do is not only needed but is also successful, btw), Meghan still found time to chat and connect one-on-one with a few women, and immediately put them at ease with some kind words and comfort. “One of the things I have realised since being here [in the U.K.] is that people have an expectation when I’m coming somewhere,” Meghan told them, according to Gordon. “So I’m like, let’s just be really relaxed, keep everyone nice and chilled, because at the end of the day we’re all just women. We all have a story to tell, and I feel honoured that I am getting to hear yours.”
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Earlier this week The Duchess of Sussex visited the women of @LuminaryBakery as they celebrated the opening of their new location. It was a special moment to acknowledge the spirit of Luminary and their remarkable business model that opens its arms to women from vulnerable circumstances (be it abuse, poverty, trafficking, marginalisation) and equips them with the job skills and confidence to succeed. Having sat down with @luminarybakery at their flagship location earlier this year and from that inspiring visit choosing to feature them as #ForcesForChange in the September issue of @britishvogue, Her Royal Highness was proud to be invited to attend the launch of their second bakery. This addition will enable the organisation to provide services, support and mentoring for four times the number of women. Luminary Bakery – a sustainable grassroots organisation in the heart of London – is a beautiful example of community and uplifting those during hardship for the greater good. If you find yourself in the area, please visit and support the women of @LuminaryBakery to enjoy their delicious baked goods and to see the impactful work they’re doing. Video © SussexRoyal
And that, in a nutshell, is Meghan, which Gordon says she prefers to be called. She understands how important it is to listen, which is all she really wants for herself and the work she does. For Markle, Gordon writes, “showing vulnerability is not a weakness” but, rather, it’s “one of humanity’s greatest strengths.” But she also knows when to speak up.
Take Harry’s mental health, for example. It was Meghan who encouraged her then-boyfriend to open up about it, and he did it in many ways—including a revealing podcast chat with Gordon in 2017.
Those who aren’t on board with Meghan will likely scoff at that rawness and vulnerability but it’s that kind of openness, like her interview with Tom Bradby, that she hopes will allow others to also feel they can be equally honest.
Because of the way Meghan and Harry are, Gordon pointed out they have an ability to connect with people in a way other royals don’t.
“I find that when you strip all the layers away, as people, and especially as women, we can find deep connection with each other, and a shared understanding,” Meghan told the women at Luminary. “Our lives may be different, our backgrounds, our experiences, all varied, but I find that in these moments of connection it becomes abundantly clear that our hopes, our fears, our insecurities, the things that make us tick. . . well, those are very much the same. And there’s comfort in that.”
Despite all the reports that the Sussexes are barely hanging on and are planning to move away from England to get away from all the negativity, while understandable, it’s apparently not true. Gordon believes that “Meghan has accepted the strange situation in which she finds herself: she is damned if she does, and she is damned is she doesn’t,” but she’s going to keep on keeping on.
And they’re not going anywhere.