LONDON – The Duchess of Sussex made her first public address in the UK yesterday since stepping down as a senior royal in 2020. Meghan addressed audience at the opening ceremony for One Young World in Manchester, where young leaders from more than 190 countries were present to listen to a number of notable figures talk on global issues. Other speakers included Sir Bod Geldof, who spoke about the dangers of nationalism, and the former Irish president Mary Robinson, who spoke on leadership.
The duchess, who has been a counsellor of the initiative since 2014, was joined by her husband Prince Harry for the occasion, nodding to his presence in her speech by saying, ‘to meet again here with him by my side makes it all feel full circle’.
The duchess began by revealing that it was ‘very nice to be back in the UK’ and went on to address her ‘nervousness’ and the ‘pinch – me moment’ of her first One Young World Summit. ‘I was the girl from Suits, and I was surrounded by world leaders, humanitarians, prime ministers and activists’, she said. She later drew on her own experiences to address current global issues saying: ‘my worldview had expanded exponentially, seeing the global community through the eyes of my child [Archie], and I would ask what is this world he would come to adopt, and what can we do, what can I do to make it better’.
Meghan concentrated much of her speech on the importance of ‘acting now’ and recognizing an urgency for change: ‘The importance work can’t wait for tomorrow […] this week the world is watching as you cement your place in history by showcasing the good that you are doing today in the present moment, as we embrace the moment of now to create a better tomorrow’.
The couple reportedly hired private security for the event, and a Greater Manchester Police spokesman confirmed its officers were not involved. Prince Harry is currently suing the Home Office, claiming that by being prevented from police security when visiting the country from America, he and his family are put at unnecessary risk. This is though to be the first time a Royal Family member has brought legal proceedings against the government.
The couple have travelled to the country for two separate charity events, between which they will visit Germany for the Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023 One Year to Go Event. On 8 September the couple will attend the WellChild Awards, an event raising awareness for the UK’s seriously ill children and their carers. There has been speculation over whether the duke and duchess would be joining Her Majesty the Queen at Balmoral during their stay, with the Mail Online reporting that they had ‘declined an open invitation’ from Prince Charles to visit the royal residence. The pair are staying at their marital home, Frogmore Cottage, during their visit.
The Duchess of Sussex has recently made headlines with the release of her latest project, Archetypes, a podcast that aims to investigate ‘the labels that try to hold women back’. The podcast has topped the Spotify charts for two weeks in a row since its release in August. The former royal also appeared back in the public eye after a revealing interview with New York Magazine’s women’s website, The Cut, where she touched on various subiect from royal life to a planned return to Instagram.