‘Hardest part’: Meghan hints at royal split
Meghan Markle has urged young women to join the fight against gender and race inequality and hinted at the reasons behind her royal exit during a keynote speech at a digital global leadership summit.
In a nine-minute speech, the Duchess of Sussex spoke passionately about the role of young women in helping eradicate injustices around the world, telling the 40,000-strong audience at the online gathering for UN initiative Girl Up that it's crucial they reject negativity and focus on "building each other up".
The appearance marked Meghan's first public speaking role since stepping down as a senior royal. She was joined on the bill with an impressive line-up of high-profile women, including former First Lady Michelle Obama, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and actress Priyanka Chopra.
Standing in front of a plain wall in her LA home, Meghan, 38, looked vibrant in a blue dress and with her long hair loose and straight as she hinted at the cause of her split from the monarchy.
"Your gut will tell you what's right and wrong. What's fair and unfair. The hardest part - and it was the hardest part for me - is to chase your convictions with action," she said.
"You look at the breadth of the issues we're facing right now, it is easy to get overwhelmed. I understand.
"Be where you are in the moment. The growth and the change that you're pursuing might not feel like anything day-to-day.
"But when you look back, I promise, you will see that it all adds up."
Meghan also told participants they must "keep challenging" those in power to fight major issues including racial injustice, gender inequality and gun violence, as well as push for mental health awareness and criminal justice system reform.
"Those in the halls and corridors and places of power - from lawmakers and world leaders to executives - all of those people, they depend on you more than you will ever depend on them. And here's the thing: they know this," she told the participants.
"Now many of them, better or worse, they don't listen until they have to. Because the status quo is easy to excuse and it's hard to break."
Meghan added that powerful organisations "pull tightest right before snapping".
"I say to you, keep challenging, keep pushing, make them a little uncomfortable. Because it's only in that discomfort that we actually create the conditions to reimagine our standards, our policies, and our leadership," she said.
"Believing in true equality is not enough - it's going to take more than belief, we have to work for it every day; even when it's hard and even when it makes others feel uneasy. We have to speak up for ourselves and … for others who struggle to be heard."
She also shared her advice for dealing with the "negative voices" and "noise".
"We are not meant to be breaking each other down," she said. "Build each other up, support each other.
"There will always be negative voices and sometimes those voices can appear to be outsized, and sometimes they can appear to be painfully loud. You can and will use your own voices to drown out the noise. Because that's what it is - just noise.
"But your voices are those of truth. And hope. And your voices can and should be much louder."
Meghan finished up with a message of support from Prince Harry and their 1-year-old son.
"Please, continue to honour the conviction and compassion that's woken within you," she begged them.
"I'll be cheering you on, and so will my husband, and so will Archie."
Originally published as 'Hardest part': Meghan hints at royal split