Meghan Markle turns 39 today! To celebrate HRH the Duchess of Sussex today, we look back at the moments where she truly inspired us, whether she’s delivering empowering feminist speeches or raising awareness for charities and movements close to her heart…

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1. That International Women’s Day speech

Way back in 2015, before Meghan had even met Prince Harry, the then Suits actress gave a powerful speech for UN Women on International Women’s Day. “I am proud to be a woman and a feminist,” she said. “Women make up more than half of the world’s population and potential, so it is neither just nor practical for their voices – for our voices – to go unheard at the highest levels of decision-making…. Women need a seat at the table, they need an invitation to be seated there and in some cases where this is not available, well then, you know what? They need to create their own table.”

2. When she shared her support and solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement

Using her platform to spread awareness of racial injustice, Meghan said: “George Floyd’s life mattered, and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered, and Philando Castile’s life mattered, and Tamir Rice’s life mattered – and so did so many other people whose names we know, and whose names we do not know.”

3. Because she (and baby Archie) helped raise money for hungry children

Archie Mountbatten-Windsor celebrated his first birthday on 6th May, and in his first charity campaign video, the Duchess of Sussex read him a story on camera. To help raise money for hungry children, Meghan read to Archie from his favourite book ‘Duck! Rabbit!’ as part of the ‘Save with Stories’ campaign to raise awareness and money during the Coronavirus crisis.

4. The powerful speech she gave in South Africa

As part of Meghan and Harry’s Royal Tour of Africa in September and October 2019, she delivered a poignant speech on violence against women in Cape Town, South Africa. “On one personal note, may I just say that while I am here with my husband as a member of the Royal Family, I want you to know that for me, I am here with you as a mother, as a wife, as a woman, as a woman of colour, and as your sister. I am here with you, and I am here for you.”

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5. For standing up against the British tabloids

Speaking out on the onslaught of abuse she faced by some of the British press, she said: “When I first met my now-husband, my friends were really happy because I was so happy. But my British friends said to me: ‘I’m sure he’s great, but you shouldn’t do it because the British tabloids will destroy your life’.”

6. When she launched a charity collection with John Lewis

In September 2019, Meghan launched a charity fashion line partnering with Marks & Spencer to launch a capsule collection of workwear, as well as with her fashion designer friend Misha Nonoo, John Lewis and Jigsaw. For every item sold from The Smart Set capsule collection, an equivalent was donated to Smart Works. “Since moving to the UK, it has been deeply important to me to meet with communities and organisations on the ground doing meaningful work and to try to do whatever I can to help them amplify their impact,” Meghan wrote on Instagram at the time. “I am excited to celebrate the launch of another initiative of women supporting women, and communities working together for the greater good.”

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