Meghan Markle backs MeToo and Time's Up sexual harassment campaigns


Meghan Markle has spoken in support of the global anti-sexual harassment campaigns MeToo and Time's Up as she revealed she wants to start her life as a working royal hitting the "ground running".

Ms Markle's comments came when she joined her fiance and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at a forum staged to celebrate the work of the Royal Foundation, which the US actress will officially join following her May wedding.

The Suits star is committed to gender equality and empowering women through her work as a women's advocate for the UN and she quickly highlighted the issue during the event, saying in light of the campaigns there was no better time to highlight "women feeling empowered and people really helping to support them".

Meghan Markle during a question and answer session during the the first Royal Foundation forum in central London. (Chris Jackson/PA Wire)
Meghan Markle during a question and answer session during the the first Royal Foundation forum in central London. (Chris Jackson/PA Wire)

During the forum - the first official event attended by William, Kate, Harry and Meghan - the prince described his bride-to-be as a welcome addition, saying it was positive they now had "four different personalities" at the Foundation.

Harry revealed: "We're pretty tied up with planning a wedding at the moment but we're really looking forward to working as a pair and as a four going forward, hoping to make as much of a difference where we can."

Under the theme Making A Difference Together, the event in central London showcased programmes run or initiated by the Royal Foundation, launched by William and Harry in 2011 as the main vehicle to pursue their charitable and philanthropic interests.

Their projects have included the Heads Together mental health campaign, the Invictus Games for wounded and injured military and veterans, and the United For Wildlife initiative.

During a question and answer session, Ms Markle said she had "just been here for three months", but added later: "I think right now in the climate we are seeing so many campaigns, I mean Me Too and Time's Up, and there is no better time than to really continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people really helping to support them - men included in that. I mean, it makes such a tremendous difference.

"So, yeah... I guess we wait a couple of months and we can hit the ground running."

In 2015, the then UN secretary general Bahn-Ki Moon joined a standing ovation for Ms Markle after she made a speech on International Women's Day as UN Women's Advocate for Women's Leadership & Political Participation.

The Suits star, who was dressed in a Jason Wu outfit, said she had already been working "quietly behind the scenes" but refused to give any details.

She said only that she had been "meeting with the right people, meeting with the organisations behind the scenes quietly, learning as much as I can so I can maximise the opportunity we have here to really make an impact."

(left to right) Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge are quizzed on stage during the forum. (Chris Jackson/PA Wire)
(left to right) Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge are quizzed on stage during the forum. (Chris Jackson/PA Wire)

While his bride-to-be was championing women's issues, Harry signalled that he was focusing some of his efforts on tackling youth violence.

Harry told the audience of Foundation supporters, programme partners and beneficiaries that it was imperative they found the cause of problems and gave the example of knife crime which he has asked staff at the Royal Foundation to look into.

He added they were now talking to young people about the issu, saying: "In reality, knife crime is a symptom of a cause so therefore go and speak to the young people, which we're doing, speak to those communities and actually listen to what they think the problems are.

"And then wind it all back and go 'right what is the root cause of all of these different issues'."

"We feel a tremendous responsibility to play our part in effecting societal change for the better" - Prince Harry sums up the Royal Foundation's ambition for change and the work that inspires him

-- Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) February 28, 2018

The foursome looked at ease on the stage where they chatted with host BBC presenter and Radio 1 newsreader Tina Daheley.

There were also lighthearted moments. When Meghan said she wanted to hit the ground running Harry could be heard joking "wedding first", prompting Ms Markle to point out "We can multi-task."

Kate who has been involved with a number of organisations supporting children in their early years said her own parenting had been influenced by her charity work.

The duchess, who is expecting her third child in April and wore a Seraphine dress, said: "You can't help but reflect on your own life and it's definitely had an impact on how sort of I look at how I mother, how we work as a family and you know, how we hope to bring up our children."

In a speech to conclude the event, Harry said he was "incredibly proud and excited" his fiancee, dressed in a Jason Wu outfit, would be joining their work and said they were proud to work on behalf of the monarchy "that stands for timeless values of family, service, duty, and integrity."

Royal Foundation Forum
(left to right) Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge listen to speakers during the forum. (Chris Jackson/PA)

He added: "William, Catherine and I are privileged to be able to create and support initiatives that shine a light on causes that are locally and globally relevant, and deeply important to us.

"And I am personally incredibly proud and excited that my soon-to-be wife, who is equally passionate about seeing positive change in the world, will soon be joining us with this work. Because the work is plentiful, but it has also proven to be impactful."

In her address Kate echoed the worlds of William, who opened the event with a speech, saying they were working for the long term.

The duchess said: "Since our roles are lifetime roles, our commitment to the work we do through the Foundation is genuinely long-term.

"The work we do can, and should, have a long-lasting resonance. For this reason, we are able to support causes which we're passionate about for decades into the future, rather than just for a few months or years."