The Duchess of Sussex keeps nailing her royal speeches. During the final leg of her joint tour with husband Prince Harry on Sunday, Meghan (née Markle) gave a rousing speech to New Zealanders in celebration of the 125-year anniversary of the country confirming women’s right to vote — the first country to ever do so.
After greeting her audience in Maori, per Sky News, Meghan began her speech, which she gave while standing in front of a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II at a Government House reception.
"Bravo New Zealand for championing the right of women to vote 125 years ago." — The Duchess of Sussex, as she and The Duke joined PM @JacindaArdern and @GovGeneralNZ Dame Patsy Reddy to celebrate the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage in New Zealand. #RoyalVisitNZ pic.twitter.com/zpFhyPiE8r
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) October 28, 2018
“The achievements of the women of New Zealand who campaigned for their right to vote, and were the first in the world to achieve it, are universally admired,” Meghan said, acknowledging New Zealand’s important role in spearheading women’s suffrage internationally, per E! News. “In looking forward to this very special occasion, I reflected on the importance of this achievement, but also the larger impact of what this symbolizes… because yes, women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness.”
Meghan continued, “Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote but also about what that represents: the basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community, the involvement and voice that allows you to be a part of the very world that you are a part of.”
She also noted that women’s suffrage is part of a larger movement to give this human right to all people, “including those members of society who have been marginalized whether for reasons of race, gender, ethnicity or orientation.” To conclude, she thanked New Zealand for its suffrage efforts: “So bravo, New Zealand, for championing this right 125 years ago — for the women who well deserve to have an active voice and acknowledged vote, and for all of the people that this effort has paved the way for globally. We all deeply thank you.”
Finally, she quoted New Zealand’s most famous suffragette, Kate Sheppard: “All that separates, whether of race, class, creed or sex, is inhuman and must be overcome.'”
Meghan has previously given speeches at London’s Hubb Community Kitchen, where she worked with women whose community was directly affected by the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 to create a cookbook, as well as at the 2018 Invictus Games closing ceremony. She seems to have taken on this component of her royal duties with vigor, which makes sense given her outspokenness on feminist issues prior to becoming part of the royal family. It’s great to see her continuing that work with her new platform.