Meghan Markle made a rare speaking appearance at the Girl Up’s 2020 Leadership Summit, an event to inspire and empower women everywhere, and we couldn’t help but notice that she seemed to be speaking from personal experience. The Duchess of Sussex videoed in, looking predictably stunning in a blue dress, and gave advice to young women on how to push back against the status quo, challenge those in power, and follow through on their convictions even when it’s unpopular. Even suppressing a giggle at moments, it seems clear that Markle was thinking at least in part of her own royal family exit with husband Prince Harry, an unprecedented defiance of the British royals. So, what advice did she have on pushing back? We recommend taking notes.
The former Suits actress didn’t waste much time in her speech, addressing the engrained issues of inequality in our society and how we can address them head-on. “Those in the halls and corridors and places of power, from lawmakers to world leaders to executives, all of those people,” she said. “They depend on you more than you will ever depend on them. And they know this.”
The power is in our hands, she argued, to insist on our terms and not to let up until our goal is reached. “Another thing about those lawmakers and leaders,” she added. “Many of them, for better or worse, don’t listen until they have to . . . the status quo is easy to excuse and it’s hard to break. But it will pull tightest right before snapping.”
Yeah, we got serious Daenerys chills when she delivered that last line, steely-eyed into the camera. This is a woman who has successfully applied pressure to a centuries-old institution and demanded it change its rules to create an acceptable life for her. This is a woman who knows a little something about making things snap.
“Keep challenging. Keep pushing. Make them a little uncomfortable,” Markle encourages, and starts to giggle on this next part. “Don’t be afraid to do what you know is right, even when it’s not popular, even when it’s never been done before, even if it scares people, and even if it scares you a little.”
We can definitely think of one unpopular, never-been-done-before move Markle’s pulled in recent history — but just in case there was any lingering confusion on what she was referring to, the Duchess referenced her own journey once more.
“Your gut will tell you what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s fair and what’s unfair,” she said. “The hardest part, and the hardest part for me, was to chase the conviction with action.”
Eventually, that action came, and the Duchess seems stronger than ever for it. Bonus points? Markle personally promised that Archie will be “cheering you on” if you follow her advice. Go ahead, start an uprising — this working royal and baby Archie have your back.
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