Meghan Markle’s Speech on Women’s Suffrage Makes Her First Outspoken Royal Feminist

New Zealand was the final stop of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s 16-day royal tour. On Oct. 28, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended a reception held at the Government House in Wellington to mark the 125 year anniversary of women’s suffrage. The Duchess had already delivered two unforgettable speeches during the royal tour. The first one at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, and the other one at the Invictus Games in Sydney. In addition to that, she presented the Young Conservationist of the Year Award at the Australian Geographic Society Gala. Members of the royal family are not known for showing their political beliefs in public. However, feminism is a human rights issue and is one that the Duchess is eager to applaud.

To close the end of the royal tour, The Duchess of Sussex made powerful statements regarding human rights, voting rights and feminism applauding New Zealand for "championing the right of women to vote 125 years ago" and shared, "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." This speech was intended by Meghan to reflect what feminism really means to her as she mentioned, "Yes, women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness…And women's suffrage is not simply about the right to vote for women, but also about what that represents...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."

Markle has always been very outspoken about her stance regarding feminism, and that is something that hasn’t changed since becoming the Duchess of Sussex. In Meghan’s biography on the British Monarchy’s website, they clearly declared her as a feminist posting Markle's quote: "I am proud to be a woman and a feminist." Also, The Washington Post points out that Meghan is "the first senior royal to loudly declare herself a feminist on the monarchy's website."

Courtesy: Pop Sugar

 

The royal family has supported women’s issues in the past but Meghan’s outspoken declaration for feminism is unprecedented. Having always advocated on behalf of all women, Markle stated that New Zealand’s anniversary should remind everyone that "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 ended her speech with a moving quote by New Zealand suffragette Kate Sheppard: “All that separates, whether race, class, creed, or sex, is inhuman, and must be overcome.” By the end of her speech, Meghan ended in a round of applause from the audience, who were happy to hear the Duchess standing up for the beliefs she has always had.

Read the speech's full transcript by Town & Country here and watch the speech on YouTube under Guardian New's channel here.