The Duchess of Sussex spoke about her own racial heritage for the first time as a royal during her 10-day tour in South Africa.
Meghan and Harry visited Nyanga just outside of Cape Town. Their visit to the troubled township, where 1 in 206 people are killed every year, has been arranged amid a huge security presence.
The 38-year-old Duchess stood on a tree stump and addressed crowds of local girls and women supported by Justice Desk, a community charity.
“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,” she expressed.
Meghan and Harry were seen laughing and dancing with locals on their first stop of 10-day tour.
The Duchess has written about her racial heritage before but this is the first time she spoke about it since becoming a member of the Royal family.
The couple visited the District 6 museum that honors thousands of families removed during the apartheid era.
Meghan said in her speech: “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it, possibly without claiming it, she stands up for all women.
“Now I know it’s not easy and I know it must feel insurmountable at times, but your commitment to what is right gives all of us hope, especially your brothers and sisters here in your community who need you to continue to shine your light brightly.
“Your commitment is inspiring, it is energising and it is extraordinary. You must keep going, you must know that what you’re doing not only matters, it is vital because YOU are vital.”
Meghan also said she felt humbled to be in the community’s presence as they stood firm in their ‘values of respect, dignity and equality.’
“The work that’s being done here is to keep women and children safer, which is needed now more than ever.
“This is an issue that’s been at the forefront of people’s minds here in South Africa, and of course across the globe, particularly over this past month.
“Please know that my husband and I have been closely following what you’ve been experiencing here – as best we can from afar.
“But now that we are with you, we are eager to learn and see first-hand the work that you’re doing, the vital work that you’re doing, and that everything that is being done on the ground is making the great change that you not only need but that you deserve.
“You have welcomed us into this community, have been open and honest with us, both about the dangers women and children face, and about how you are addressing them.
“The rights of women and girls is something that is very close to my heart, and the cause I have spent the majority of my life advocating for because I know that when women are empowered, the entire community flourishes.
“So to be able to meet all of you today who are standing up for what’s right in the face of adversity, I applaud you. We are encouraged to hear your President take the next steps to work towards preventing gender-based violence through education and necessary changes to reinforce the values of modern South Africa.”
Jessica Dewhurst, the founder of Justice Desk, said: “Meghan is so nice. In the room she and Harry met a lot of victims of gender-based violence and they shared their stories with them. It was really wonderful to have that openness and that honesty.
“I think she was really impressed with the spirit of the girls, the girls supporting other girls. She was encouraging them to mentor other girls in the community.
“To hear her say she was standing her as a woman of colour sent shivers down my spine.
“To be totally honest with you, when I heard that they wanted to say something I just thought it would be a ‘thank you for having us, goodbye’.
“But they tackled some real issues there. They spoke about gender based violence and the issues our community is facing.
“What’s also really exciting is that they are watching what is happening in our country and listening to what our president is saying. They are really encouraging us as South Africans to be accountable and to facilitate change.”
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