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Meghan Markle just got a significant new job this International Women’s Day. The Palace announced this morning that Queen Elizabeth II herself has appointed Meghan as vice president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, which focuses on supporting young leaders. Meghan’s husband Prince Harry is president, and the Queen is patron of the organization.
The organization detailed Meghan’s new role on its site. “The Duchess will highlight the Trust’s partnerships with young people across the Commonwealth, and in particular its work supporting women and girls,” it wrote. “In celebration of International Women’s Day and to mark this appointment, Her Royal Highness will this afternoon join a special panel discussion of female thought-leaders and activists convened by The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, to discuss a range of issues affecting women today.”
The panel had been announced in advance, although Meghan’s new role as the organization’s vice president was only revealed the morning. Meghan will be joined on the panel with Annie Lennox (The Circle NGO’s founder), Adwoa Aboah (Gurls Talk founder), Julia Gillard (Global Institute for Women’s Leadership chair), Chrisann Jarrett (Let Us Learn founder), and Angeline Murimirwa (executive director of Camfed).
This new role comes just two months after Meghan announced her first four patronages as the Duchess of Sussex: She is now patron of the Mayhew, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, Smart Works, and the National Theatre.
Still, the new appointment is a big move for Meghan, a longtime feminist who worked with UN Women before joining the royal family. At the Royal Foundation Forum with Harry, Kate Middleton, and Prince William last year, Meghan spoke for the first time about where she’d like to focus of her work as duchess to be. It was of course on supporting women and girls globally.
“I hear a lot of people speaking about girls’ empowerment and women’s’ empowerment,” Meghan said then. “You’ll often hear people say well, you’re helping women find their voices. And I fundamentally disagree with that because women don’t need to find their voices, they have a voice. They need to be empowered to use it, and people need to be encouraged to listen. And I think right now in the climate that we’re seeing so many campaigns—I mean, #MeToo and TimesUp—there’s no better time than [now] to really continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people really helping to support them…It [the spotlight] makes such a tremendous difference.”