On Friday, Meghan Markle joined a panel of female leaders at King’s College London to celebrate International Women’s Day 2019. Sitting beside other leaders and activists like singer Annie Lennox, model Adwoa Aboah, and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the Duchess of Sussex spoke about women overcoming obstacles and finding opportunities in today’s world.
The pregnant duchess wore a black-and-white, floral-printed Reiss mini-dress paired with a black blazer by Alexander McQueen, according to Entertainment Tonight. To complete the look, Markle wore black Manolo Blahnik pumps and carried a matching bag by one of her favorite designers, Stella McCartney.
Photos from the event on Kensington Palace’s official Instagram page showed the former actress gently cradling her baby bump as she spoke to fellow leaders. The duchess and her husband, Prince Harry, are expecting their first child in late April or early May.
While speaking on the panel — one which was convened by the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust — Markle expressed the importance of bringing men into conversations about feminism.
“I’ve said for a long time you can be feminine and a feminist, you can be masculine,” Meghan said to the audience. “And I think in terms of masculinity you understand that your strength includes knowing your vulnerabilities and your sense of self and security, and your confidence comes from knowing a woman by your side, not behind you, is actually something you should not be threatened about — as opposed you should feel really empowered in having that.”
We are delighted to announce that as of today The Duchess of Sussex will take on the role of Vice-President for The Queen's Commonwealth Trust.— Queen's CW Trust (@queenscomtrust) March 8, 2019
Please join us is welcoming Her Royal Highness to #TeamQCT@KensingtonRoyal pic.twitter.com/VNA0FLdUWZ
Markle also spoke about her growing baby bump at the event, E! News reported. Panel chairwoman and The Economist senior editor Anne McElvoy asked the duchess how her baby bump is “treating her,” and Markle replied, “Very well.”
The duchess also quipped that she watched a documentary about feminism on Netflix, which stated that pregnancy is a time when women can “feel the embryonic kicking of feminism.”
Many of the other panelists and audience members felt inspired by Markle’s words. Aneesha Aslam, a 21-year-old student at the college, said that the duchess is an example of how the monarchy has progressed — and how society is changing, according to People.
Earlier on Friday, Kensington Palace revealed that Queen Elizabeth II officially appointed Markle as vice president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. The organization boasts leaders from 53 countries that aim to collaborate in order to bring new opportunities and change to youth. Prince Harry currently serves as the Trust’s president, while the Queen herself acts as royal patron.
Markle’s new role will focus on the trust’s partnerships with youth, in support of women and girls across the Commonwealth.