The world has spent the last week in a state of obsession over US actress Meghan Markle, the woman Prince Harry has chosen to be his bride.
A modern-day fairytale
We’ve been gushing over the beautiful rock on her ring finger, designed by her future husband himself, speculating over every detail of the upcoming wedding day from the dress to the flowers, and dreaming of a similar fairytale ending for ourselves.
Welcoming a new addition to the British royal family is an exciting time, but the days where the role of a prince’s bride was simply to look pretty and have children to carry on the family line are thankfully long gone.
The modern royals marry for love, and new additions to the family typically use their new public platform to champion the causes they are passionate about. For instance, newer members of the family like the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Cornwall are the patrons of multiple charities and use their profile to speak about causes close to their hearts.
Ms Markle took part in her first official royal engagement last week with Prince Harry at her side, and we can expect to see her championing all kinds of causes both on her own and with her husband once they are married. Even prior to their relationship, she has used her fame to speak on gender issues at the United Nations and to write about period poverty for Time magazine.
However, it was at a very young age that Meghan first ventured down this path. Following the announcement of the engagement last week, footage emerged of an 11-year-old Ms Markle fighting against gender-based stereotypes in a US advertising campaign.
Showing passion for causes from a young age
A clip obtained by Inside Edition dating from 1993 shows 11-year-old Meghan discussing the problem of sexism in adverts for a Nick News segment on the Nickelodeon channel. In particular, she has an issue with an ad for Ivory Dishwashing Liquid – a Procter & Gamble product – that was shown to her social studies class.
In the advert, the line “women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans” is spoken. Meghan argues that it’s unfair to always show mothers doing the housework, and is then shown writing a letter to Procter & Gamble, expressing her concerns.
The footage shows some of her male classmates teasing her, shouting that women “belong” in the kitchen, but this does not deter Meghan.
In her letter, she suggested that the line was instead changed to “people all over America”. Young Meghan also wrote to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, as well as journalist Linda Ellerbee and lawyer Gloria Allred on the matter, and such was her persuasive power, the ad was indeed changed.
Now, we are sure that neither Meghan nor Harry will be doing much of their own cleaning at Nottingham Cottage, the residence in the grounds of Kensington Palace which is to be their marital home. However, it is fantastic to learn that the nation’s new princess has long been championing causes she is passionate about to bring about positive change.