Prince Harry’s bride-to-be Meghan Markle has said she will “hit the ground running” in her work to empower girls and women in the UK.
Her appearance at the Make a Difference Together forum in London on Wednesday marks the first time Markle has appeared in public representing the Royal Foundation, which was launched in 2011 by Prince William and his younger brother Harry.
It is also the first time the four young royals – William and his wife, Catherine, and Harry and Markle – have spoken publicly together.
Referring to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, Markle said there was “no better time” to “shine a light on women feeling empowered and people really helping to support them, men included.”
For Markle, the goal is not to help “women find their voices” but to empower women to use the voices they already have and to encourage people to listen to them.
After her wedding to Prince Harry on May 19, Markle will officially become the Royal Foundation’s fourth patron. She comes to the charity with a long history of activism: she has been an advocate of women’s rights since she was a teenager and became a global ambassador for development charity World Vision in 2016.
In a speech at the forum, Harry said he was “proud and excited” that his “soon-to-be wife” would be joining the foundation. He also said he is looking forward to working “as a pair” on issues they are both passionate about.
‘Greater than the sum of our parts’
The Royal Foundation was established to help the two princes pursue their charitable goals. Kate became the third patron after her wedding to William in 2011. The charity’s projects include Heads Together, which tackles stigma around mental illness, and the Invictus Games, an international sports competition for wounded veterans.
Markle praised the work of the Foundation, which brings charities and experts together to share resources and expertise in a bid to solve some of society’s biggest problems, and said she is “incredibly excited” at the chance to be involved.
“If we focus on certain big issues, hopefully global, I think we can make a big difference,” said William, who opened the forum with a speech reflecting on the charity’s past successes and future goals. “When we work together, we are greater than the sum of our parts.”
Asked whether it is sometimes difficult to work with family, William and Harry laughed. The disagreements come “thick and fast,” admitted Harry.
“Working as a family does have its challenges,” he added, “but we’re stuck together for the rest of our lives.”
Markle said that differences of opinion could lead to bigger impacts: “If everyone’s thinking the same, how are you going to push the envelope?”
‘Hit the ground running’
Although the details of her future work with the Royal Foundation are still under wraps, Markle said she has already been meeting with organizations and experts in the UK who work on the issue of female empowerment.
“I’m… learning as much as I can to help maximize the opportunity,” she said.
While acknowledging that the next few months would be busy with wedding plans, Markle said she is keen to start working on her projects as soon as possible after May 19 alongside her husband.
“I want to hit the ground running,” she said.
“We are delighted to welcome Meghan to the Foundation,” the charity said in a statement. “She has always shown great drive and compassion for making a difference in the world, and we are excited to embark on important projects together.”
CNN’s Max Foster contributed to this report