I started my Year In Review series for The Duchess of Sussex back in December of 2019 with Meghan’s fashion and I fully intended to finish up this series before now, but here we are in February 2020 and I’m just now getting around to posting Meghan’s 2019 highlights (this is part 2 of the series; part 3 will be about her engagement numbers).
Announcement of Patronages
Meghan started off 2019 with a bang, announcing her first four patronages on January 10. She wanted to focus on four main causes and issues: the arts, access to education, support for women, and animal welfare. She chose one patronage to represent each of those four topics: The National Theatre; Association of Commonwealth Universities; Smart Works; and Mayhew.Embed from Getty Images
Her first visits to her new patronages took place swiftly. On January 10, Meghan visited Smart Works; and on January 16 she visited Mayhew.Embed from Getty Images
Meghan then did back to back days of visiting the National Theatre, on January 30, and the ACU on January 31.Embed from Getty Images
Meghan later became Vice-President of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust on March 8. Her events with One Young World in October were in conjunction with the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.
Birth of Archie
On May 6, 2019, Meghan and Harry became parents for the first time when Meghan gave birth to their son, Archie Harrison. Archie was born at 5:26am, weighing 7lbs 3oz.Embed from Getty Images
On May 8, Harry and Meghan did a short photo shoot and interview with their new baby. On new motherhood, Meghan said: “It’s magic. It’s pretty amazing, and, I mean, I have the two best guys in the world, so I’m really happy.”
Archie’s Christening took place on July 6 at Windsor Castle. Meghan and Harry decided on a private Christening, so press were not allowed to photograph the arrivals, and the names of the godparents were not released.
The only known members to attend the Christening were the ones in the official Christening portrait released on the day of the Christening. Back row (L-R): Prince Charles, Doria Ragland (Meghan’s mom), Lady Jane Fellowes (Harry’s aunt/Diana’s sister), Lady Sarah McCorquodale (Harry’s aunt/Diana’s sister), Prince William. Front row (L-R): The Duchess of Cornwall, Harry, Meghan, Archie, The Duchess of Cambridge. This photo was taken in the Green Drawing Room.
As a second photo, Harry and Meghan released a black and white image of them holding Archie outside with the Rose Garden in the background.
Meghan guest-edited the September 2019 issue of British Vogue. Her theme for the issue was “Forces for Change” – she included 15 women on the cover, and discussed those women and other organizations within the issue.
Meghan wrote an editor’s letter, saying in part:
There were facets I felt were of prime importance to include within this issue – elements that would hopefully set the tone, knowing this issue hits stands in August, just as readers gear up for the September fashion shows, where judgement can become clouded and focus skewed toward the superficial. I had read a book many moons ago called The Four-Chambered Heart, by Anaïs Nin, which had a quote that has always resonated with me: “I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.” For this issue, I imagined, why would we swim in the shallow end of the pool when we could go to the deep end? A metaphor for life, as well as for this issue. Let’s be braver. Let’s go a bit deeper.
That’s what Edward and I have aimed to achieve. An issue of both substance and levity. It is, after all, the September issue of British Vogue, and an opportunity to further diversify what that typically represents. Throughout these pages you’ll find Commonwealth designers, ethical and sustainable brands, as well as features with designers not about clothes but about heritage, history and heirloom. You’ll also find a beauty section that puts its energy towards internal beauty, celebrating the power of breathing and meditation, and a favourite workout that urges you to use your heart as much as your core. […]
But more than anything, this issue is about the power of the collective. In identifying our personal strengths, it is anchored in the knowledge that we are even stronger together. You will find that spirit of inclusivity on the cover: diverse portraiture of women of varying age, colour, creed, nationality and life experience, and of unquestionable inspiration. Some, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and enlisted personally for this issue, others I’ve admired from afar for their commitment to a cause, their fearlessness in breaking barriers, or what they represent simply by being. These are our forces for change. And among all of these strong women on the cover, a mirror – a space for you, the reader, to see yourself. Because you, too, are part of this collective.Vogue UK
In addition to her editor’s letter, Meghan wrote two other articles (which I can find online): discussing Smart Works; and an interview with Michelle Obama.
On September 12, 2019, Meghan officially launched the Smart Set collection – a collaboration between Meghan and Smart Works and fashion brands John Lewis & Partners, Marks & Spencer, Jigsaw, and Misha Nonoo to create work wear essentials needed for interviews and entering into the workplace.
Meghan gave a speech, saying in part:
And a big piece of this is trying to transform the idea of charity to community and the way that we do that I think as people. […] Community is going through your closet and saying, this is the blazer I wore when I nailed my first job interview and got my dream job and I don’t need that anymore because I’m where I want to be. But if I’m able to share that blazer and be part of another woman’s success story then that’s community.
This was Meghan’s big charitable project for the year that she worked on behind the scenes for months before launching the project publicly.
South Africa Tour
Regardless of what happened at the end of the tour, the South Africa tour was a success. Meghan completed 19 official engagements during the tour – and an additional 3 or so visits that for some reason weren’t officially listed in the CC – and gave 3 speeches while in South Africa.
Meghan began the tour saying, in part:
And just on one personal note, 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. I am here with you and I am here FOR you and I thank you so much for showing my husband and I the spirit of Ubuntu and I look forward to our time over the next few days together. Thank you so much for having us.South Africa week 1
Meghan closed out the tour saying:
When we can bridge divides, and meet, as human beings with different experiences, we can all find connection – and in that connection we become more aware of one another, more aware of our place in the world. We find hope, and self-worth, we can find optimism and courage, and ultimately, we can find joy.South Africa week 2
And of course, who can forget the highest of highlights from the South Africa tour: little Archie meeting Desmond Tutu.