In a recent video, Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle emerged from the Los Angeles hideaway where she’s been living a relatively quiet life with her family, to address the graduating class of 2020 at her alma mater, Immaculate Heart High School.
Markle and her husband recently stirred up what we thought would be the biggest firestorm of 2020 when they left behind the British tabloids, paparazzi, the rest of the royal family, and the Queen herself, and fled to the United States.
Markle used the opportunity to talk about the Black Lives Matter movement in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. She called the events that led to the protests and demonstrations taking place in Los Angeles “absolutely devastating,” and admitted that she wasn’t entirely sure what to say in her commencement speech in such a fraught moment. But Markle stepped up to offer words of comfort and encouragement, and voice her support for the movement.
“The only wrong thing to say is to say nothing,” Markle, her voice imbued with the passion familiar to anyone who followed her career as an outspoken advocate for women’s rights. “Because George Floyd’s life mattered and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered and Philando Castile’s life mattered and Tamir Rice’s life mattered. And so did so many other people whose names we know and whose names we do not know.”
Markle went on to share her memories of the 1992 Rodney King riot in Los Angeles, stating that she hoped that by now young people who would think of these protests against racism and police brutality as just a “history lesson, not as your reality.”
“So I’m sorry that in a way we have not gotten the world to the place that you deserve it to be,” she added. Markle then assured them that they would be part of the efforts to rebuild the US.
When the Duke and Duchess announced that they would be stepping down as working members of the royal family, they clearly did not mean they would stop working entirely. Markle’s goal was always to use her newfound platform to advocate for human rights and social justice, but the rules guiding the British royal family stifled a voice she desperately wanted to use. Now that she’s no longer tethered to the family, monetarily or otherwise, Markle is free to speak openly about the issues that are shaping the world.
This video is likely just the beginning of Markle’s reintroduction into the public eye. We can likely expect to hear more from her soon, and we should be thanking the British royal family for letting her and Harry go without a fight. She’s arguably the most famous woman on the planet right now so when she says “George Floyd’s life mattered,” people listen.