Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Make a Call for Action Ahead of International Women's Day

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are encouraging others to "unleash a groundswell of real acts of compassion" ahead of International Women's Day.

Just a week and a half after Buckingham Palace confirmed that the couple will not return as working members of the royal family, Meghan and Prince Harry have updated their non-profit website for International Women's Day. The new page on the Archewell Foundation site shares ideas how to mark the March 8 holiday.

"Women Deserve Recognition — and also Support," reads the page's headline.

"We know the world is asking more and more of women every day — as wage earners, leaders, educators, carers, and more," it continues. "In recognition of International Women's Day, let's unleash a groundswell of real acts of compassion for the women in your life and in your community."

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Suggestions include everything from donating to local maternity wards and food kitchens to ordering from a women-run restaurant or helping a family member sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The recommendations even include simple gestures like checking in with a loved one.

"From work to family care, many of us are juggling a lot at the moment," the suggestion says. "Asking something as simple as 'Are you OK?' can go a long way." The question echoes back to Meghan and Harry's documentary with ITV's Tom Bradby, made during their 2019 tour of Africa.

"I guess, also thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I'm okay, but it's a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes," Meghan said in speaking about adapting to life as a new mom in addition to pressures of being in the spotlight.

Last year, Meghan observed International Women's Day by visiting the Robert Clack Upper School in the east London town of Dagenham during her and Prince Harry's final round of royal engagements in the U.K. She spoke to 700 students, who range in age from 11 to 18, about a variety of women's issues that she has taken on in her work.

"When we thought about what I wanted to do for International Women's Day this year, for me it was incredibly important to be with the women of our future," Meghan, 39, said in her speech. "And that is all of the young women here, as well as the young men who play a very large part in this. Specifically coming to your school made a lot of sense for me because of this social justice and the impact that it's rooted in."

Meghan has a long history of honoring International Women's Day. While pregnant with son Archie in 2019, she spoke on a special panel hosted by King's College London.

In 2018, Meghan and husband Prince Harry stepped out in Birmingham and joined a social enterprise event, where young women were taking part in a variety of activities designed to boost recognition of science, technology, engineering and math-based education and jobs.

Back in 2015, Meghan gave an impassioned speech at a UN Women's conference in New York in which she talked about gender equality.

"I am proud to be a woman and a feminist, and this evening I am extremely proud to stand before you on this significant day, which serves as a reminder to all of us of how far we've come, but also amid celebration a reminder of the road ahead," she said.

The new International Women's Day page on the Archewell Foundation website follows another update made over the weekend. When the couple relaunched the website at the end of the year, they shared two childhood photos with their mothers on the site's homepage. Now, the homepage features a photo of Meghan and Harry wearing masks while volunteering.

"Compassion in action," reads a new message on the site. "Welcome to Archewell. Through our non-profit work, as well as creative activations, we drive systemic cultural change across all communities, one act of compassion at a time." 

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Meghan and Harry — who are expecting their second child — previously asserted their commitment to public service after Queen Elizabeth announced they wouldn't be returning as working royals.

"Following conversations with The Duke, The Queen has written confirming that in stepping away from the work of The Royal Family it is not possible to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service," the palace statement said.

As part of stepping down, they will no longer keep their patronages (their royal involvement with numerous U.K. charities).

In response, Harry and Meghan pushed back, saying in a statement: "We can all live a life of service. Service is universal."

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