SEATTLE — The world was watching on Saturday, May 19 as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made it official in London, becoming the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The news was abuzz with the dress designer, the baker and the cellist. While material things were the talk of the town, they were the last thing on the young newlyweds’ minds. Rather, love and duty to others stood as pillars throughout the day. Both Harry and Meghan have demonstrated deep devotion to the service of others, creating foundations and acting as leaders in others. These philanthropic royals have already made great strides for many lives and communities.
Harry and Meghan’s Charitable Work Began Early in the Their Lives
Harry’s life of service became apparent during his gap year after graduating secondary school, when he visited Africa to participate in charitable work. Since then, the young royal has created and championed numerous charitable events and foundations. With the Prince of Lesotho, Harry co-founded Sentebale, an organization that supports children in Africa with HIV/AIDS as well as orphans in the area. Alongside his brother and sister-in-law, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Harry created Heads Together, a foundation that addresses mental health issues. In 2016, Harry took a public HIV test in the hope of eradicating the stigma associated with the disease and to demonstrate how simple the testing process is. Harry also created the Invictus Games for wounded veterans and has spent time protecting wildlife in Africa and advocating for environmental conservation.
Meghan has been equally devoted to addressing the world’s problems, even from a young age when she volunteered in soup kitchens. Since then, Meghan has become a champion of women’s rights. Before pursuing acting, Meghan took a keen interest in global affairs, interning at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is also a counselor for One Young World and a U.N. Women’s advocate. Most recently, Meghan was named a global ambassador for World Vision. Through the organization, she visited Rwanda on a clean water campaign in 2016 and went on a learning mission to India to address girls’ educational opportunities in 2017.
The Philanthropic Royals Continue Their Focus on Service as a Married Couple
The philanthropic royals humbly asked that donations be made to a list of their favorite charities in lieu of gifts. This request marks the union of two lives that have been shaped by a deep devotion to serving the world and making it a better place.
Among the charities that Harry and Meghan have requested gifts for, many work towards poverty alleviation and the empowerment of individuals. The list includes Crisis (a charity that helps people who are homeless) and the Myna Mahila Foundation (which deals with women’s empowerment in Mumbai). Still others focus on veterans and wildlife conservation—two issues dear to Harry’s heart.
This step of abdicating wedding gifts only shows the continuation of a line of philanthropic royals. In her short life, Princess Diana created great waves of change that have been shouldered and pushed further by both of her sons. In combination, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex have championed the Royal Foundation, originally started by William and Harry in 2009. The program helps to unify different efforts that are important to the couples and the world at large. The Dukes and Duchesses have used their unique influence to incite change. It is almost certain that they will continue to do so for years to come.
– Jessie Serody