Meghan’s first four patronages were announced today and they make perfect sense for The Duchess. We were also treated to seeing her carry out an engagement at one of them, Smart Works, a charity that provides free coaching and clothing for women with confirmed job interviews.
Before getting into today’s visit to Smart Works we want to take a look at Meghan’s new patronages. From the Kensington Palace news release:
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex will become Patron of four organisations that reflect the causes and issues with which she has long been associated including the arts, access to education, support for women and animal welfare.
When you see the four organizations I think you’ll agree they really are ideal choices for Meghan, and very much in sync with volunteer work and causes we have seen her support for years.
Two of the charities Meghan will be supporting are patronages passed to her by the Queen.
The first is the National Theatre; HM was royal patron for 45 years. The Palace notes that while Meghan worked in TV for many years her training was in theater; it was one of her majors at Northwestern. KP adds that Meghan, “volunteered at a performing arts after school programme for children in underprivileged school districts in Los Angeles.” The Theatre’s artistic director, Rufus Norris, who has met with Meghan, said “The Duchess shares our deeply-held conviction that theater has the power to bring together people from all communities and walks of life.”
One of the theatre’s major new initiatives, Public Acts, is a participatory program involving the community. Below, a scene from Shakespeare’s Pericles, the first Public Acts production.
ASSOCIATION OF COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITIES
Among the topics at that meeting: “…the role of higher education in addressing issues such as human trafficking, modern slavery, gender equality, peace and reconciliation, and climate change” according to Kensington Palace.
The choice points to Meghan’s long held opinion that accessible education is vital for all. Many will recall the Duchess’s speech on the topic in October when on tour in Fiji. From Meghan’s remarks at the University of the South Pacific (an ACU member university): “Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive the education they want, but more importantly the education they have the right to receive. And for women and girls in developing countries, this is vital.” One of the ACU’s key principles is the value of higher education to society – or its role ‘as a common good,’ per a palace press release.
Mayhew is an animal charity “for dogs, cats and communities.” It is very much in Meghan’s wheelhouse; her love of pets is well known. The organization said it is “…thrilled that HRH shares our commitment to improving the lives of animals and people at home and internationally, and are extremely excited to make a real difference to dogs, cats and communities together.”
One of the ways the Mayhew helps places pets is through social media. Here is a Twitter post featuring a puppy named Dexter.
One tennis ball is never enough. ???
Meet Dexter, the confident, bouncy and headstrong Siberian #Husky puppy. He’s looking for an experienced owner who has plenty of time on their hands to train and socialise him. Get to know Dexter here? https://t.co/DQC6EcEtkR #adopt pic.twitter.com/4fZzxdoZv6
— Mayhew (@themayhew) January 8, 2019
Mayhew pioneered a program called TheraPaws, Below, Margaret, a resident at Westmead Care Home in North London; she is getting a visit from Doodle.
The organization “…helps long-term unemployed and vulnerable women regain the skills, confidence and tools to succeed at job interviews, return to employment and transform their lives.” This tweet offers a client’s perspective.
‘I got so much confidence from talking to a coach and getting that hands on advice. She told me I had everything there; it was just a matter of reminding myself.’
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 10, 2019
There are seven Smart Works locations in the UK offering free interview clothing and coaching for women with confirmed job interviews. More about Meghan’s involvement from an Elle story:
Her role with Smart Works comes after 10 months of private visits to the British charity. It was a full circle moment for Meghan, who worked for an initiative providing prom dresses to underprivileged girls in Chicago during her time at Northwestern University.
Now to the engagement at Smart Works today. Below, a video of Meghan arriving from Rebecca English of The Daily Mail.
— Rebecca English (@RE_DailyMail) January 10, 2019
ITV reports the Duchess said “You guys know I’ve been quietly coming by … close to a year. It’s nice to be able to now do it publicly and really talk about the work that you do.”
The organization said that Meghan’s “….decision to support Smart Works reflects her passion in supporting women, and her commitment will help women in need across the UK.” And from Smart Works Chair and Founder Juliet Hughes-Hallett:
“We have been honoured to welcome The Duchess to our West London centre and see her engage with our clients and volunteers. Her empathy and insight were obvious. The Duchess is a natural coach and our clients were inspired and helped by her.
Here you see Meghan speaking with Ruma, who was out of work for almost an entire year; she was referred to Smart Works by The Prince’s Trust. She now has a part-time job and will be coming back to the office to pick out outfits.
This video from Emily Andrews of The Sun shows Meghan working with another client.
Video: Duchess #meghan helping Patsy Wardally, 56, chose an outfit pic.twitter.com/7gwgKpjMCE
— Emily Andrews (@byEmilyAndrews) January 10, 2019
In her story for The Telegraph Charlie Gowans-Eglinton reports the charity has helped 11,000 women in the five years it has been operating.
In many ways, it’s not a suprising choice for Meghan, who has given speeches on her own feminist views and the importance of women’s education in developing countries, as well as supporting The Hubb Community Kitchen, founded by female survivors of the Grenfell Fire.
But Smart Works has fashion at its heart, and fashion causes are so often dismissed or belittled. How important can an outfit really be? And how could a new dress possibly change a woman’s life?
The Duchess looking at jewelry during today’s visit.
Back to The Telegraph piece:
But for women who have spent years out of work due to illness or homelessness, pride in their personal appearance isn’t something to be taken for granted – and neither is having the resources to buy a sharp new blazer or smart pair of shoes to wear to an interview. In those seven seconds – the amount of time we have to make that all-important first impression – wouldn’t we all want to be dressed the part?
Here you see the Duchess Patsy Wardly
A Daily Mail story shares a fun anecdote about Meghan’s experience during a previous visit to Smart Works:
While picking out an outfit for a visitor today Meghan said: ‘The last time I was here I suggested a purse to someone.
‘It was one that I donated and she didn’t like and I was like ‘oh OK’. I thought it was great.’
Meghan was in a coat we’d not previously seen, the Oscar de la Renta Cotton Twill Coat ($2990), a staple form the label’s permanent collection.Crafted from a 100% cotton twill fabric, the midi length piece is a swing style with oversize lapels and collar.
Many thanks to Emma4AboutRoyal, as well as Charlotte of Mad About Meghan and Elizabeth from Meghan’s Fashion for pointing this out.
Hatch is a US brand founded in 2011 by Ariane Goldman, a former American Express executive who also owns a bridal brand, Two Birds New York.Meghan was in the Eliza Dress ($218), done in a two-way stretch knit that is a viscose/poly blend. It is midi length and has ribbed detailing at the neckline and cuff. It is available at Hatch Collection, as well as at Shopbop. The maternity line has performed so well, Ms. Goldman has started Hatch Beauty, offering products described as “plant-derived and mama safe.” Meghan carried another bag by Victoria Beckham, the brand’s Vanity Top Handle Leather Tote.
The bag is another style inspired by vintage designs. It measures 8″ x 6″ x 3″ and features slot pockets and a mirror inside, with a goldtone hardware clasp and protective feet. Originally selling for $1,338, at Net-A-Porter. Our thanks to Lauren for the ID on this item.
We are still looking for the gloves Meghan wore. They are similar to a pair by Dent’s, but we want to do a little more checking before we post anything definitive.
Several longtime Meghan fashion followers, including our own Susan Courter, recognized the shoes immediately.
The style is a basic for Gianvito Rossi, seen in varying iterations every collection.
Meghan’s ring appears to be a crescent moon in gold.
We are still looking for the ring. Is it similar to one from I+I Jewelry, however we want to confirm before providing more information.
The brand is a perfect fit for the Duchess: the company’s stones are ethically sourced, and they donate 10% of all profits to Set Beautiful Free, an Indian charity that rescues women and children from sex slavery and teaches them skills to begin a new life.
Kirsty Patterson, who started i+i while living in India and making jewelry for a London-based jewelry brand, wanted to design jewelry that she couldn’t find anywhere else. She describes her pieces as “Feminine but with an edge”. Here is more from the designer:
I design jewellery with a view to it becoming an extension of the person wearing it, whether that be a single piece that you never take off, or multiple pieces that you can layer to reflect your mood. The pieces are designed to be worn together, which allows you to make it unique – pairing individual earrings or stacking the shape rings. My focus is on classic designs that won’t go out of fashion.”
Her pieces have been featured in Vogue, Elle, InStyle, The Sunday Times, Glamour, and Tatler as well as worn by celebrities such as Alexa Chung, Ellie Goulding, Samantha Cameron and Kate Moss. Kristy also creates bespoke pieces.
We’ll leave this portion of the post with a stunning shot of the Duchess from today’s visit to Smart Works.
There are new engagements for Meghan, including several next Monday with Harry and then a solo trip to The Mayhew. From our Meg Events page:
- Monday, 14 January: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will visit the town of Birkenhead. They will spend time at with a number of local groups, including Tomorrow’s Women Wirral and The Hive – Wirral’s Youth Center.
- Wednesday, 16th January: The Duchess will visit The Mayhew, one of her recently announced new patronages. A news release notes that she “… will meet staff, volunteers and beneficiaries, and hear more about the animal welfare charity’s various initiatives, from community engagement to international projects.”
- Read the Kensington Palace official news release on Meghan’s first four patronages by clicking here
- Visit the Smart Works website to learn more about the organization; the group’s Facebook page is here; its Instagram page is here and Twitter feed here; a stellar background piece on the organization by The Telegraph is here, and today’s piece that we quoted from in the post may be read here
- Learn more about Mayhew at the charity’s site; the organization’s Facebook page is here; its Twitter feed is here
- The National Theatre site is here; its Facebook page may be seen here; the organization’s Twitter feed is here and YouTube page here
- Learn more about the Association of Commonwealth Universities at its website here; see a list of member universities by clicking here; the organization’s Facebook page is here; its Twitter feed is here
- The Daily Mail’s coverage is here; Charlie Gowans-Eglinton’s news piece for The Telegraph is here; The Evening Standard’s article with slideshow is here; Richard Palmer’s Express story about today’s visit and Meghan’s patronages is here
- People’s slideshow is here; The Fug Girls post is here; The Daily Mail’s fashion story is here