Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, continues to champion a cause close to her heart, even after stepping away from her royal role. Smart Works, a UK-based charity that empowers unemployed and vulnerable women to find work, has been the focus of Meghan’s dedication since she became its patron in 2019. On the occasion of Smart Works’ tenth anniversary, Meghan expressed her heartfelt appreciation for the organization’s transformative work.
Royal Patronage to Transatlantic Support
Meghan’s association with Smart Works began during her time as a working royal. It was one of the four original public patronages she received after marrying Prince Harry in 2018. Despite the couple’s decision to step back from their royal roles and move to California in 2020, Meghan has steadfastly continued her patronage of Smart Works. Her unwavering commitment to the organization showcases her enduring dedication to supporting women in need.
Meghan Markle Empowering Unemployed Women
Smart Works, founded in 2013, has made a significant impact over the past decade. The organization has worked with over 32,000 women, provided guidance, and watched as 69% of the women they’ve assisted secured employment. Smart Works not only offers professional attire for job interviews but also provides coaching and empowerment to help women regain their confidence and independence.
From Patronage to Partnership
Meghan’s involvement with Smart Works goes beyond her role as a patron. She has made several private visits to Smart Works hubs, both before and after officially becoming a patron. Notably, she chose to visit Smart Works for her return to royal duties after her maternity leave following the birth of Prince Archie in 2019. Additionally, Meghan launched a capsule collection of women’s workwear in collaboration with Smart Works, demonstrating her commitment to empowering women in the workforce.
Even after her family’s move to California, Meghan has maintained her connection with Smart Works. She has made video calls and sent personal messages of encouragement to women who are job hunting with the organization. In March 2021, Smart Works revealed that Meghan sent handwritten notes to wish luck to women seeking employment. Her calligraphy skills were put to good use as she addressed and signed each message with a sentence or two of encouragement in her own handwriting.
In November 2022, the sustainable fashion brand Cuyana, based in California and led by women, donated 500 Classic Structured Tote Bags to Smart Works. Meghan, in a statement, expressed her enthusiasm for this collaboration, noting that she also owns one of these bags. She even carried the same tote at Wimbledon in 2014 and used them as thank-you favors for friends who attended her NYC baby shower for Archie four years ago.
Meghan’s patronages have evolved over the years. In 2019, it was announced that she would support four patronages during her royal work, including Smart Works, the National Theatre, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, and Mayhew, an animal welfare charity in England. While her patronage of the National Theatre and the Association of Commonwealth Universities reverted to the crown when she and Prince Harry decided to step back in 2020, Meghan retained her relationships with Smart Works and Mayhew.
Today, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex give back and pay it forward through the Archewell Foundation, the charitable arm of their larger Archewell organization, which includes Archewell Audio and Archewell Productions. Their recent involvement in Prince Harry’s Invictus Games and their continued dedication to causes like Smart Works illustrate their ongoing commitment to making a positive impact on society.