The Duchess of Sussex has said people have the power to change a world that seems “aggressive, confrontational and dangerous”.
A day after Meghan’s decision to sue a national newspaper, after it published a letter she wrote to her father, was announced she urged others to take control.
The duchess’s comments came in a speech that marked the end of the Sussex’s 10-day tour of southern Africa with baby son Archie.
Meghan told designers, entrepreneurs and business people gathered at the Johannesburg residence of Britain’s High Commissioner to South Africa Nigel Casey: “In a world that can seem so aggressive, confrontational, and dangerous, you should know that you have the power to change it.
“Because whether you’re here in South Africa, at home in the UK or the US, or around the world, you actually have the power within you to change things, and that begins with how you connect to others.
“I have learned from the people I’ve met here, that whether it’s about society’s expectations of masculinity or femininity, or how we divide ourselves by race or faith or class or status – everyone has value, and everyone deserves to be heard and respected.”
At the event, Harry and Meghan toured stands that featured the work of designers and creatives and at one display the couple were given his and hers watches made just for royalty.
Watch designer Lunga Ntuli presented gifts to Meghan – a timepiece that featured a beaded strap in the colours purple, white, red, and blue for a Nkosana or prince, and another with a pink, green and yellow strap for a Nkosazana, or princess.
Mr Ntuli said: “The watches have a little love note in them, which tells the story behind the colours which all have a meaning.
“She said to me ‘it’s not just it’s a watch, it has meaning, a watch that has a story – that’s so fulfilling’.”
Meghan went on to highlight an issue she has raised awareness about during her trip – gender-based violence.
The duchess paid tribute to University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana, aged 19, whose rape and murder shocked South Africans, in a country where attacks against women are rising.
She said: “Gender-based violence is a harrowing reality for many women around the world. And for some, like the beautiful and talented Uyinene, this violence has taken women from us who have, who had, a life full of hope and dreams ahead of them.”
The duchess went on to say: “Over the past 10 days, our family has had emotional moments, we’ve poignant moments, we’ve had spiritual moments, we’ve met inspirational leaders in every walk of life, and we’ve been treated to incredible food, music, and dancing.
“But above all, we have been able to meet the people that are the rocks behind the sort of work that really means so much to us.
“It has been affirming to learn that we’re not alone in the things that we believe in, and the principles we hold so dear.”
In a short speech, Harry highlighted the economic importance of Africa which drew applause from the audience.
“When Africa prospers, the world prospers. The Africa Investment Summit, that as already mentioned, we will be hosting in London next year will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase the potential here to the world,” he said.
“This is truly a continent of opportunity.”