In Depth

Meghan Markle edits Vogue: what to expect

The Duchess of Sussex has guest edited the next edition of Vogue

The Duchess of Sussex has been named guest editor of the September issue of British Vogue.

Meghan Markle reportedly spent seven months putting the magazine together with the help of editor-in-chief Edward Enninful. “It’s the first time the magazine has allowed an outsider to guest-edit the September issue, which is seen as the biggest and most important edition of the year,” says the Daily Mirror.

So what can we expect?

The front cover

“Appearing on the cover of Vogue has always signalled to the world that you have made it as a style icon,” notes the Daily Express - but Markle has decided not to be the cover star. Enninful revealed that she thought it would appear “boastful”.

Instead, the cover will feature 15 inspiring women from around the world, as well as a mirrored panel to “include the reader and encourage them to use their own platforms to effect change”, notes Hello! magazine.

The stars include actor Jameela Jamil, diversity advocate Sinéad Burke and author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

The 15 cover portraits for the special edition - entitled Forces for Change - were captured in June across three continents and several days, reports Vogue.

“All the women were different, but they each had something special,” photographer Peter Lindbergh says. “Sometimes I worry I am becoming an old shmuck, but it was wonderful to photograph this project.”

The upcoming issue will be the German photographer’s first cover for the magazine since September 1992.

Lindbergh, 74, photographed most of the cover stars in studios in London and New York, but made a special trip to Stockholm to capture 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, who was “unwilling to compromise on her ‘no-fly’ policy”, Vogue reports. “She was so thoughtful, so warm, and I was determined to get a picture of her smiling,” Lindbergh told the magazine. “Within two minutes she was laughing.”

Another shoot took place via video link - a first for British Vogue and for Lindbergh. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, was captured in Auckland.

“She’s not a politician who talks about social housing then drives away in a sports car,” Lindbergh said. “She was so funny and kind, and, I have to say, extremely beautiful.”

Meghan’s one demand

Markle only had one demand, according to Hello! magazine.

“My instructions from the Duchess were clear: ‘I want to see freckles!’” said Lindbergh. “Well, that was like running through open doors for me. I love freckles.” 

Hello! says it “comes as no surprise Peter was picked to be the man behind the lens”, pointing out that he photographed Meghan’s 2016 Vanity Fair cover story, when “she spoke out about her romance with Prince Harry for the first time”.

“Peter sees beauty in real people, in real situations,” Enninful says. “He makes everybody feel their best.”

Meghan’s decision not to conceal the women’s freckles echoes an interview with Allure in 2017: “To this day, my pet peeve is when my skin tone is changed and my freckles are airbrushed out of a photoshoot,” she said.

Inside the magazine

The special edition will include a “candid conversation” between the Duchess and Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States, as well as an interview with Dr Jane Goodall - ethologist and primatologist - and Prince Harry.

“These last seven months have been a rewarding process, curating and collaborating with Edward Enninful, British Vogue’s editor-in-chief, to take the year’s most-read fashion issue and steer its focus to the values, causes and people making impact in the world today,” says Markle. “Through this lens I hope you’ll feel the strength of the collective in the diverse selection of women chosen for the cover, as well as the team of support I called upon within the issue to help bring this to light.”

Enninful added: “To have the country’s most influential beacon of change guest edit British Vogue at this time has been an honour, a pleasure and a wonderful surprise. As you will see from her selections throughout this magazine, she is also willing to wade into more complex and nuanced areas, whether they concern female empowerment, mental health, race or privilege.”

The September issue of British Vogue is available on Friday.

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