In Depth

Meghan Markle: what to expect from her life as a royal

The new Duchess of Sussex is diving straight into her royal duties

Following her marriage to Prince Harry, Meghan Markle will now be known as the Duchess of Sussex - but her name is far from the only thing that has changed. By marrying into “the Firm”, the 36-year-old has traded in her career as a US television star for a very different way of life.

Markle may have broken with tradition to organise a wedding that was unconventional in many ways, but she has respected the convention that senior members of the royal family do not hold a public-facing “day job”, outside the armed forces.

So, while being able to smile and look interested on cue will surely serve her well in her royal duties, acting roles are firmly off the cards for the newly-minted duchess.

Fortunately, Markle has a long history of activism and charity work which gives her a solid foundation for her new life as a royal.

According to her biography on the official royal family website, she wrote a letter protesting against a “sexist” advert aged 11 and began volunteering at a soup kitchen at the age of 13.

The biography, which makes only a passing reference to the duchess’s acting career, paints a portrait of a woman passionately committed to female empowerment, particularly in the developing world.

Charities she has worked with include UN Women and Myna Mahila Foundation “who empower women through access to menstrual hygiene products and employment opportunities”.

As well as women’s rights, she has also worked on charity campaigns around youth leadership, modern-day slavery and access to drinking water.

She is in good company in her new family when it comes to campaigning for causes close to her heart. Her first official appearance with Prince Harry was at the Invictus Games, an international sporting competition he founded for wounded service personnel, and both Harry and William have also been vocal advocates for mental health.

Prince Charles’ environmentalism is well-documented, while the rehabilitation of the Duchess of Cornwall’s public image has been partly attributed to her work with victims of domestic abuse.

While the precise details of how the new duchess intends to use her position remain to be seen, she has already said that she intends to “hit the ground running”.

In fact, the couple are so keen to get started on their royal duties that they are holding off on enjoying a honeymoon until they have some public engagements under their belt.

“Meghan is due to join the Queen at the Chelsea Flower Show this week, before the newest member of the royal family and her husband make a short trip to Ireland,” News.com.au reports.

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