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Meghan’s sparkle: Why the latest royal has won our hearts

She’s the newest member of the Royal Family and Meghan Markle has certainly made an impression as Louise Rouvray discovers. . .

Royal seal of approval – Meghan has won the nation’s heart
Royal seal of approval – Meghan has won the nation’s heart

She’s just turned 37 and appears unstoppable – Meghan, the untraditional addition to the royal family, was a breath of fresh air for the country earlier this year and became the anti-princess that inspired millions.

She embraced the fairytale while breaking it – a prince swept her off her feet, but she was no damsel in distress.

Articulate, elegant and outspoken, Meghan is grounded and knows her own mind, and her new role with the royal family has not erased her roots.

An American divorcee from a modern family with an ordinary upbringing, Meghan naturally possesses a quality the other royals can only strive for – she’s relatable.

While it’s hard to picture William and Kate cooking together and chucking a film on, it’s easy to imagine Meghan seasoning up a chicken dinner with Harry before sinking into the sofa with a glass of wine and cosying up for the night.

And almost three months after a wedding that shook up a centuries-old royal rite of passage with contemporary culture and American brashness, Meghan shows no sign of slowing down.

She celebrated her first birthday as a member of the royal family on August 4, but did have to spend the day on dignitary duty – at a wedding with Prince Harry who was best man.

It seems the happy couple have had a packed schedule since tying the knot on May 19. The newlyweds even had to delay their honeymoon to attend Prince Charles’ 70th birthday garden party days after saying I Do. And weeks later joined the Queen’s Birthday parade Trooping the Colour on June 9, where they were spotted on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the first time.

Later that month the pair attended the wedding of Princess Diana’s niece, Celia McCorquodale, Prince Harry’s younger cousin.

But they haven’t been joined at the hip – with Meghan making her own mark on British society. The Duchess of Sussex was spotted sharing a giggle with the Queen in June, during an overnight trip together to Cheshire. On her first royal engagement without Prince Harry by her side, Meghan stayed at ease and in good spirits as she was shown the ropes by the 92-year-old monarch.

And last month she stepped out with her sister-in-law Kate Middleton for the first time without their hubbies. Cheering on Meghan’s close friend Serena Williams at Wimbledon, the ladies could be seen grinning on their girl’s day out.

Meghan’s also been seen at fundraisers, flypasts, memorials and sporting events. But it didn’t take being a royal for the 37-year-old to make her mark on the world. From actress to entrepreneur and women’s rights activist, Meghan’s passion for charity and advocacy started long before she met Harry.

She’s been outspoken about the challenges of being biracial, the inequality faced by women and has actively taken part in humanitarian and community work.

She has spent time in a refugee camp in Rwanda, where she travelled as an advocate for UN Women, volunteered at a soup kitchen in LA’s notorious homeless area, Skid Row and even lobbied a US company to change its sexist TV commercial for dishwashing soap, aged just 11.

It’s safe to say, she is not your typical royal.

She previously said: “I’ve never wanted to be a lady who lunches – I’ve always wanted to be a woman who works. And this type of work is what feeds my soul, and fuels my purpose.”

It’s this attitude that’s won over the hearts of so many millions. And why women up and down the country have been inspired by her intelligence and independence.

Although it may seem Meghan has been propelled into the spotlight and has an easy ride now, she did have to give up a lot of her former life – including converting to a new religion, moving to a new country, shutting down her old lifestyle blog The Tig along with her social media accounts and quitting her acting job on American drama series Suits.

She also gave up her advocacy work with the UN and role as a World Vision ambassador, instead taking on new causes through the Royal Foundation.

“With fame comes opportunity, but it also includes responsibility – to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings. And, if I’m lucky enough, to inspire,” Meghan once said.

So happy birthday Meghan, keep on inspiring us!

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