She’s adapted to royal life with ease since announcing her engagement and subsequent wedding to Prince Harry, and now Meghan has celebrated being given four of her own patronages with a glamorous royal engagement.
The Duchess of Sussex was officially made patron of The National Theatre and The Association of Commonwealth Universities after the Queen passed over the helm after holding the roles for 45 and 33 years respectively. Meanwhile, Meghan will also be patron of charities Smart Works, helping unemployed and vulnerable women, and Mayhew, an animal charity based in Kensal Green, North West London.
Just hours after Kensington Palace shared the news online, the duchess visited Smart Works itself to mark the occasion – a charity which helps unemployed and vulnerable women struggling to find work to get hold of new outfits, eventually with the hope that they will regain the skills, confidence and tools to succeed at job interviews. There, she met staff and a group of women inside and offered them fashion tips of her own.
Wearing a simple fitted black dress, reportedly by maternity label Hatch and costing around £179 (AU $317), Meghan proudly showed off her growing baby bump as she kept a protective hand over it throughout most of the visit.
She coupled the dress outside with a £2,600 tan-coloured coat by Oscar de la Renta and towered in some of her most daring heels yet, some vibrant cow-print stilettos reportedly by Gianvito Rossi.
Kensington Palace revealed that Meghan has secretly visited Smart Works several times over the last year, as well as the other three organisations, and has got to know the people involved well during that time.
Meeting the omen on Thursday, she told the group: “I’m so happy to be here. You guys know I’ve been quietly coming by… close to a year. It’s nice to be able to now do it publicly and really talk about the work that you do.”
She added: “It’s a part of community that I’m so drawn to here. It’s not just about donating your clothes and seeing where they land – but being a part of each other’s success stories.”
One of the women to meet Meghan was Patsy Wardally, who eventually went on to get a customer-facing role at London Gatwick Airport after being helped by Smart Works.
Harry’s beautiful wife also met Ruma, who was referred to the charity from the Princes Trust ahead of her own interview. Kensington Palace explained on Twitter: “Ruma had been out of work for almost a year, but has now secured a part time role, and will be coming back to pick a set of outfits from the Dressing Room for her new job.”
The Duchess of Sussex visits @smartworkscharity, after this morning’s announcement Her Royal Highness will be its Patron.The charity helps long term unemployed and vulnerable women regain the skills, confidence and tools to succeed at job interviews, return to employment and transform their lives.After dropping into a roundtable discussion with volunteers and clients, The Duchess met some of the women who have been successful in their interviews after being coached at @smartworkscharity. Many of these women have come from prison, job centres, care homes and homeless shelters – where they have been unsuccessful in over 20 applications. Several women shared their stories with The Duchess today and told HRH how the charity has given the self-belief to improve their lives.????PA
In the @SmartWorksHQ Dressing Room, The Duchess helped Patsy style an outfit for her new job.
The award-winning charity helps unemployed women in their upcoming interviews by offering them an outfit to wear and 1:1 coaching. pic.twitter.com/BZHDK01FeF
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 10, 2019
According to the Mail Online, chair Juliet Hughes-Halley said of Meghan’s visit: “She’s been to see us privately a number of times and was very hands-on, not just with the clothes but with the interviews.
“She has fantastic empathy and has been helping to coach some of our clients. She’s a natural and has already made a big difference.”