As Meghan Markle and Prince Harry announce that they are expecting a royal baby, we look at how the future Duchess of Sussex used activism in her childhood to demonstrate to kids that their voices really matter.
Born in 1981 in Los Angeles, Meghan is a film and television actress who became a member of the British royal family upon her marriage to Prince Harry in May 2018.
Meghan Markle: An Inspiring Princess
"Meghan told me that I can achieve whatever I want to achieve.”
- Sophie, aged 10
The Young Activist
Aged 11, Meghan took issue with a dishwasher detergent tagline which stated, “women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans”. Believing this line was sexist, Meghan’s dissatisfaction with the advert was compounded when two boys in her school remarked that women belonged in the kitchen. Feeling compelled to act, Meghan decided to write to the then U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton, Linda Ellerbee and attorney Gloria Allred as well as writing a letter to the soap manufacturer.
You can watch the clip here:
Making a Difference
Though she didn’t expect it, Meghan received letters of encouragement from all three women. Shortly afterwards, camera crew arrived at her house to cover the story. About a month later, the makers of the advertisement changed the wording to “people all over America”. What a great result!
Standing Up for Equality!
In this way, Meghan realised that she had, even at her young age, instigated a very real change for the better.
“It was at that moment that I realised the magnitude of my actions. At the age of 11, I had created my small level of impact by standing up for equality.”
- Meghan Markle
Inspiration for a Generation
That success of a young activist has fuelled a determination to continue campaigning which has continued until this day. By being a positive role model and advocating for equality, society can remind “girls that their small voices are, in fact, not small at all and they can affect change”, says Meghan.
Indeed, Meghan continued her civic engagement beyond her childhood and far into her adulthood. A UN ambassador for gender equality and empowerment of women, Meghan continued to advocate for women with this powerful speech which she delivered on International Women’s Day in March 2015.
Meghan feels strongly that “we must remind women that their involvement matters, that they need to become active in their communities, in their local governments, as well as their highest parliamentary positions. It’s just imperative”.
You can watch a section of that powerful speech here:
‘Vogue’s 21 Under 21’
Meghan’s confidence as an activist, both as a child and an adult are undeniably inspiring and put us very much in mind of the ethos with which Lottie Dolls was founded. Lottie believes in the power of children and young people to make very real changes in our world. In 2018, two of our own Lottie ambassadors, Allie and Taylor were named as two of Vogue’s ’21 Under 21’ cementing their place as two of the most influential voices of their generation.
Like Meghan, Taylor (pictured left) proved there’s no age limit for activism, raising enough money at age 9 to send herself to space camp. In 2018 now aged 15, Taylor raised over $100K to bring 1000 girls to see the culturally diverse movie ‘A Wrinkle in Time’, $50K of which was donated by none other than Oprah herself.
Little Miss Flint
In 2018, Lottie Dolls became aware of an even younger activist, Mari Copeny. Better known as ‘Little Miss Flint’, Mari has worked tirelessly since the age of 8 to secure safe drinking water for the residents of her hometown of Flint, Michigan. While she has campaigned and met with the then President, Barrack Obama, she has also fundraised to donate over half a million bottles of water to the people of Flint.
In tribute to the ongoing work done by Mari, and in the hope of inspiring more children and young people to realise that their lives and voices matter, Lottie Dolls created the Kid Activist Doll. The doll, complete with megaphone, placards and Mari’s cute signature tiara, is intended to signify the astonishing work done by Mari and other children of her generation in making our world a better place!