Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have announced that they were fortunate enough to witness their son Archie's first steps during the Covid-19 crisis when they met activist Malala Yousafzai for a virtual chat today.
The 36-year-old Duke and 39-year-old Duchess of Sussex, who currently live in their $ 14 million mansion in Santa Barbara after retiring from royal service in March, appeared in a video this afternoon with the 23 year old activists to mark International Girls' Day.
The royals discussed with the Nobel Laureate the importance of a girl's right to a fair education and spoke about how the Covid-19 outbreak has disproportionately affected young women's access to education.
Meanwhile, Meghan also announced that they had "lots of good time with family" during the pandemic. Prince Harry said, "We were both there for Archie's first steps, his first run, his first fall, everything."
Meghan added, "It's just amazing and in so many ways we're lucky enough to have this time to watch him grow." Without Covid we would travel and work more outside and we would have missed a lot of those moments. & # 39;
Harry added, "These are really special moments, but we've worked really, really hard."
The Duchess added that the couple raised their eighteen-month-old son Archie "in a way that his diet is about educational substance and how to learn and how to grow".
Malala graduated from Oxford University earlier this year after surviving being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman at the age of 15 after advocating for the education of girls in her native Pakistan .
Meghan Markle (39) and Prince Harry (36) met activist Malala Yousafzai (23) for a virtual conversation to celebrate International Girls' Day on Sunday
The full video was posted on the Fund's YouTube channel and website at 4pm.
For the occasion, the Duchess opted for a chic sleeveless black polo neck and combined the top with white chinos.
Meanwhile, she swept her hair back into a neatly combed bun and opted for dark lipstick for the video call.
Meghan thanked Malala for the interview and added: “Thank you for having us on such an important day. For girls around the world, everyone wins and is successful when young girls have access to education. It opens the door to social success. & # 39;
The activist asked the couple about their own education. Meghan said, "In terms of education, not only did I have the opportunity to go to school at a young age, but I also went to university."
Meanwhile, Prince Harry said he took his education “for granted”, adding, “It's a privilege, but every single person, every single young person around the world needs an education.
“To know that 113 million girls have no education, the numbers will only increase. It worries me and probably worried all of us. The effects (lack of education for women) affect not only the family but also society. & # 39;
Meghan added, "The privilege of going to school is often taken for granted.
"It is very difficult for many people to see that the ability to have a textbook is a luxury for so many people."
“And to have grown up where there were plenty of books and I could whet my appetite and keep studying when I was on the school grounds or when I was back home …
Malala graduated from Oxford University earlier this year after surviving being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman at the age of 15 after advocating for girls' education in her native Pakistan
Prince Harry said, “I am very grateful for the education I was fortunate to receive. I certainly wasn't that grateful at the time, but when I look back now, I am very, very blessed to have such an amazing opportunity. & # 39;
Malala made the couple laugh when she replied, “I think boys take a little longer to understand the importance of education, but they get there in the end.
"You are blessed to have such a great companion, Meghan."
Malala asked Prince Harry how the role of women's education could benefit climate change, and Prince Harry stated, “The role of girls' education in delaying climate change is absolutely critical. And again, with an education, it offers money, income, which makes you less prone to disaster, less consumption,
“All of these things are so deeply connected. Education at a young age opens up so there can be doors, so many opportunities, possibilities. & # 39;
“And whether it's within science, whether it's within government, women are needed more and more. To be able to fill those gaps because the possibilities are great and we know the world will benefit exponentially. & # 39;
The Duchess further asked Malala how she felt as a graduate of Oxford during the Covid period and Malala stated, “It was a very difficult time. I graduated from home and took my exams at home. It was very difficult not being in college and out with friends. Not having these traditional ceremonies.
The couple spoke to the Nobel Prize winner about their own educational experiences. Prince Harry confessed that he "probably wasn't grateful" for his school days as a teenager
“In Oxford you go to your schools and party with a garbage … It's all part of university life that we've all missed. But I was still blessed that I still had the opportunity to study from home. & # 39;
“You know, there are 130 million girls dropping out of school, but another 20 million are at risk of dropping out of school because of the pandemic.
“They run the risk of never being able to return to their schools because they are likely to be pushed into early childhood marriages or to become the breadwinners or financial supporters of their families.
“I am more concerned about these girls now and I think this pandemic is an education crisis and we need to focus on investing in education now.
Meghan added, “What you say is so important that people will remember it. It not only robs a society of the cultural richness that arises from the education of young girls and enables them to develop into strong, educated women, but also robs these young girls of a childhood.
Malala asked Meghan what motivated her to get involved in the education of girls. The former actress replied, “Much like you, you are seeing something that is so important to be addressed and so critical, and by fixing one thing you end up fixing several problems.
“I noticed very early on that women had a place at the table. Conversations regarding police changes, conversations regarding laws and certainly regarding community dynamics have all been postponed.
“And usually, when a woman is present at the table, she will stand up for a whole family, as opposed to a patriarchal presence.
"And when you need to see," how do you get a woman to embrace her voice? "You have to start when she's a young girl."
She continued: “One reason I worked in India and also in Rwanda was to be involved in learning and education for young women.
And then separately the barriers women in India have faced with menstrual management and the stigma of it.
"Really stopping you from going to school and that alone will create a ripple effect for you all your life."
Meghan added, “There is so much at stake if we don't give a woman the opportunity to learn and get an education.
“I think there is no greater time for all of us to acknowledge, in everything that happens to Covid, that each of us is making a commitment. Yes, the layers upon layers of what is happening in the context of Covid-19 are immense.
The Duke and Duchess told the Nobel Prize winner that they had "had a lot of good time with the family". Meghan said they were "grateful" to spend time with their son to relive moments they "might otherwise have missed" Absence of Covid (pictured with their son Archie)
“But all it has done is add to the existing problems, especially in the area of young girls. From our point of view, how do we help you in your struggle now? & # 39;
Malala replied that she had been in combat since she was 11 and said, “Covid made things worse. This is an emergency right now, it's a crisis right now. We have to make sure that we do not ignore the issue of girls' education.
"It's really important that we keep pushing for it."
She added: “We are currently working in more than eight countries through the Malala Fund, which has an urgent need for girls' education as most of the girls in these countries do not go to school and there are gender differences in education.
"From my own experience as an activist and my father as an activist, it is evident that helping local educators and activists play a huge role in transforming societies and communities."
“So we are working with girls education activists in these eight countries including Nigeria, Brazil, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India and they are identifying the problems girls face locally as the problems of inadequate access to education are different .
“In some places there are traffic problems, in other places there is a lack of infrastructure. In other places it is the cultural norms and traditions. & # 39;
"But these local activists are now adjusting to the changes in Covid, mostly with girls back home."
She continued, “They have no access to their schools and are looking for new ways to ensure girls don't miss out on their education.
“In Nigeria, our activists there use the radio to give lessons and educational courses every day so that children don't miss anything.
“And you know that we have recognized all over the world how important it is for children to keep learning. When kids aren't in school, economies, societies lose so much. & # 39;
The activist encouraged viewers to "write to local leaders" and "keep pushing".
She later asked Prince Harry and Meghan how they had spent the Covid time, and Prince Harry joked, "On Zoom!"
Harry added, “We worked really, really hard and understood how challenging this is for absolutely everyone. The longer it takes, the more it will be felt especially from a mental health perspective.
"This is a truly unified moment to bring everyone together and recognize what everyone has been through, that traumatic experience wherever you are in the world."
When the couple said goodbye to the 23-year-old, Malala said, “I am nearsighted and cannot see the screen clearly. So I'll wear my glasses so I can see the screen clearly. I don't know yet if Archie can speak, but all my best wishes and loves and kisses to him. & # 39;
Meghan replied, “Stay safe, stay healthy and healthy. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to support you and your work. & # 39;
Before the pandemic, around 130 million girls around the world were out of school.
However, research by the Malala Fund has shown that 20 million secondary school-age girls may never return to class after the health crisis.
Ms. Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban rifleman at the age of 15 after advocating education for girls in her native Pakistan.
Malala who was flown to the UK after the shooting and made a full recovery.
She later set up the non-profit fund to support her work and raise awareness of the difficulties girls face in accessing education. In 2014 she became the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
After finishing school in Birmingham, she graduated from Oxford.
Meanwhile, the Duchess has long been committed to the education of women and speaks of the lack of access to education as the most important obstacle to gender equality.
While Prince Harry previously met with Malala at the 2014 WE Day gathering in London, it is not known whether Meghan has ever spoken to the activist before.
It comes days after Meghan said she was the world's most trolled person in 2019 when she and Prince Harry made their podcast debut for World Mental Health Day.
The Duke and Duchess discussed with students from their Santa Barbara mansion about the stigma surrounding the issue and how we can all contribute to a healthier world: physically, mentally, emotionally and holistically.
The podcast, titled Teenage Therapy, describes itself online as "five stressed, sleep-deprived, yet energetic teenagers who sit down and talk about the struggles that come with being a teenager."
The latest episode with Harry and Meghan went online yesterday and saw the couple talk to hosts Gael, Kayla and Thomas about their own mental health experiences.
Meghan said the effects of the pandemic had increasingly pushed people towards the internet, which she believed opened up a "vulnerability" and a place for "separation".
She said, “I can speak in person because I was told that in 2019 I was the most trolled person in the whole world – male or female.
Eight months later, I wasn't even visible. I was on maternity leave or with a baby. But what could only be manufactured and produced? It's almost impossible to survive. & # 39;
Meghan Markle said she was "the most trolled person in the world in 2019" and it was "almost non-viable" when she and Prince Harry made their debut podcast for World Mental Health Day
She added, "This is so big you can't even think about how it feels because I don't care if you're 15 or 25 when people say things about you that are not true, what that means to you emotional health is so harmful.
“And so, from my point of view and as part of the work we do from our own personal experience, I think to be able to talk to people and understand that our experience is unique to us – and obviously very different may look like people's experience in everyday life – it's still a human experience and that is universal.
"We all know what it feels like when our feelings are hurt. We all know what it feels like to be isolated or 'different'. We all find out."
Meghan later added that she is “really fine” now and said: “The last few months have been overshadowed for everyone, we certainly can't complain, we are lucky that we all have our health, we have roofs over ours Minds. & # 39;
Harry added, “The unique part of our job is, whatever you're going through and whatever other people are going through, it's all relative to the environment they're in.
“For the majority of the people I have spoken to in London or the UK, they are stuck in high-rise buildings without seeing any open grass or open green spaces.
“We felt incredibly grateful and happy to have an outdoor space in which our son can take his first steps. Outdoor area where he has just enough space to run and move. It's a great blessing.
"It reminds me of how many people are stacked on top of each other and have been month after month after month after month and what this has to do for people's mental health."
The Duke of Sussex said: “I think it is extremely important to make your self-sufficiency a priority, as vulnerability is not a weakness and it is a strength to show vulnerability in today's world.
"We could certainly see that more of some of these global leaders because we got into this very deep hole that we have to get out of."
Harry praised the youthful hosts and the younger generation for their openness to mental health and personal difficulties, and later told the podcast that he was meditating.
He continued, "The more we talk about it, the more normal it becomes, and it's normal, and it's not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength."
He added, “Our situation is unique, but then each person's situation is unique, it's a different version of the same thing.
"For Meghan, she said on a global scale, that happened in 2019, but if you are a young girl or a boy in school, this is your world. So when you are attacked or bullied or whatever is online … it feels the same way. & # 39;
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex recorded the special teen therapy podcast earlier this week. The episode goes live today for World Mental Health Day (pictured are the young podcast moderators).
The teenage therapy podcast's Twitter account shared this tweet before the podcast goes live today
Harry said, 'I think it's very easy to get sucked in and consumed by negativity, but we all have a choice to cut that out of our lives.
“Hate persecution has become a thing, you don't have to do that. Just as we worry, are concerned, and pay attention to what we put in our stomach as a diet, so do our eyes and minds. What we consume affects us.
"For me, I made a decision not to read it, not to see it and to move away from it and focus very much on the uplifting and hopeful side."
He added, “What I've seen so many times over the years are people hiding behind usernames online. There are things that are said digitally and of course no one would say in person.
“But I think there are a lot of projections too, I think a lot. Many people hurt a lot and freak out because this is the way the world is, and sometimes because of the echo chamber created for them by the online platform on which they chose.
"But control also matters. You can control what you see, you can control what you do. So whether it's notifications or vibrating ringtones, whatever it is, you control those things, not them To take control. "
Earlier this week, Harry and Meghan were spotted on a rare evening with close friends, David Foster, a music producer, and actress Katharine McPhee, who recently announced they were expecting a baby.
It was reported yesterday that Harry may face scoldings from the Queen amid concerns over his public comments on US policies as royal staff reportedly prepare to return to the UK.
It is believed that the palace staff were instructed to prepare Frogmore Cottage for the Duke's imminent return – without mentioning Meghan Markle.
The Queen, 94, will likely meet up with Harry at her & # 39; HMS Bubble & # 39; Meet in Windsor to resume audiences and small engagements.
It was reported today that, amid concerns over his public comments on US policies, Harry may face scolding from the Queen as royal staff prepare to return to the UK – reportedly without mentioning Meghan
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