Meghan Markle delivered an inspirational message urging women to ‘be the visionary of your own life’ as she accepted a feminist award while wearing an $1,850 gown at a glamorous New York gala on Tuesday night.
Addressing the Woman of Vision awards, hosted by the Ms. Foundation for Women at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in Manhattan, the Duchess of Sussex told the crowd: ‘It’s just never too late to start. You can be the visionary of your own life.’
‘You can charter a path in which what you repeat in your daily acts of service, in kindness, in advocacy, in grace and in fairness, that those become the very things that are recognized by the next wave of women, both young and old, who will also choose this moment to join the movement, and make our vision for an equitable world, reality,’ she added, according to video of the event shared by Town and Country writer Emily Burack.
She also told of how she’d read Ms. Magazine while at school – the publication founded by feminist icon Gloria Steinem, who presented Meghan with Tuesday’s honor.
Meghan she shared a ‘funny’ anecdote from her childhood, revealing that the Ms. Foundation’s Ms. Magazine played a role in her upbringing, recalling how she would ‘come home, settle in after a day of school’ with her ‘TV tray dinner’ and would glance at the publication on the coffee table.
‘It’s funny because as a young girl, I would come home, I would settle in after a day of school, pull up my TV tray dinner, and I would turn on my evening ritual, Jeopardy!’ she recalled.
‘And I would glance at the coffee table, where I would see an array of things. It could be the cat’s collar, my homework, some mail that had just been brought in, and some magazines. The magazines said “Ms.” on them.
The Duchess of Sussex was joined at the event by her husband Prince Harry – and the couple posed for a few photos on the red carpet, although they opted to wait until the carpet’s livestream had ended before stepping in front of the cameras
Meghan Markle put on a stunning display in strapless gold dress as she arrived at a glittering New York gala – where she accepted a ‘Women of Vision’ award from her pal Gloria Steinem
The royal has previously told the same story on her Archetypes podcast. Meghan’s husband Prince Harry and her mom Doria Ragland were among guests assembled to watch her receive the accolade.
The 41-year-old Duchess of Sussex was indeed a ‘vision’ as she arrived at the event, modeling a strapless $1,850 gold Johanna Ortiz dress that featured a key-hole cutout at the chest and which she paired with some strappy $1,350 gold heels from Tom Ford and a matching $1,100 clutch bag by Carolina Herrera.
She appeared to have had her dress – which was created by a Colombian designer – altered for the occasion; images of the original design show it with straps, which the Duchess opted to go without.
Harry joined his wife Meghan at the awards ceremony – where tickets cost a whopping $1,500, while tables cost a minimum of $15,000 – to watch on as she received a ‘Women of Vision’ honor from her close friend, feminist icon Gloria Steinem, with organizers revealing that the Duchess was being celebrated for her ‘lifelong advocacy for women and girls’.
Inside the event, Meghan took to the stage to accept her Women of Vision award, making her way up to the podium to the sounds of Alicia Keys’ hit song Girl on Fire.
Once on the stage, the Duchess gave Gloria a warm hug, before moving to address the crowd, thanking guests for giving her ‘such a warm welcome’.
She went on to praise ‘her friend’ Gloria, 89, ‘for the inspiration that you are, for your mentorship, your sage advice, your extraordinarily cheeky sense of humor and, of course, for your incredible friendship’.
Meghan then offered her congratulations to the evening’s other honorees, praising them for the ‘important and meaningful work that you do’.
‘While I was familiar with most of your work before tonight, nothing could compare to the focus, the determination, the energy I feel from each of you, especially as we all bear witness to you standing in the elegance and the power of your strength,’ she continued.
Meghan, 41, also posed for a solo shot, smiling happily for the cameras before making her way inside the awards ceremony
The Sussexes were joined at the gala by Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, who is understood to live with the couple in their $14.65 million mansion in Montecito, California
Prince Harry attended the event with his wife and mother-in-law Doria Ragland and was seen following the two women into the event, after arriving at the venue in a large SUV
The 41-year-old Duchess of Sussex was beaming from ear-to-ear as she arrived at the event, accompanied by Harry and her mother Doria (pictured left)
Meghan, whose appearance at the event comes ten days after she skipped her father-in-law King Charles’ coronation ceremony, went full glam for the occasion, modeling a smoky eye and nude lip
The Duchess held a gold clutch in her hand and she sported several diamond bracelets on her wrist, as well as a $7,350 gold Cartier Love Bracelet
While the Sussexes were seen beaming from ear-to-ear as they arrived at the event, they seemed keen to avoid any prying questions – opting to skip the event’s red carpet livestream
Meghan will be honored at the event by her friend Gloria, 89, with whom she is understood to have formed a close bond since the Sussexes’ move to California following their decision to quit their royal roles in 2020
‘And I remember them vividly because the pictures were different. There was a diversity that I hadn’t seen as often, both of color and of age, and the names were different.
‘There were Congresswomen, there were astronauts, and the topics were different. From mothering to being a working mom to heavier topics such as domestic violence, the poverty line, unearthing its roots, where it comes from, and matters of equity.’
Meghan, whose appearance at the event comes ten days after she skipped her father-in-law King Charles’ coronation ceremony, went full glam for the occasion, modeling a smoky eye and nude lip, while her long brunette hair was styled in loose waves that she wore swept over one shoulder – allowing the strapless design of her textured gown to shine.
She added further glitz to the glam in the form of several pricey pieces of jewelry, including two diamond bracelets and a $7,350 gold Cartier Love Bracelet, as well as a pair of sparking hoop earrings from budget-friendly brand J. Crew.
One of the glittering accessories on her wrist appeared to be a Cartier design that was once owned by Harry’s late mother Princess Diana, which the Duchess has been seen sporting on several occasions, including during the Sussexes’ bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021.
The Duke of Sussex opted for his signature navy suit, which he wore with a white shirt and pale blue tie – while his mother-in-law Doria chose a more low-key black dress, accessorizing the look with some black slingback heels and a black clutch bag.
While the Sussexes were seen beaming from ear-to-ear as they arrived at the event, they seemed keen to avoid any prying questions – opting to skip the event’s red carpet livestream after entering via the back of the Ziegfeld Ballroom. In a rather unglamorous start to the evening’s proceedings, the pair were seen making their way into the venue via a Hertz car rental arena located at the rear of the space.
The Women of Vision website gushes that the mother-of-two is ‘a feminist, champion of human rights and gender equity, and global role model’.
Meghan and Harry held hands as they made their way out of the venue – after the Duchess gave a passionate acceptance speech in which she offered praise to the evening’s other honorees
Harry led the way as the Sussexes strolled out to their waiting SUV
The couple exited the same way that they entered the venue – at the back of the building, no doubt in the hopes of avoiding any waiting crowds out front
Meghan held her award in her hand as she and Harry exited the Ziegfeld Ballroom following the end of the event
Several burly security guards were seen putting protective arms around Meghan as she followed behind her husband
Proud husband Harry was beaming as he exited the evening’s event, smiling happily as his security guards escorted him to the couple’s waiting vehicle
‘Meghan is also a passionate advocate for family rights, and an investor in dynamic female founded companies,’ the Duchess’ bio on the awards site continues. ‘Meghan is noted as one of the most powerful and influential women in the world, topping lists such as TIME Magazine’s Most Influential People, The Financial Times’ 25 Most Influential Women, Variety Power of Women, and British Vogue’s Vogue 25.’
‘We are thrilled to announce this year’s honorees for the Women of Vision Awards and to celebrate 50 years of progress and power,’ Teresa C. Younger, the president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation, said in a statement last month.
She added that Meghan, as well as the other award winners — including Black Lives Matter co-founder LaTosha Brown — ‘are incredible leaders, and we are grateful to be able to shine a light on their many accomplishments and tireless work on behalf of gender and racial equity across the country and the world.’
The Women of Vision Awards gala is designed to ‘explore the past, present and future of the Ms. Foundation and feminist movements, while raising funds for the organization’s strategic, equity-centered initiatives.
‘Each year, the foundation honors visionary leaders and game-changing grantee partners committed to the Ms. Foundation’s mission of advancing women’s collective power and creating safe, just and equitable futures for all,’ a press release for the event stated.
The decision to honor Meghan at the event has certainly not been without its controversy – with several critics taking to social media to pan the awards ceremony organizers, Ms. Foundation, over its choice of recipient.
‘Unlike fake organizations like @msfoundation creating awards to massage the egos of Hollywood fake celebrities and failed royals like #MeghanMarkle, true Awards are different as they celebrate TRUE HEROES. Ordinary, hardworking, people!’ one person wrote on Twitter.
‘I had a subscription to Ms. Magazine when it came out. Today, I am forever done with Ms. And Gloria Steinem for bastardizing their foundation to allow these FAKE awards to be “bought” for a donation,’ a Facebook user commented on the awards show page.
In a rather unglamorous start to the evening’s proceedings, the Sussexes made their way into the venue via a Hertz car rental counter located at the back of the building
Harry was seen following his wife and mother-in-law into the event after arriving at the venue in a large SUV, accompanied by several security guards
‘Case in point – Meghan Markle is the farthest thing from a feminist that I know of… That person is not a feminist… I hope the $$ was worth the bad press this will generate for you. You’re getting Markled!’
Meghan’s appearance at the awards ceremony in New York comes amid what experts have described as her attempt to draw ‘all eyes on her’ following the Coronation on May 6.
The awards ceremony comes days after Meghan and Harry enjoyed a sushi dinner alongside A-listers Cameron Diaz and her husband Benji Madden, as well as Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband Brad Falchuk on Friday night.
Then yesterday, Meghan took part in a royal-style engagement at a Santa Barbara youth group, posing up for pictures alongside several young people who take part in the program.
Brand and culture expert Nick Ede told MailOnline that Meghan has expertly used the focus on the Coronation and drawn it onto herself this week through appearances with Hollywood glitterati, young people and now an awards ceremony with a Black Lives Matter leader.
He said: ‘Meghan has cleverly circumnavigated herself away from the Royal Family and Coronation scrutiny and got all eyes on her and what’s she’s doing next.
‘Meghan’s positioning herself as an inspirational figure, which she is to many, and she’s doing what she does best: highlighting causes whilst highlighting herself.
‘She’s also giving herself space from Harry to stand on her own two feet and be recognized not as a Duchess but as her own person, which she will be very happy about’.