On International Women's Day 2021, organizers are asking women to #ChooseToChallenge - and Meghan's honest and raw interview, which sent shockwaves across the world, encapsulates this concept completely.
In Meghan and Harry's candid interview with Oprah for CBS, which aired in the US last night and the Harry and Meghan interview will air in the UK this evening, the Duchess of Sussex shared with the world her struggles with her mental health during the first few years after marrying Prince Harry. In the revealing and, at times, harrowing interview, Meghan paints a stark picture of life within 'The Insititution', as she and Harry referred to the wider operation behind the royal family. She explained to TV host Oprah that at one point, she "could not feel lonelier". Meghan even considered taking her own life.
Whether the timing was deliberate or not, Meghan's refusal to be silenced under the weight of the British monarchy communicates a message that coincides perfectly with this year's International Women's Day theme - choose to challenge. Meghan's - and husband Harry's - revelations are a challenge to the concept that women should remain quiet. A challenge to an institution that's rooted in always following the correct protocol. A challenge to anyone who ever tried to tell a woman what to do.
Meghan on losing her voice
Meghan's made it no secret that during her time as a working royal, she felt silenced, as both a woman and an outsider. Meghan compares herself to the Little Mermaid; a fairytale with a sinister message at its heart. "I was sitting in Nottingham Cottage, and The Little Mermaid came on," said Meghan in the interview.
“And who as an adult really watches The Little Mermaid? But it came on, and I was like, 'Well I'm here all the time I might as well watch this,' and I went, 'Oh my God, she falls in love with the prince, and because of that, she loses her voice,'" said Meghan.
Oprah asking Meghan Markle, "Were you silent, or were you silencedT? 👁️👄👁️👌🏾". pic.twitter.com/6HdyY2SBeNMarch 8, 2021
“But in the end, she gets her voice back." Oprah replied, “'And this is what happened here. You feel like you got your voice back?” “Yeah,” said Meghan as she smiled and nodded.
Oprah asked Meghan, "So your story with the prince does have a happy ending?” Meghan replied, "It does. Greater than any fairytale you've ever read."
Breaking the silence
Meghan's interview with Oprah is defiant in its essence, but there's also something in Meghan's delivery that signifies her strength.
Body language expert Judi James notes how Meghan's composed demeanor only added to the power of her words. "Meghan told a dramatic and at times horrifying story using body language that was very low on drama and this understated look did actually add to the power of her messages," she told w&h.
"Her speech was quite slow and her vocal tone slightly deeper than usual and the words often sounded paced with gaps in between, suggesting a deliberate and confident approach. There was one break or waver in her voice when she shed a couple of tears but she wiped them away and carried on."
But while Meghan may have revealed the harrowing truth, there are some indicators that there could be even more to this story.
"There were signs of some suppressed emotions from ‘leakage’ like some eye-stutters, tongue-pokes, sighs, and some side-to-side shaking of the head that hinted there was even more that she could tell," Judi remarked. Only time will tell if more light is to be shed on the realities of living within The Firm.
But for Meghan, the shackles are gone - and her freedom has become her happy ending. Meghan once said, "It's liberating to have the right and privilege to make a choice on your own and be able to speak for yourself." And on International Women's Day 2021, her message is loud and clear. Speak your truth. Never be silenced.
Lauren is deputy editor at woman&home.com in the UK and became a journalist mainly because she enjoys being nosy. With a background in features journalism, Lauren has worked on the woman&home brand for four years. Before woman&home Lauren worked across a variety of women's lifestyle titles, including GoodTo, Woman's Own, and Woman magazine. After starting out working for a local paper in Yorkshire, her journalism career took her to Bristol where she hunted out stories for national papers and magazines at Medavia news agency, before landing a job in London working as a lifestyle assistant.
Lauren loves helping people share their stories, bringing experiences to life online, honing her interview techniques with everyone from authors to celebrities, headteachers to local heroes. As well as having a good nose for a story, Lauren has a passion for the English language and years of experience optimizing digital content to reach the widest audience possible. During her time at w&h, Lauren has worked on big brand campaigns like the Amazing Women Awards and assisted in developing w&h expert-approved Buyer's Guides—the place to go if you're looking to splash out on an important purchase and want some trusted advice. In addition to her journalism career, Lauren also has a background in copywriting for prestigious brands such as Inhabit Hotel, eco-development K'in in Tulum, social enterprise The Goldfinger Factory and leading London architect Holland Harvey, using language in all its glorious forms, from detailed guidebooks to snappy social content.
A big fan of adventure, Lauren is also a keen travel writer and loves sharing tips on where to find the best places to eat, drink, and be merry off the beaten track. Lauren has written a series of travel guides for London hotels and loves sharing her insights into a destination's cultural and culinary offerings. If you need a recommendation on any UK destination, she's more than happy to help. At the weekend, you'll usually find her hanging out with her pet cat (or anyone else's pet she can get her hands on), escaping to the countryside, or devouring a good book.
Follow her adventures @laurenkatehughes
LinkedIn: Lauren Kate Hughes
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