Meghan Markle says ‘it’s nice to be back’ in UK during One Young World Summit keynote speech

·5 min read

Meghan Markle drew lighthearted laughs as she delivered the keynote address at the 2022 One Young World Summit in Manchester.

The Duchess of Sussex gave the opening ceremony speech from Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall on 5 September. The One Young World Summit, which takes place this week from 5th to 8th September, seeks to “explore themes ranging from conflict prevention and gender equality to health, oceans and ethical leadership.”

“It is very nice to be back in the UK and it is very nice to be back with all of you at One Young World,” Meghan began the keynote address. “As you’ll likely hear many times this week, and as we just heard, you’ll hear all sorts of things – some very heavy, some very uplifting. But the resounding spirit I believe you’ll hear is that you are the future.”

“But I would like to add to that, that you are also the present,” she continued. “You are the ones driving the positive and necessary change needed across the globe in this very moment, and for that I’m so very grateful to be in your company today.”

Meghan, who has been a counsellor at One Young World since 2014, reflected on attending her first summit in Dublin nearly eight years ago. “In many ways at the time, I was probably a lot like each of you. Young, ambitious, advocating for the things I deeply and profoundly believed in. And also looking around and wondering, ‘How on earth did I get here?’” she said.

“At that dinner, there were about 20 to 30 of us counsellors. And there I was, the girl from Suits,” Meghan said, as both she and the crowd broke out into laughter.

“I was so overwhelmed by this experience...I was so nervous,” she said. “I doubted myself and I wondered if I was good enough to even be there. What I was doing in the world, albeit important and meaningful as far as I saw it, was it deserving to have a seat at this table? But One Young World saw in me what I wanted to see fully in myself. They saw in me just as I see in you: the present and the future.”

The duchess also gave a shout out to her husband, Prince Harry, during her speech and expressed her excitement that he was attending this year’s summit. “I joined you in London in 2019 and by that point, it’s fair to say, my life changed rather significantly. I was now married and I was now a mom,” she explained. “My worldview had expanded exponentially, seeing the global community through the eyes of my child.”

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend 2022 One Young World Summit Opening Ceremony (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend 2022 One Young World Summit Opening Ceremony (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Meghan continued: “I am thrilled that my husband is able to join me here this time, to be able to see and witness firsthand my respect for this organisation and all that it provides and accomplishes.”

“One Young World has been an integral part of my life for so many years before I met him, so to meet again here on UK soil with him by my side makes it all feel full circle,” she added.

Meghan Markle delivered her speech in an all-red ensemble with matching red heels. The duchess looked sophisticated in a Valentino Silk Tie-Neck Blouse, and accessorised the look with gold hoop earrings and a sleek ponytail.

This evening, One Young World brought together 2,000 young leaders and delegates from 190 countries to “inspire and empower them to build a fairer and more sustainable world” through four days of speeches, panels, networking, and workshops. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are expected to meet with a group of delegates who are “doing outstanding work on gender equality”.

The opening ceremony also saw performances from Manchester-based musicians, dancers and artists such as The Untold Orchestra, The KTNA, Esther Koch and The Aim Sky High Company.

Meghan Markle wears red Valentino silk blouse at One Young World Summit (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Meghan Markle wears red Valentino silk blouse at One Young World Summit (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Since launching in 2009, the global charity seeks to develop young leaders who are working to solve the world’s biggest challenges, including climate change, human rights violations, sexual violence, and mental health.

The One Young World Summit marks the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s first visit to the UK since the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations in June. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s September tour is meant to focus on a number of charity ventures “close to their hearts”.

Following the One Young World Summit in Manchester, the Sussexes will travel to Germany on Tuesday to mark one year until the 2023 Invictus Games takes place in Düsseldorf. The pair will then return to the UK on Thursday for the WellChild Awards in London.

The couple are reported to be staying at their former home, Frogmore Cottage on the Queen’s Windsor estate, for the duration of their stay. The couple were spotted on Monday afternoon in the back of a black Range Rover, driven by two bodyguards, as they travelled through the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Prince Harry’s cousin – Princess Eugenie – currently lives in Frogmore Cottage with her husband, Jack Brooksbank, and their one-year-old son, August. In June, Eugenie reportedly vacated the home to allow the Sussexes to stay at Frogmore Cottage with their children during the jubilee celebrations.

It is unclear whether the trip will include a meeting with the Queen, who is currently taking her summer vacation at Balmoral in Scotland. During their stay, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will also be a short walk from Prince Williams and Kate Middleton, who recently relocated their family to Adelaide Cottage on the Windsor estate.