Meghan made a surprise appearance at a women’s center in Vancouver after boarding a floatplane on Vancouver Island. Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre shared a photo after Meghan’s visit captioned: “Look who we had tea with today. The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, visited us today to discuss issues affecting women in the community.”
Meghan sipped Tetley tea in Vancouver and spent more than an hour with managers and staff, learning about issues faced by marginalized and vulnerable women, making it Meghan’s first public engagement since she and Harry announced their plans of ‘stepping back’ as senior members of the Royal Family.
Before the visit, we saw pictures of Meghan boarding a floatplane in Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
Established in 1978, The Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre’s mission is to “provide basic needs and positive change for women and children in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.” They do that by providing basic needs, including nutritious meals, laundry, showers, phone and computer access, and clothing, as well as support services including advocacy, housing outreach, HIV case management, Chinese seniors outreach, victim services, and skills development.
More than 500 women use its services every day, according to its website.
CTV News reported:
The acting executive director of the centre, Kate Gibson, said she found out Monday morning that the Duchess of Sussex was hoping to arrange a visit.”I got an email from a Hotmail account that asked if someone could come by with their security,” said Gibson. “I didn’t know who it was so I wrote back and said, please let me know who you are and we’ll go from there.”
Gibson said she knew there was “something up” when she later got a call from a +44 number, and it turned out to be Meghan’s assistant. The day of the visit, Gibson simply asked her staff members to come to a meeting because they had a guest who wanted to meet them. “So they came to the meeting, and the first they knew is that they were shaking hands with her,” she said. Meghan’s visit lasted more than an hour, and Gibson said she was interested in hearing about the work the centre does for women in the Downtown Eastside.
“She was very interested in the plight of women in our community. And she would really like to learn more about things that she’s interested in like women’s issues,” said Gibson. “She has a real heart for it.” Meghan was accompanied by two security guards for the visit to the centre’s office, which is located across from Oppenheimer Park. “I think it’s remarkable that she’s interested,” said Gibson “And I think that it’s fantastic because she’s someone who can lend her voice to the whole discussion about women who are marginalized and women who live in poverty.”
Meghan continued her day in Vancouver by stopping by at an organization that has spent the past 21 years promoting rights and equality for young girls.
Over tea, and while taking notes, Meghan spent time listening to stories from the staff at the organization and discussed her commitment to advancing gender equity and other women’s issues with the group. Co-director Zoe Craig-Sparrow said: “We were very moved by the duchess visiting us despite terrible weather conditions in Vancouver and her very recent arrival. We were struck by how engaged and informed she was on the issues we discussed, and how quickly and gracefully she put us at ease. She was well-informed about the rights of girls and women and the need to challenge social inequality in a way that is holistic and global,” adds Craig-Sparrow. “Some of the issues we talked about included violence against girls; poverty and how it impacts access to education; girls’ rights in relation to the environment; leadership globally on issues of social and environmental justice; parallels between the struggles of girls in Canada with girls around the world; the need to approach social change in a holistic [and] integrated way, and how our proposed Justice for Girls Center aims to do just that.”
One of the key topics discussed during the meeting was Canada’s current and ongoing epidemic of violence against Indigenous girls and women, which has seen over 4,000 Indigenous women murdered or go missing across the country in the past 30 years. “This work is critically important in Canada where the impacts of colonization continue to harm indigenous girls and women through epidemic violence, social and economic inequality, environmental racism and denial of the rights of Indigenous peoples,” explains Craig-Sparrow, who was born and raised on Vancouver’s only First Nations band government, the Musqueam Indian Band.
Established in 1999, Justice For Girls aims to promote equality, freedom from violence & colonialism, and the health & well-being of teenage girls who live in poverty. They locate their work within the overall project of women’s equality. They believe eliminating violence and poverty in young women’s lives is essential to achieving equality. Recognizing and addressing the intersecting forms of oppression that young women face is fundamental to their work toward ending violence against girls and young women.
For her day out in Vancouver, Meghan brought back her Row Bea cable-knit cashmere and silk-blend sweater.
Suits fans will recognize the sweater from Rachel Zane’s wardrobe. We saw it in Season 3, Episode 9.
She styled it with her DL1961 Emma Power Leggings in Albany
Her boots are the La Chameau Jameson Quilted Leather Boots.
Boarding a seaplane, we saw Meghan wearing a Barbour jacket she’s been seen wearing a lot in her pre-royal days. She was also seen carrying her Cuyana Classic Structured Leather Tote. If her black Cuyana tote looks familiar, it’s because she carried the same one to Wimbledon in July to support her friend Serena Williams. Meghan even reportedly gifted the tote to her baby shower guests.