Millions of people admired Meghan Markle at her royal wedding on Saturday, May 19 as she ascended the steps of Windsor Castle in a Givenchy gown. Radiant, classic, and genuine, the new royal truly embodied the essence of a princess. But what makes Meghan’s foray into royal life truly extraordinary is her potential to empower women across the globe.

With a fire for activism, the former Suits star had been involved in charity long before meeting Prince Harry on a blind date, set up by a mutual friend. She is not defined by her new title through marriage, but by what she brings to the table — an enduring example for girls everywhere.

The thick of the royal wedding buzz has not yet lost its luster. As it endures, more stories continue to compare Meghan to Kate Middleton with “Who Wore it Better?” wedding dress comparisons and by placing emphasis on their differences in age at the time in which they wed. But instead of comparing these unique royals on the bases of age and dress styles, this article will highlight the differences that make each princess unique in terms of the positive change each will help create while on the throne — scroll down to read why Meghan will be a different royal than Kate!

Kate and Meghan have different backgrounds…

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Kate studied a variety of subjects after high school at Marlborough College from chemistry to art. An A-student, Kate sought more culture beyond the classroom and took a gap year at the British Institute in Florence, venturing to Chile and sailing about the English Channel along the way. Her zest for adventure translated into her passion for sports, as well, catapulting her into several atheltic teams throughout her college career.

She would meet Prince William at St. Andrews University after her gap year, in 2001. It has been reported that the endearing pair ran in the same social circles before they started dating officially in 2004. During the engagement, the Duchess relented that the press surrounding the impending wedding was “nerve wracking” for her, but that she was looking forward to discovering her philanthropic passion.

meghan markle suits red carpet

As an actress with nearly 20 years in the spotlight, Meghan seemlessly maintainted composure in the chaos of the royal wedding. An American with roots in entertainment, her bio stands out among her royal-family members.

From childhood through high school, she grew up near the crux of the film industry in LA. She jettisoned to the midwest for an Ivy League education at Northwestern University, where she studied theater and international relations. The ambitious California native landed her first TV appearance in 2002 on General Hospital and moonlit on other hit shows, such as 90210 and CSI: NY before landing a permanent role as Rachel Zane on Suits in 2011. Throughout her showbiz career, the actress devoted her time to many philanthropic initiatives, exuding the qualities of a princess before she ever met her prince.

Kate’s philanthropic interests include…

After welcoming her firstborn, Prince George, in 2013, Kate invested her work in a range of issues surrounding vulnerable families, mothers, young people, and mental health. “It was [Kate] who first realized that all three of us were working on mental health in our individual areas of focus,” Prince William once shared. “She had seen that at the core of adult issues like addiction and family breakdown, unresolved childhood mental health issues were often part of the problem.”

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In 2016, the mom-of-three joined forces with her husband and Prince Harry to create Heads Together, an initiative that works to dismantel the stigmas behind mental health issues and make mental health care more accessible to everyone. “Too often, people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health,” the Duchess of Cambridge has said. “This fear of judgment stops people from getting the help they need.” Kate currently devotes her time to 13 patronages that focus on the welfare of children and mental health.

Meghan’s philanthropic interests include…

Meghan realized the impact that her actions could have on women’s rights at just 11 years old. Upon seeing a Proctor & Gamble dish soap commercial that insinuated that only women could clean up in the kitchen, she took action. The actress and activist to be wrote letters to Hillary Clinton, Gloria Allred, and the producer of a local children’s TV show. Hillary and Gloria each replied to her with lettters of encouragement, and the producer responded to her and had her interviewed for the show. After the show aired and she discussed the blatant sexism in the ad, Proctor & Gamble pulled the advertisement and edited it to say “People everywhere are fighting greasy pots and pans.”

“You will hear people saying they are helping women find their voices,” Meghan said during an appearance at the Heads Together forum, in February. “I fundamentally disagree with that, because women don’t need to find their voices, they need to be empowered to use it, and people need to be urged to listen.”

From childhood through adulthood, Meghan has bolstered her words with action. She became the UN Women’s Advocate for Women’s Political Participation and Leadership in 2015, promoting gender equality across the globe. In 2016, she joined World Vision as a global embassador, with which she visited India to empower women’s rights to education in 2017. Through her work there, she became aquainted with the Myna Mahila Foundation, which gives women access to feminine hygeine products and ethical employment. Inspired by her experience, she wrote an op-ed for Time Magazine in 2017 on the hindrance that menstruation stigmas have on women’s scholastic opportunities.

meghan markle activist philanthropy dove self esteem

Although Meghan has stepped away from her acting career since marrying Harry, she has said that it will give her the opportunity to tackle her charity work full-time. The palace is completely on board with her passion for women’s rights, and her new page on the royal website includes a concise pullquote of hers from the UN 2015 conference — “I am proud to be a woman and a feminist” — setting the tone of her activist focus.

The Duchess currently holds just one royal patronage with The Royal Foundation Forum, but we expect she’ll take on roles with a range of charities aimed toward improving the lives of women anywhere she can. Seeing her passion for equality alongside Kate’s strides toward making mental healthcare accessible for all, there is no doubt that each princess will incite significant social progress in her own way.

A version of this story originally appeared on our sister publication Now to Love.

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