After a very tumultuous year, the Royal Family is coming together (virtually) to celebrate the 40th birthday of former royal Meghan Markle. And ever the philanthropist, the Duchess of Sussex herself is ringing in the milestone birthday by launching a service initiative that will positively impact the lives of people in need.
August 4 marks a milestone birthday for Meghan, who turned 40 on Wednesday. If she were still a member of The Firm, she might have been celebrating the big day with a level of fanfare back at Kensington Palace, but this year’s festivities are taking place from the comfort of her and Prince Harry’s California home with some help from actress Melissa McCarthy. The pair linked up over a video call to discuss Meghan’s plans for her birthday, but many of the suggestions didn’t quite land with the duchess.
“Are we finally getting matching tattoos?” McCarthy questioned excitedly. “Are you finally going to do a Suits reunion?”
What Meghan actually had in mind was a little more service-oriented. (But I would still really like to see that Suits reunion.) In the video, she announced that in honour of her four decades, she was asking 40 friends — including Adele, Deepak Chopra, Gloria Steinem, and Stella McCartney — to donate 40 minutes of their time to mentor women going back into the workplace. The United States job market was hit hard by COVID-19, forcing countless people (particularly women) out of work and into a place of financial insecurity. As the pandemic continues, and women head back to work, Meghan’s 40 x 40 initiative hopes to support that transition with community-wide mentorship and encouragement.
“Amongst the most valuable gifts of time is also time spent in service to others knowing that it can contribute to incredible change,” Meghan wrote of the initiative on the official Archewell website. “I believe mentorship is one way to help women regain confidence and rebuild their economic strength...with this time, I hope they each help someone advance a professional life on her own terms, and, I hope that they inspire countless others to give 40 minutes of their time as well.”
While it's unknown whether they'll also be participating in the 40 x 40 initiative, Meghan's in-laws are also celebrating her birthday, sending her well wishes and love from across the pond.
Wishing a happy 40th birthday to The Duchess of Sussex! 🎂 pic.twitter.com/qekFyLPmiD— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) August 4, 2021
Wishing The Duchess of Sussex a very happy 40th birthday. 🎈 pic.twitter.com/dCncyhMLrQ— The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall (@ClarenceHouse) August 4, 2021
🎈 Wishing The Duchess of Sussex a very Happy Birthday today! pic.twitter.com/xvrRH4sEwX— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) August 4, 2021
The goodwill is nice to see, especially after a season of chaos for the Royal Family starting with Meghan and Harry's life-changing decision to step back from their positions as members of The Firm in 2020. That choice sparked tension among the royals, leading up to an explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey that detailed years of emotional turmoil for the Sussexes within the palace. If the recent birthday wishes are any indication, however, it seems that the royals are now on a path towards mending their relationships — a good birthday present as any, if you ask me.