Meghan Markle encouraged students to make International Women’s Day feel “like every day of the year” during a visit to a school in London on Friday.
The Duchess of Sussex held a special assembly and also met with students in small groups at the Robert Clack Upper School in Dagenham on behalf of the holiday, which is on Sunday.
“When we thought about what I wanted to do for International Women’s Day this year, for me it was incredibly important to be with the women of our future,” she said, according to People magazine.
“And that is all of the young women here, as well as the young men who play a very large part in this. Specifically coming to your school made a lot of sense for me because of this social justice and the impact that it’s rooted in,” she added.
Meghan spoke about the importance of “equality for all” and said that IWD isn’t just about women, it’s about “all of us.” To further emphasize that point, she brought up a young male student, Aker Okoye, to deliver remarks in the middle of her speech.
He very quickly stole the show by taking the stage, turning to the crowd and saying, “She really is beautiful innit.”
The duchess finished her speech by reminding students of the responsibilities they have in their lives.
“Continue to value and appreciate the women in your lives, and also set the example for some men who are not seeing it that same way,” she said.
“You have your mothers, sisters, girlfriends, friends in your life — protect them. Make sure that they are feeling valued and safe,” Meghan added. “Let’s all rally together to make International Women’s Day something that is not just on Sunday, but, frankly, feels like every day of the year.”
In a post on the Sussex Royal Instagram account published on Sunday, Meghan chose Dagenham for an important reason, as it was where female sewing machinists walked out on strike at the Ford Motor Plant in 1968, which later led to the passing of the U.K.’s Equal Pay Act in 1970. Meghan also met with Geraldine Dear during the visit, who was one of the strikers.
She called being in Dagenham “incredibly profound.”
“Because as you can see with Geraldine and the other women who had the strength to really stand up for something that they knew needed to be done,” the duchess said.
“This is the best example of no matter how small you might feel, how low you may feel on the ladder or the totem pole, no matter what color you are, no matter what gender you are, you have a voice, and you certainly have the right to speak up for what is right,” Meghan added.
Meghan and Prince Harry will reunite with the rest of the royal family on Monday for the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey.