In January 2019, Meghan Markle made her first visit to the Association of Commonwealth Universities, an organization representing over 500 universities spanning more than 50 Commonwealth countries. Queen Elizabeth II handed over her royal patronage to the Duchess of Sussex, as part of her royal porfolio of four patronages.
The Duchess has been preparing for the important patronage and met with the ACU leaders privately in December. Markles described the event as meeting "university leaders, academics & #students to discuss how we can build a better world through #highered."
The Duchess of Sussex reportedly supports a campaign to “decolonise the curriculum” and confront the legacy of British empire and racism on university campuses.
The movement to add more people of color and female thinkers and writers to university professorial positions — rather than focusing heavily on “male, pale and stale” ones — has been hugely controversial in the aftermath of a campaign to topple a statue of the “Victorian imperialist “ Cecil Rhodes at Oxford in 2016, writes Lipstick Alley.
It followed a similar #RhodesMustFall movement in South Africa, which succeeded in having a statue of Rhodes removed from the University of Cape Town. At the royal’s January meeting, the duchess “expressed her surprise at the shockingly low figures of diversity in UK professors. “
Research from Advance HE revealed 68% of UK professors were white males, 23% white female, 6.5% black and minority ethnic (BME) male and 2% BME female.
Meera Sabaratnam, head of the working party to decolonise the curriculum at SOAS, University of London and whose data inspired Meghan's 'Oh my God' response, agreed that 'change is long overdue'.
In October, the duchess received global praise for giving a powerful speech on feminism and women's suffrage in New Zealand on 125th anniversary of women achieving the right to vote in the country. Harper’s Bazaar writes: “t's clear that Meghan's passion for access to a fair education will influence the work she does in her royal patronages, and that's exciting.” To be frank, it sounds like Meghan is jumping out of an already hot frying pan into the fire. If no one reins her in, goddess bless the woman. ~ Anne