Prince Harry was a feminist long before meeting Meghan Markle

Danielle Stacey
Royal Correspondent

Watch the full episode 17 of Yahoo UK’s show ‘The Royal Box,‘ here.

There’s no question the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have become high-profile supporters of female empowerment and women’s rights.

During a joint visit to Merseyside earlier this year, for example, Harry proudly declared ‘I’m a feminist’. Some commentators pointed to a perceived influence from Meghan, who has been a vocal champion of gender equality.

And while she has certainly placed women’s rights front and centre during her role as a royal, Harry’s commitment to the same issues has been present long before he met the future Duchess of Sussex.

In March 2016, just before Harry met Meghan, he carried out a four-day visit to Nepal. One of the most significant engagements of the trip was his attendance at the Nepal Girl Summit in Kathmandu.

Prince Harry speaking at the Nepal Girl Summit in March 2016 [Photo: Getty]

The prince gave a powerful speech in which he spoke about the importance of acknowledging “there are way too many obstacles between girls and the opportunities they deserve.”

He touched on the challenges facing young women, particularly from rural communities, and why attitudes of everyone must change in order for there to be fairness and equality for all.

READ MORE: Kensington Palace deny claims that Meghan and Harry are raising their baby gender fluid

Harry added: “We won’t unlock these opportunities for young women and girls unless we can change the mindset of every family and community. To achieve this, it cannot just be women who speak up for girls.”

The father-to-be also showed support for the UN’s gender equality movement HeForShe back in 2014 and was quoted saying: “Real men treat women with dignity and give them the respect they deserve.”

Royal expert Roya Nikkhah says that Harry’s support for feminism is also evident in the way he lets his wife take the lead. 

Nikkhah, The Sunday Times’ royal correspondent, tells Yahoo UK‘s ‘The Royal Box’: “The greatest evidence of it now is how he supports Meghan… he seems, for the time being, very happy to let her to take centre stage, in the way that William often does on joint engagements with Kate.

“That’s something we know notoriously his father struggled with, with Diana, and couldn’t handle.

“Harry is very proud of her and how popular she is on walkabouts.”

Harry and Meghan at the ‘Education for All’ boarding house in Asni town in Morocco [Photo: Getty]

While Meghan is being looked at by some to help the Royal Family evolve around women’s rights, the support she will get from her husband shouldn’t be underestimated.

One of their focuses of the couple’s visit to Morocco last month was backing education for girls and they made stops at the ‘Education for All’ boarding house in Asni and met a number of young entrepreneurs during an event at the Andalusian gardens

READ MORE: Royal Family clamps down on online abuse with social media guidelines

Last year, Harry was made Commonwealth Youth Ambassador and the aim of his role is to highlight and support the work and aspirations of young people across the Commonwealth, as well as look at the challenges they face.

It’s likely in future that Harry will be involved in more work that focuses on girls’ education within the Commonwealth, particularly as Meghan will take some time out for maternity leave when their baby arrives in April. 

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