For soon-to-be royal Meghan Markle, tying the knot with Prince Harry will mean a heck of a lot more than just adopting an illustrious title. Since the pair first announced their engagement last November, Markle has gleaned international attention for her outspokenness, intellect, and warm demeanor. And, with the highly-anticipated royal wedding just two months away, Meghan Markle's friend Abigail Spencer thinks she's gearing up to "change the world."
Spencer, Markle's longtime friend and former Suits co-star, sat down with People for an interview (published Wednesday, March 7), in which she doled out some high praise to her former colleague. And if her comments to People are any indication, it would seem Spencer is just about as awe-struck by Markle's general, all-around greatness as her fans.
"Meghan Markle is one of the loveliest human beings on the planet, in the world," Spencer told People. She continued,
"I'm just so excited that the world will get to experience her loveliness, and I really think that with her platform for charity and her fortitude — she's going to have a great moment to change the world. If anyone can do it, it can be her."
So, Spencer is convinced Markle can change the world, huh? Judging by Markle's trailblazing track record so far, her friend probably has a point. Ahead of the royal wedding, here are five ways Markle is already changing things up over at Windsor:
1. Her Background Is Pretty Unique, For A Royal
For starters, Markle's background (even if only in a rudimentary sense) is markedly different from that of her royal counterparts: she's American, biracial, and has been married once before. (Markle announced her divorce from ex-husband Trevor Engelson in 2013.) She's also an established actor, having starred in USA's legal drama, Suits, for seven seasons.
2. She's Already Taking Steps To Involve The Public In Royal Affairs
Markle and Prince Harry's much-anticipated wedding day will include more than 2,600 members of the public. As Kensington Palace announced via press release Friday, March 2, the couple will invite people from across the U.K. to join them in celebrating their wedding day. While they won't be at the actual wedding, they will be allowed onto the grounds of Windsor Castle. And, while this isn't the first time the public has been invited to attend a royal wedding, the parameters of Markle and Harry's public guest list feel particularly special.
According to the Palace's statement, Markle and Harry asked that 1,200 invites go to individuals from a "broad range of backgrounds and ages," — specifically, young people who demonstrate "strong leadership" skills or have otherwise served their communities. There will also be hundreds of other invites to the grounds going to community members, schoolchildren, and people from charitable organizations. Markle's exact involvement in this particular decision remains unclear, but given her longstanding involvement with humanitarian, activist, and philanthropic work, it doesn't seem like much of a coincidence.
3. She May Give A Speech At The Wedding Reception
Speaking of the forthcoming royal wedding ceremony, Markle seems to be taking the non-traditional route on that one, too. According to a recent report in the U.K.'s Sunday Times, Markle plans to flip the royal script — so to speak — and deliver a speech during the wedding reception. According to the report, Markle is set to deliver an "affectionate" tribute speech celebrating her new husband and expressing her gratitude to the Queen, as well as to her family and friends.
This marks a pretty significant departure from the traditions that generally govern royal marital proceedings, which stipulate that the speech be delivered by the father of the bride, rather than the bride herself. But, if Markle's successful acting career is any indication, she's practiced at the art of speaking in front of large audiences.
4. She Has A Uniquely Comfortable Relationship With Fans
It doesn't come as much of a surprise that Markle and Prince Harry's wedding involves the public, because, in general, Markle seems to have a uniquely close and relaxed relationship with fans of her screen-acting work and enthusiasts of the royal family alike. Markle's distinctly kind disposition amid large crowds made headlines back in January, when she wrote a sweet, personalized note to a fan, in lieu of her autograph.
For the record, members of the royal family are prohibited from signing autographs, to avoid any risk of having their signatures forged. But, of course, Markle has always been one for thinking outside of the box. (Her years signing autographs as a Hollywood actor probably also helped.)
5. She's Supporting Women & The Social Issues That She's Passionate About
Last month, Markle appeared alongside her soon-to-be in-laws, Kate Middleton and Prince William, as well as Prince Harry, to speak at the Royal Foundation forum on Feb. 28. During the panel, the two royal couples discussed the ways in which Markle plans to contribute to the charitable organization, which has recently focused its resources on a robust campaign to end mental health stigmas. Markle, who is well-acquainted with women-focused humanitarian work (prior to her engagement, she was a UN Women's advocate and continues to serve as an ambassador for World Vision Canada), discussed her plans to increase the scope of female empowerment worldwide.
And, in doing so, Markle notably called upon the momentum of both the #MeToo and Time's Up movements as timely motivation to up the advocacy. Speaking at the forum's panel, Markle said,
"Right now, in the climate that we're seeing with so many campaigns — MeToo and Time's Up — there is no better time to really continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people really helping to support them, men included in that. I mean, it makes such a tremendous difference."
Standing up for women's fundamental human rights is certainly not a radical political stance, by any means. But it's still a pretty big deal for any soon-to-be member of Britain's royal family, as they are generally dissuaded from aligning themselves with a political cause. Of course, Markle is a longtime activist, so offering her two cents on the social movements of the time seems like par for the course.
And, while Markle wasn't able to delve too deep into the nitty gritty of what her future involvement with the Royal Foundation will actually look like, she did allude to some partnerships already in the works with "incredible women and organizations" advocating for women's rights in the U.K. and abroad.
Markle isn't even an official member of the royal family yet, and she's already using the role as a means to lend her voice to a number of social causes. It looks like — as far as the royal family is concerned — the times, they are a-changin'. And like Spencer said, the world could be, too, with Markle's help.