Princess Eugenie shared a 40th birthday message to 'dear Meghan' today and revealed she is supporting her new 40x40 campaign by offering her services as a mentor to help women get back into work.
The Duchess of Sussex shared a video featuring Bridesmaids actress Melissa McCarthy on the website of her charitable foundation Archewell to introduce her new initiative which encourages people to donate 40 minutes of their time to help someone else or to mentor someone in need.
Among those who have promised 40 minutes to support a woman in their community are singer Adele, poet Amanda Gorman, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and fashion designer Stella McCartney - all friends of the duke and duchess.
Taking to her Instagram Stories, new mother Eugenie, 31, wrote: 'To celebrate dear Meghan's 40th birthday I'm contributing 40 minutes of mentorship to support women reentering the workforce.
Taking to her Instagram Stories, new mother Eugenie, 31, wrote: 'To celebrate dear Meghan's 40th birthday I'm contributing 40 minutes of mentorship to support women reentering the workforce'
The Duchess of Sussex shared a video featuring Bridesmaids actress Melissa McCarthy on the website of her charitable foundation Archewell to introduce her new initiative which encourages people to donate 40 minutes of their time to help someone else or to mentor someone in need
'In the past two years, tens of millions of women around the world have departed the workforce. If you can, please join me and commit 40 minutes to community, service or mentorship.'
Eugenie's Instagram Story was one of the suggested Instagram posts provided on the Archewell website for people to share, which featured the phrase: 'For women who give everything, we give our time. Are you in?'
The princess did however edit the suggested caption, which read: 'To celebrate The Duchess of Sussex’s 40th birthday, I am devoting 40 minutes of mentorship or service to a cause I care about. Please join me in donating your time. Together, we can contribute to a global wave of compassion and positive change. #40x40 #CompassionInAction,' giving it a more personal touch for her cousin-in-law.
It's not the first time Eugenie, who enjoys a close relationship with Harry and Meghan, has referred to the Duchess using such a sweet term of endearment; in June she shared a sweet message of congratulations to her 'dear cousins' on the birth of their daughter Lilibet.
It's not the first time Eugenie, who enjoys a close relationship with Harry and Meghan, has referred to the Duchess using such a sweet term of endearment; in June she shared a sweet message of congratulations to her 'dear cousins' on the birth of their daughter Lilibet
Eugenie knew Meghan before the then actress met the prince, and the pair have mutual friends including Misha Nonoo.
Indeed Eugenie and her then boyfriend, Jack Brooksbank, were at a party in Soho House in Toronto in 2016 when Harry and the Suits star were first seen together.
Eugenie was instrumental in keeping her cousin's relationship secret. Despite the distance between them, Eugenie and Jack are understood to still be on good terms with Harry and Meghan.
The young parents live at Frogmore Cottage, the house on the Windsor estate renovated by the Sussexes before they emigrated to North America.
Princess Eugenie welcomed her first child, August, in February.
Meghan's slick film was made in the same immaculate Montecito study where Harry filmed his recent Apple TV mental health series with Oprah. Meghan sat at grand oak desk with a number of pictures of her husband and two children, a pile of strategically placed copies of her children's book The Bench.
US-born Meghan also sipped from a quintessentially British cup of tea placed next to a plate of biscuits with her beloved beagle Guy sat behind her on a luxurious grey dog cushion. At one point the dog appeared to doze off.
Meghan has asked 40 activists, athletes, artists and world leaders to participate by contributing 40 minutes of mentorship to women re-entering the workforce, saying that millions of women have been 'shouldered the brunt' of the Covid-19 pandemic and need help returning or regaining work.
The Duchess has written a statement of intent on Archewell, explaining how when reflecting on turning 40, and the many things she is 'grateful for', she was struck that 'time' is 'among our greatest and most essential gifts', especially 'time spent in service to others knowing that it can contribute to incredible change'.
The duchess, who two months ago gave birth to her second child daughter Lilibet, claimed globally tens of millions of women had left the workforce during the past two years, in a large part due to the pandemic.
In a statement on the Archewell website, Meghan describes how the scheme is meant to empower the millions of women who have lost their jobs during the Covid pandemic and get them back into the workplace
But many were still in unpaid roles like carers and she claimed research has shown fewer women than men will return to work as the pandemic recovery begins.
Meghan Markle shares sweet tribute to Archie and Lilibet with necklace featuring their star signs as she dons all-white outfit and killer heels
The Duchess of Sussex wore a dainty silver necklace resembling the astrological signs of Taurus Archie, who was born in May 2018 and Lilibet, who is a Gemini having been born in June this year
Meghan Markle shared a sweet tribute to her two children today as she marked her 40th birthday in a necklace featuring their star sign constellations.
The Duchess of Sussex wore a dainty silver necklace resembling the astrological signs of Taurus Archie, who was born in May 2018 and Lilibet, who is a Gemini having been born in June this year.
She donned the necklace in a clip posted on the Archwell website, where she chatted over video call to Hollywood actress Melissa McCarthy from her California mansion.
The $1,785 (£1,283) accessory is by LA-based designer Logan Hollowell is available in 14k gold and diamond or white sapphire.
Meghan opted for a relaxed look, pairing the thoughtful accessory with a white vest and pair of linen trousers, teamed with a loose over the shoulders white cardigan.
Meghan wrote: 'In reflecting on my 40th birthday and the many things I am grateful for, I'm struck that TIME IS AMONG OUR GREATEST AND MOST ESSENTIAL GIFTS: Time with our loved ones, time doing the things we love, time spent learning, laughing, growing, and the sacred time we have on this earth.
'Amongst the most valuable gifts of time is also time spent in service to others knowing that it can contribute to incredible change. To that last point, and with my 40th lap around the sun in mind, it made me wonder: what would happen if we all committed 40 minutes to helping someone else or to mentoring someone in need? And then what would happen if we asked our friends to do the same?
'In the past two years, and in large part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, TENS OF MILLIONS OF women around the world have left the workforce, including over two million women in the U.S.
'So many of these women are also SHOULDERING THE BRUNT OF THE CRISIS when it comes to unpaid labor, including schooling and caring for family members. And the latest research shows that FEWER WOMEN THAN MEN WILL REGAIN WORK as we recover from the pandemic.
'I believe mentorship is one way to help women regain confidence and rebuild their economic strength, and for my birthday, I have asked 40 friends, activists, athletes, artists, and world leaders to help kickoff a global effort by contributing 40 MINUTES OF MENTORSHIP to support women re-entering the workforce. 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.
'If you are able, please JOIN US and pledge 40 minutes today in service of others in the way that feels right to you. The time that you donate can contribute to a GLOBAL WAVE OF SERVICE and set in motion meaningful impact in our own communities, and across the world.'
The video ended with 'bloopers' from the recording session - including one shot of Prince Harry juggling in the background. The Duke of Sussex, 36, was seen through the window of the couple's Montecito mansion throwing tennis balls in the air in the sun-soaked garden.
The moment left Melissa in stitches and prompted Meghan to say: 'What the?' before she burst into a fresh fit of giggles.
Earlier today the Queen, Prince Charles and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge all shared well-wishes to Meghan on her 40th birthday.
The Royal Family Instagram account, run by the Queen's Buckingham Palace staff, was the first to post on Instagram and Twitter, sharing three photos of Meghan along with the message: 'Wishing the Duchess of Sussex a very happy birthday today!'
The Royal Family Instagram account, run by the Queen's Buckingham Palace staff, was the first to post on Instagram and Twitter. One of the photos (bottom) shows the Queen, 95, and Meghan smiling on their first and only joint engagement in June 2018
One of the photos shows the Queen, 95, and Meghan smiling on their first and only joint engagement in June 2018.
Within minutes, Prince William and Kate Middleton and Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall added their own birthday messages.
Royal fans praised the 'gracious' and 'dignified' decision to share the social media posts despite Harry and Meghan's recent public criticism of the Royal Family in a string of high-profile TV and podcast interviews.
Meanwhile members of the self-declared 'Sussex Squad' - fans who support Harry and Meghan - have made donations to charities and organisations supported by the Duchess as part of a fundraising drive they've dubbed the #Meghans40celebration.
Within minutes, Prince William and Kate Middleton and Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall added their own birthday messages. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chose a photo of Meghan from her and Harry's royal tour of Australia in October 2018
The Clarence House Instagram account, run by Prince Charles and Camilla's staff, shared a snap of Meghan smiling as she attended a round table discussion on gender equality with the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and One Young World at Windsor Castle in October 2019
Among them is One25, a Bristol charity supporting sex workers that was visited by the Sussexes in 2019.
It comes just weeks after the bombshell announcement that Prince Harry is penning a tell-all memoir to be released next year. The book is described as a ‘definitive account of the experiences, adventures, losses, and life lessons that have helped shape him’.
The Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William are said to have been completely blindsided by the news.
Prince Harry didn't feel he needed permission from Buckingham Palace to write the memoir, a spokesman said at the time. The representative told the BBC that Harry would not be expected to obtain permission for the project from Buckingham Palace.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's 'truth bombing' began in March with their extraordinary 90-minute interview with Oprah Winfrey where they accused the Royal Family of racism towards Archie and ignoring cries for help from a depressed Meghan when she was suicidal and pregnant.
In the chaotic aftermath of the show, watched by almost 100million people worldwide, the couple claimed this would be their 'final word' on Megxit, only to continue talking about it in more damaging detail over the coming months.
And now the royals are awaiting the release of Prince Harry's book, which coincides with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year.
There is reportedly concern among courtiers that it could overshadow celebrations to mark her 70 years as Monarch.
However today's birthday posts suggest the Firm is keen to present a united front despite the reported tension.
Today's birthday posts suggest the Firm is keen to present a united front that is inclusive of Prince Harry, Meghan and their children Archie, two, and two-month-old Lilibet. Pictured, William, Harry, Kate and William at one of the Sussexes' final royal engagements
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge marked today's milestone with a photo of Meghan from her and Harry's royal tour of Australia in October 2018.
It shows the Duchess in a flowing striped maxi dress and a faux lei necklace on Sydney's Bondi Beach. She was pregnant with Archie at the time.
The message says: 'Wishing a happy 40th birthday to the Duchess of Sussex!'
The Clarence House Instagram account, run by Prince Charles and Camilla's staff, shared a snap of Meghan smiling as she attended a round table discussion on gender equality with the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and One Young World at Windsor Castle in October 2019.
The simple message reads: 'Wishing the Duchess of Sussex a very happy 40th birthday!'
There had been speculation that Meghan, who welcomed daughter Lilibet Diana in June, was planning to celebrate her milestone birthday with a lavish party for 65 guests.
However yesterday Page Six dismissed the plan and suggested Prince Harry will instead whisk his wife off on an 'intimate getaway'.
Royal experts have also speculated that the Sussexes may choose to release an eagerly-anticipated family photo to mark the special occasion. Fans are still waiting to catch a glimpse of Lilibet. Pictured: Harry and Meghan with Archie in a photo announcing her pregnancy
According to The Mirror, Prince Harry has reportedly ordered a cake for his wife from a local bakery, Posies & Sugar, which creates cakes in a simple semi-naked icing look and decorated with flowers.
The couple are not planning to attend the grand birthday party of former President Obama - who turns 60 on the same day - which is believed to be taking place at his Martha's Vineyard home over the weekend.
Last year Meghan enjoyed a quiet birthday at home amid the Covid-19 pandemic, five months after she and Harry sensationally quit the Royal Family and moved to the US.
Her 40th is five months before her sister-in-law Kate Middleton's, while Prince William also hits the milestone in June next year.
Since they got together, Harry and Meghan have enjoyed intimate birthday celebrations. For the Duchess' 36th, the prince took her away to Botswana where they carried out conservation work with the charity Elephants Without Borders.
She marked her 37th - her first birthday as an official member of the Royal Family - at the wedding of Harry's friend Charlie van Straubenzee and Daisy Jenks in Surrey.
On her 38th, which was Meghan's first as a mother, having given birth to son Archie in May 2019, the couple held a private celebration at their Frogmore Cottage home in Windsor before flying to Ibiza.
Last month it was reported Prince Harry has clinched a lucrative four-book deal – with the second due out only after the Queen has died.
What can Meghan Markle expect at 40? As the Duchess celebrates her birthday, astrologists predict her year ahead - from a reconciliation with William and Kate to writing about motherhood
By Latoya Gayle for MailOnline
As Meghan Markle celebrates her 40th birthday today, two astrologers have shared their predictions for how her star sign and birth chart might influence her year ahead.
UK-based astrologer Francesca Oddie said Meghan will spend time thinking about the sort of mother she wants to be - and might even write about the experience of raising her daughter Lilibet.
Meanwhile Nicolas Aujula, a psychic who claims to have predicted Covid-19, said the Duchess of Sussex might repair her relationship with Prince William and Kate this year but believes she will always have a strained bond with Prince Charles.
Nicolas Aujula, a psychic who claims to have predicted Covid-19, said the Duchess of Sussex might repair her relationship with Prince William and Kate this year. Pictured, in 2018
'Born in the sign of Leo, Meghan is warm hearted, commanding and uber confident who definitely wears the trousers in her marriage. She is very good at making things happen and will take no for an answer.
'She needs to learn to slow down more as she approaches 40, to not feel like she has to always be in the driving seat. She has a lot of orange hues around her aura, its a very creative and fertile colour.
Time to heal the rift?
Nicolas said: 'Meghan's relationship with Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will repair but there will always be frosty relationship with Prince Charles.
'It's the sign of independence and not being bound by restriction, she doesn't follow rules and will always command her own life.
'She leads, she does not follow. It's also makes her a warm mother and carer to others, there is warmth in her heart and she wants to make a difference in the world.'
Francesca Oddie said: 'The healing power of motherhood is what strikes me when looking at Megan Markle’s horoscope.
'A deep internal transformation that underlies her whole personality has been in process for the past two years and although many people think Megan’s is being dramatic and over the top, I would suggest that the way she has been feeling has been deeply unsettled.
'The transformation she has been experiencing is galvanised in the birth of her daughter. I often hear clients talk about how their perspective changes when they look at their child and it really puts things into perspective as they see their childhood with fresh eyes.
'With Saturn in Aquarius opposite Megan’s Sun in her Solar Return chart (AKA birthday chart) this is her year to make it, whatever “it” is.
'Transiting Chiron, the wounded healer, is on her MC and this makes me think that she is reflecting deeply on how she interfaces with the world, her childhood but also how she wants to mother. How does she want her daughter to see her? Fresh love is incredibly motivating and can be a catalyst to live a different life.'
More business ventures? Francesca predicts Meghan and Harry's relationship will become even more professional this year
FOOD AND LIFESTYLE
Francesca said: 'Transiting Mars is on her Natal Ceres in Virgo, this also repeats the idea that the style of parenting, nurturing and healthcare that Megan focusses on will be something that she is considering deeply at the moment.
Small things on the horizon for Meghan?
Nicolas added Meghan will go on a 'memorable trip to a tropical island' and will 'lose a valuable piece of jewellery' this year.
'The food, products and lifestyle choices she makes for herself and her baby will be of great interest. Virgo is very focused on diet, health and daily routines.
'It wouldn’t be at all surprising if Megan spoke, wrote or shared some ideas on what mothering her daughter means for her.'
Francesca continued: 'With Saturn still transiting her 7th house, her relationship with Harry may take on an even more professional role. There could be some challenges, but Saturn confers work in every sense of the word.
'There are more shocks, changes and turnarounds coming for Megan this year, but I think the professional capacity of Megan was a woman and mother is about to be monetised, perhaps also with a philanthropic element to whatever she creates.'
Nicolas added: 'Meghan will create awareness on growing hunger in the world, hunger will become a global problem. She will champion women's rights, especially education for young girls.
'She will continue grow into popularity in US, she will eclipse Hollywood royalty to make her own place in history... The world of politics will open up for her in coming years.'