One Young World managing director Ella Robertson remembers Meghan as someone who lit up the room. “She was impressive to listen to, she was passionate about gender equality and women’s rights, and she was determined to bring about change in the TV industry.” Fast-forward to today, when Meghan will return to the city of which she once said she wanted to see more as a new member of the royal family. Now the Duchess of Sussex, her values and principles remain the same. Meghan proudly describes herself as a feminist on the royal family’s Web site, and the couple’s scheduled meeting with female tech entrepreneurs on the second day of their tour reflects one of her key interests. The royal couple’s meetings with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and President of Ireland Michael Higgins are an indication of just how much influence they potentially have as a couple, and their sensitive roles in promoting Britain overseas as the country prepares to leave the E.U.
This, their first official overseas trip, will be a litmus test for the future. The Queen, who has taken a close interest in Meghan and invited her to Chester for an away day last month, will no doubt be watching the visit closely.
While the tour, at the request of the British Foreign Office, is snack size compared to the eight-day trip to Canada William and Kate did just weeks after their wedding, it will be an invaluable practice run for the couple’s forthcoming Commonwealth tour later this year. The Sussexes are traveling with a substantial entourage of 11, but compared to Meghan’s first away day with Her Majesty, the trip is expected to be more relaxed. Courtiers said the couple is looking forward to meeting members of the public and learning about Ireland’s rich history through visiting organizations that are “central to Irish life.” Meghan will also return to Croke Park, where she attended the One Young World summit back in 2014. It is the home of Ireland’s largest sporting organization, and the couple will see a Gaelic sports festival and have the chance to see artifacts from the Bloody Sunday massacre at the park’s museum which they will visit on Wednesday. The itinerary will see the Sussexes cram multiple engagements into their two-day tour, which starts Tuesday evening and includes a summer party at the British Ambassador’s residence where Harry will deliver a speech.
On Wednesday, the couple will meet President Higgins before viewing the historic Book of Kells, housed in the Long Room of the Old Library at Trinity College alongside the oldest harp in Ireland and 200,000 rare books. They will also visit the Famine Memorial on the bank of the River Liffey to learn more about Ireland’s 19th-century famine before heading to the EPIC museum to learn about the country’s 10 million emigrants. Their last engagement will be a visit to Dogpatch Labs, a co-working space for start-up companies where they will talk to female tech entrepreneurs and take part in a coding workshop.
The newly married Sussexes have wasted no time getting down to work. After attending a garden party days after their May wedding, they joined the Queen for last month’s Queen’s Young Leaders Awards and last week they attended a Commonwealth Youth Challenge reception at London’s Marlborough House. On Tuesday, hours before their departure for Dublin, they joined Her Majesty as well as William and Kate for the RAF’s historic 100th-anniversary celebrations.