The Duchess of Sussex's collaboration with Disney will benefit Elephants Without Borders

By Erin Hill
March 26, 2020 11:06 AM
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Meghan Markle is returning to the screen!

It was revealed on Thursday that the Duchess of Sussex has lent her voice to the upcoming Disneynature documentary, Elephant, streaming on April 3 on Disney+.

The former Suits star’s collaboration with Disney, which will benefit Elephants Without Borders, pre-dates Meghan and Prince Harry’s groundbreaking decision to step down as senior working royals, which will go into effect on March 31. She recorded the voiceover last fall in London. The royal couple is continuing to support the causes that mean most to them as they exit royal life and work towards financial independence.

RELATED: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Pay Tribute to ‘Brave’ Healthcare Workers Fighting Coronavirus

Both Meghan and Harry have a history of supporting the majestic animals. The royal couple traveled to the African country of Botswana in 2017 to assist Dr. Mike Chase of Elephants Without Borders, getting up close to the elephants while aiding in the conversation effort. Meghan became aware of the documentary through mutual friends of Dr. Chase and had seen some of the footage.

Chris Jackson/Getty

Knowing her passion for the subject and the footage, the filmmakers, Mark and Vanessa Berlowitz, approached Meghan last summer, asking if she would consider doing the narration. Despite speculative reporting, there is no further deal between Disney and the Duchess of Sussex for other projects at this time.

Elephant follows African elephant Shani and her spirited son Jomo as their herd make an epic journey hundreds of miles across the vast Kalahari Desert. Led by their great matriarch, Gaia, the family faces brutal heat, dwindling resources and persistent predators, as they follow in their ancestor’s footsteps on a quest to reach a lush, green paradise.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Botswana
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex/Instagram

Last summer, Meghan and Harry attended the London premiere of Disney’s remake of The Lion King. At the July event, Harry had a brief conversation with former Disney CEO Bob Iger that seemed to involve the possibility of lining up some future work for the former actress.

“You know she does voiceovers,” Harry can be heard saying in a video of the encounter.

Prince Harry chats with Bob Iger at The Lion King premiere in July 2019
Niklas Halle'n-WPA Pool/Getty Images

Walt Disney Studios’ Disneynature produces nature documentaries that are often narrated by celebrities. Both Meryl Streep and Morgan Freeman have provided the voice work for projects, with the proceeds benefiting conservation and wildlife organizations. Dr. Jane Goodall, with whom Harry has a close relationship, also provided the voiceover for the documentary Born in China in 2017. And Natalie Portman’s Disneynature documentary Dolphin Reef will be premiering alongside Elephants on April 3.

Prince Harry
Sussex Royal/Instagram

Harry has focused much of his conservation work in Africa. He is president of African Parks and patron of the Rhino Conservation Botswana. It has long been a go-to place for the prince, who has visited the continent since his teens and refers to it as “his second home.” Now it holds a special place in Meghan’s heart too — it was where Harry romanced his future wife just weeks after meeting her and where they reportedly fell in love.

After the couple’s engagement in November 2017, Harry recalled the romantic few days they spent together in the African wilderness shortly after they met in 2016.

Can’t get enough of PEOPLE‘s Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

“I managed to persuade her to come and join me in Botswana. We camped out with each other under the stars. She came and joined me for five days out there, which was absolutely fantastic,” he said. “So then we were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure that we had a chance to know each other.”

Advertisement