The Duchess of Sussex is remotely helping the Smart Works charity, which provides coaching and business attire for vulnerable women seeking to re-enter workplace

By Phil Boucher
June 11, 2020 01:37 PM
Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle with Smart Works clients
| Credit: Mark Large - WPA Pool/Getty

Meghan Markle is continuing to work with one of her main U.K. charities from her new home in Los Angeles.

“She still is absolutely involved,” Kate Stephens, Chief Executive of the Smart Works charity, tells the latest edition of online magazine The Flock.

“She came to see us first before she was married, when she was getting to know the charity sector in the U.K.," she adds. "I think she just really connected with what we were doing and the way that we were doing it."

The Duchess of Sussex became patron of Smart Works in January 2019 and has since launched a capsule collection for the charity, which helps unemployed and vulnerable women to return to the workplace by providing coaching tips and professional attire for job interviews.

Meghan Markle visits Smart Works in Jan. 2019
| Credit: CLODAGH KILCOYNE/AFP/Getty Images

In April, Meghan also rolled up her sleeves and helped coach a Smart Works client ahead of her job interview, providing words of advice and encouragement through a video call from her LA, where she relocated with Prince Harry, 35, and their one-year-old son Archie in March.

This hands-on approach to fundraising hasn't been lost on the Smart Works team - not least because their client got the job!

“She saw the impact we were able to have, in terms of both the clothes and the coaching, in helping women," Stephens tells The Flock about the low-profile visits Meghan made to the organization during the early days of her royal life.

"I think that’s always been a part of her own ethos, so she came quietly to see us over the course of that year and then when we asked her to be our patron, she said yes, which was lovely."

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Meghan Markle visits Smart Works in January 2019
| Credit: Clodagh Kilcoyne - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Stephens, continues "She’s had great ideas and has been a great inspiration to our clients above all else. Whenever she comes to see us, she always gets involved in dressing and coaching our clients as well as bringing her ideas to the table too. And she still is absolutely involved.”

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Meghan Markle with Smart Works founder Juliet Hughes-Hallett in January.
| Credit: Clodagh Kilcoyne - WPA Pool/Getty Images

In September 2019, Meghan spoke at length about her love of working with Smart Works in her first official post-maternity leave outing.

“When I first moved to the U.K. it was incredibly important to me personally to be able to connect with people on the ground who were doing really important work,” Meghan said at the launch of her capsule collection in London.

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“The reason why I was drawn to Smart Works is that it reframed the idea of charity as community…’s a network of women supporting and empowering other women in their professional pursuits."

Women's empowerment is just one of the many causes that are close to the heart of the Duchess of Sussex, who's other U.K.-patronages include the National Theatre, The Association of Commonwealth Universities, and the Mayhew animal welfare charity, where she recently sponsored a dog kennel in her son Archie’s name.

On June 4, she added her voice to the Black Lives Matter movement in a surprise commencement speech to the graduating class of her alma mater Immaculate Heart High School, where she addressed the "absolutely devastating" killing of George Floyd.

Meghan and Harry have also been talking to community leaders about how they can both contribute more to the Black Lives Matter movement.

“They are holding calls with community leaders and organizations but are doing that privately as they continue to see how they can play a role. But they also want to learn and talk about it like the rest of us,” a source close to the couple told PEOPLE.