Meghan Markle Calls Queen Elizabeth the 'Most Shining Example' of Female Leadership in New 'Variety' Interview

Variety previously confirmed the Duchess of Sussex's Power of Women issue cover would be held "out of respect for the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II"

Meghan Markle is opening up about Queen Elizabeth.

On Wednesday, Variety unveiled its Power of Women cover featuring the Duchess of Sussex, 41. There, Meghan addressed the death of her grandmother-in-law for the first time.

When asked what the grieving process had been like, the Archetypes host voiced her gratitude for the global outpouring of support and that she was able to be there for her husband, Prince Harry.

"What's so beautiful is to look at the legacy that his grandmother was able to leave on so many fronts," Meghan said of the Queen's legacy. "Certainly, in terms of female leadership, she is the most shining example of what that looks like. I feel deep gratitude to have been able to spend time with her and get to know her."

"It's been a complicated time, but my husband, ever the optimist, said, 'Now she's reunited with her husband,' " she added, referring to Prince Philip, who died in April 2021 at age 99.

Reflecting on what she learned from the late monarch, who died "peacefully" at age 96 on Sept. 8, Meghan said she's been thinking back to their first solo outing together in 2018.

The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle fronts the latest cover of VARIETY
Meghan Markle. Ramona Rosales for Variety

"I've reflected on that first official engagement that I had with her, how special that felt. I feel fortunate," she told Variety. "And I continue to be proud to have had a nice warmth with the matriarch of the family."

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On how she and Harry, 38, were mourning as a family, Meghan added, "In big moments in life, you get a lot of perspective. It makes you wonder what you want to focus your energy on. Right now, we feel energized and excited about all of the things we've been building toward. We're also focused on our foundation. So much of the work we do includes the philanthropic space."

Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex
Queen Elizabeth, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

The magazine announced Meghan as an honoree for the special issue on Sept. 14, though the release of her cover was postponed "out of respect for the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II." Variety also said Meghan would not attend the Power of Women event in Los Angeles on Sept. 28, which fell the day after the royal family's mourning for the late Queen officially ended.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II attend a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018 in Widnes, England.
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

Alongside the Archetypes host, the entertainment magazine honored Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Ava DuVernay, Malala Yousafzai and Elizabeth Olsen in this year's Power of Women circle. Photos of the six women were included in the celebratory issue as planned, and the Clintons graced the front cover.

In August, Meghan also appeared on the cover of The Cut's fall issue.

Meghan was in Europe with Prince Harry for a series of engagements with longstanding charities when the Queen died in Scotland in early September. Harry traveled to Balmoral Castle on the day of his grandmother's death and remained in the U.K. with his wife for the funerary events that followed.

The Duchess of Sussex, the Duke of Sussex, Princess Charlotte, and the Princess of Wales during the Committal Service for Queen Elizabeth, at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle on September 19, 2022 in Windsor, England.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty

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The couple flew back to California soon after the state funeral on Sept. 19.

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