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British Royal Family

Duchess Meghan delivers empowering speech in New Zealand on women's suffrage

Feminism is about fairness.

By Jess Pullar
It's no secret Duchess Meghan is a female force to be reckoned with.
Proving even from the young age of 11, the now-royal was passionate about fighting for women's rights when she spoke out against a sexist advertisement, sparking the company itself to change it.
Now, as she arrives in New Zealand for the final leg of her first royal tour with husband Prince Harry, Meghan has proved once again that females have a powerful voice that can spark global change.
Standing beneath a striking portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan shared a rousing speech with guests at Government House in Wellington. (Image: Getty)
Speaking to the audience at Government House in Wellington, Meghan said she was proud to celebrate New Zealand, especially given it was the first self-governing country in the world to give women the right to vote in parliamentary elections.
Wearing a striking navy Gabriela Hearst dress, which was modified to have capped sleeves, the event was a perfect occasion for the outspoken Duchess because it marked the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage.
"Women's suffrage is not simply about the right to vote for women but also about what that represents," she said.
"The basic and fundamental human right of all people - including members of society who have been marginalised - whether for reasons of race, gender, ethnicity or orientation - to be able to participate in the choices for their future and their community."
The Duchess then praised New Zealand for sparking a movement that was mirrored around the world.
"Bravo New Zealand for championing this right 125 years ago - for the women who well deserve to have an active voice and acknowledged vote, and for all of the people that this effort has paved the way for globally."
Watch the speech in the video at the top.
The Duchess praised New Zealand for their championing of women's rights. (Image: Getty)
During the event, Meghan and Harry mingled with various guests at Government House. (Image: Getty)
Her powerful speech was well received by Kiwis and fans around the world, with many taking to social media to express their thoughts.
One fan wrote on Twitter: "You're championing woman! You're using your platform to shine a light on woman's rights! Thank you so much for staying true to yourself!"
While another said: "WOW. great speech and my goodness is she gorgeous and well spoken!"
Kensington Palace also shared a photograph of the royal couple with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern, who was the second world leader to give birth while in office, and the first in the world to take maternity leave while in office.
Meghan and Harry arrived in Wellington earlier in the day after a short stop in Sydney.
Stepping off the plane in Wellington, Markle wore a stunning printed trench coat by New Zealand designer Karen Walker along with a simple black ASOS maternity dress.
Kiwis who waited to see Meghan and Harry were much like fans in Australia, Fiji and Tonga - presenting them with flowers and cards as the pair visited the national war memorial on Sunday afternoon.
The royal couple were showered in flowers in gifts as they arrived in Wellington. (Image: Getty)
People of all ages turned out to see the Duke and Duchess. (Image: Getty)
The royal couple's busy schedule in New Zealand comes after a jam-packed weekend in Sydney, where they attended both the National Geographic Awards and the Invictus Games closing ceremony.
Wearing a breath-taking Oscar de la Renta gown at the National Geographic Awards, held in the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney on Friday evening, the Duchess presented the award for Young Conservationist of the Year. Winner Sophia Skarparis, 15, was recognised for her campaign work to ban plastic bags.
Sophia told News.com.au Meghan had shared some touching words with her, including that she was an "inspiration".
"She congratulated me and told me to keep the hard work up and I thanked her for that," she said.
Meghan presented the award for Young Conservationist of the Year award during the event. (Image: Getty)
The Duchess looked incredible in an Oscar de la Renta gown. (Image: Getty)
On Saturday evening, Meghan captured our hearts once again when she delivered a speech during the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games, which have been held in Sydney over the past week.
"In a short span of time, the games have evolved into an international platform of some of the best athletics and sportsmanship you could ever witness, coupled with a camaraderie and close-knit community, which can only be defined as the Invictus spirit," she said.
Wearing a beautiful khaki Antonio Berardi halter-dress with an ANZAC poppy, Meghan spoke about her own experience with army personnel.
"​I'm not sure if many of you know this, but a few years ago, before I had met my husband, I had the incredible honour of visiting troops deployed all over the world, from the U.K. to Italy and Afghanistan, and several other countries," she explained.
Watch her speech in the video below:
"In travelling to these military bases, I was given a very special glimpse into the lives of those who serve our countries. ​I was able to see the unshakable bonds between service men and women on the ground together, but at the same time to feel the palpable longing for family and friends while deployed."
The royal couple will visit the Abel Tasman National Park, located at the top of the South Island on Monday as they continue the New Zealand leg of their royal tour.
They will then travel to Auckland and Rotorua before wrapping up their tour on November 1st.

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