The Duchess of Sussex’s Speech on Women’s Suffrage

Wellington | New Zealand

Shortly after the fairytale wedding, in fact even before this, the Royal couple’s endless duties of engagements started. Although Meghan Markle was not born into a Royal family, her celebrity did, in a way at least, prepared her for the mammoth role that was ahead of her. So far she has been graceful, elegant and more than up to the task. Talks of ‘beginner’s luck’ was soon erased with the Duchess of Sussex’s speech on women’s suffrage that she delivered in Wellington earlier this week.

 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s first Royal Tour has seen the couple visit Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand (click here to see the schedule). The Royal couple is currently on their last leg of the tour in New Zealand. Hosted at a private reception at Government House in Wellington, the 37-year old mother to be delivered yet another passionate, well-structured and thoughtful speech. In celebration of New Zealand’s 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage, the Duchess of Sussex’s speech on women’s suffrage touched on the importance of equality, fairness and humanity. The Duchess of Sussex commented:

“The achievements of the women of New Zealand who campaigned for their right to vote, and were the first in the world to achieve it, are universally admired. In looking forward to this very special occasion, I reflected on the importance of this achievement, but also the larger impact of what this symbolises.”

Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle Speech Getty Images

Prime Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Governor Dame Patsy Reddy were both in attendance to celebrate the importance of women in society as well as to offer an example of what is now achievable and must have been unimaginable all of those years ago.

Duke of Sussex, Duchess of Sussex, Governor Dame Patsy Reddy and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

The Duchess of Sussex’s Speech on Women’s Suffrage In Full

 

Good evening everyone.

Your Excellencies, Prime Minister, Mr and Mrs Bridges, honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen, good evening – tēnā koutou katoa.

Your Excellency, thank you for your warm welcome to Government House this evening, as well as for hosting me and Harry during our special time in New Zealand.

We are proud to be able to join you tonight in celebrating the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in your country.

The achievements of the women of New Zealand who campaigned for their right to vote, and were the first in the world to achieve it, are universally admired.

In looking forward to this very special occasion, I reflected on the importance of this achievement, but also the larger impact of what this symbolises.

Because yes – women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness.

Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote but also about what that represents. The basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community. The involvement and voice that allows you to be a part of the very world you are a part of.

And women’s suffrage is not simply about the right to vote for women but also about what that represents.

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.

So 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.

We all deeply thank you.

In the words of your suffragette Kate Sheppard, “All that separates, whether race, class, creed, or sex, is inhuman, and must be overcome.”

Thank you all so much.

Images: Getty Images & Buckingham Palace

Martin Jones

Royal Editor

With over 30 years in the field, Martin Jones is considered as one of the world's leading Royal Commentators. He and his team report on the latest news, announcements and events from various Royal Families all across the world.

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