Meghan Markle is the guest editor on the September issue of Vogue

Meghan Markle guest edits Vogue: Duchess of Sussex unveils right-on edition honouring 15 ‘trailblazing’ women who’re a ‘force for change’ (and leaves one box blank to show YOU can be a game-changer, too)

  • Duchess of Sussex, 37,  has been named as guest editor on an upcoming issue of the fashion bible
  • The cover of the famous magazine features ‘women she admires’ including Greta Thunberg and Jane Fonda
  • But the Duchess herself does not feature on cover as she reportedly ‘believed it would be too boastful’ 

The Duchess of Sussex is the guest editor on the September issue of British Vogue – and it’s cover features 15 ‘women she admires’. 

The Duchess becomes the first royal to guest-edit the fashion bible, bringing together 15 ‘trailblazers’ and ‘changemakers’ for a special ‘Forces for Change’ issue.

The line-up of women she admires includes celebrities, politicians and activists known for championing issues such as diversity, body positivity, transgender rights and climate change.

Meghan’s edition, includes actress Jane Fonda, 81, and climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg, 16 among other famous faces. 

The Duchess does not feature on the cover as she believed it would be a ‘boastful’ thing for her to do, according to the magazine’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful. 

It represents one of the most radical moves in Vogue’s 100-year history, with the magazine saying it considers the new September issue to be its most important edition of the year.

The duchess, a former actress and avowed feminist, had initially been asked to appear on the cover herself. But Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful said Meghan refused as she thought it would appear too ‘boastful’.

The Duchess of Sussex is the guest editor on the September issue of British Vogue (Pictured: Jacinda Ardern, Salma Hayek Pinault, Laverne Cox, Jameela Jamil, Yara Shahidi and Gemma Chan, Christy Turlington Burns, Adwoa Aboah, Adut Akech, Ramla Ali, Sinead Burke,  Francesca Hayward, Jane Fonda, Greta Thunberg and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)

Instead the duchess wanted to focus on the ‘women she admires’ from the ‘frontline of fashion, film, tech and wellness’. Meghan has also selected content for the issue which, according to Mr Enninful, shows she is willing to wade into issues of ‘female empowerment, mental health, race or privilege’.

Meghan’s trailblazers include actress Jane Fonda, mental health campaigner and model Adwoa Aboah, transgender Orange Is the New Black actress Laverne Cox, climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg and New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern.

The 16th image on the cover is a mirror to ‘include the reader and encourage them to use their own platforms to effect change’ – the duchess’s idea. Prince Charles, Prince Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge have all tried their hand at being journalists in recent years to plug causes close to their hearts.

Kate was also the cover star of the Vogue centenary issue in 2016. However, rarely has a collaboration been so ‘woke’ – a political term for being socially aware over issues such as race and sexual equality.

It makes clear that Meghan is determined not to give up the level of activism she enjoyed when working as an actress before she met the Queen’s grandson.

In 2015 she addressed the United Nations on the issue of female empowerment, highlighting how at the age of 11 she was so outraged by a sexist washing detergent advertisement on TV that she wrote to the manufacturers who agreed to pull it.

A candid photograph released alongside the September cover pictures the duchess in the workroom of the Smart Works office in London

Insiders insist the duchess was not just a figurehead for the British Vogue project but a hands-on collaborator, involving herself in everything including artwork and layout. There is a ‘candid conversation’ between Meghan and former US First Lady Michelle Obama.

Meghan has also chosen to feature an interview between Prince Harry and primatologist Dr Jane Goodall.

The duchess posed for just one image inside the magazine – an arty black and white shot in the London office of charity Smart Works, which helps get women from disadvantaged backgrounds ready for job interviews.

It is understood that discussions between Meghan and Vogue began in January and she has been working with the team for months.

A source told the Mail: ‘The duchess and Edward first met in January. She had already been approached by a huge number of publications. It wasn’t something she was actively looking to do but she had heard a lot about Edward and, as the patron of Smart Works, she thought that Vogue could be a good link-up. So actually initially she reached out to him.

‘Edward pitched for her to be on the front cover but this was something she wasn’t keen on…so the duchess just asked him “Would you consider me guest-editing?” The September issue is a major deal in the fashion industry and no one has ever been allowed to guest-edit before.’

The source said Meghan had been ‘totally hands-on’ throughout her pregnancy with her new baby Archie. The team met with her at Kensington Palace and her Frogmore Cottage home and there were ‘hundreds of emails and phone calls’. The insider added: ‘This was a real project of passion for her throughout her pregnancy and Archie’s arrival. It’s been a massive labour of love. It’s been a very collaborative process. But the levels of secrecy have been insane!’

In a statement, Meghan said: ‘These last seven months have been a rewarding process, curating and collaborating with Edward Enninful to take the year’s most-read fashion issue and steer its focus to the values, causes and people making impact in the world today.’  

Meghan, who has been working on the project for the past seven months amid rumours of involvement, said she hopes readers feel as ‘inspired as I do’ by the issue (Pictured in July)

The edition, entitled Forces For Change, features ‘trailblazing changemakers, united by their fearlessness in breaking barriers’, Buckingham Palace said (Pictured: Meghan at Wimbledon in July)

Edward Enniful, the magazine’s editor, said: ‘To have the country’s most influential beacon of change guest edit British Vogue at this time has been an honour, a pleasure and a wonderful surprise.

‘As you will see from her selections throughout this magazine, she is also willing to wade into more complex and nuanced areas, whether they concern female empowerment, mental health, race or privilege.

‘From the very beginning, we talked about the cover – whether she would be on it or not.

‘In the end, she felt that it would be in some ways a ‘boastful’ thing to do for this particular project.

Meghan is not the first royal to appear in British Vogue, with sister-in-law Kate appearing on the front cover in June 2016 (pictured)

‘She wanted, instead, to focus on the women she admires.’ 

Meghan is far from the first member of the royal family to have influenced the pages of British Vogue.

Princess Diana featured on the cover three times, while Princess Anne has also appeared three times: in September 1971, May 1973 and November 1973. 

Her sister-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge also adorned the cover of the magazine’s centenary issue in 2016. 

It was also rumoured earlier this month that the royal was in discussions with Anna Wintour about writing a regular column for the magazine focusing on her charity work.

Princess Diana featured on the cover three times, while Princess Anne has also appeared three times: in September 1971, May 1973 and November 1973

An insider claimed the potential monthly feature would be similar to an article featuring in British Vogue’s September issue. 

Speaking of the September issue, the source said: ‘The spread in Vogue won’t be a superficial photoshoot – on the contrary, she wants to use it as a platform to make a difference.

‘She is working with Vogue as a contributing editor on a few fabulous stories about the causes that are near and dear to her and it may eventually become a regular column.

‘Anna Wintour is also part of the talks and is in discussion about running some or all of the stories in US Vogue.’

The collaboration with Vogue was partially inspired by Amal Clooney, according to the source, who encouraged the duchess to use the magazine to promote her charity work.

Meghan Markle’s Super Sixteen: Duchess of Sussex has handpicked the women she admires most for the cover of Vogue magazine, and the list includes YOU 

Handpicked for her Vogue cover, they’re the women the Duchess admires most.

But she’s left one box blank to show YOU can be a game-changer, too. 


Adut Akech, 19. Model. 

Adut Akech, 19. Model

As a child refugee, Akech moved from South Sudan to Kenya, where her family was too poor to send her to school. Aged seven, her parents emigrated to Adelaide, Australia. She became a model at 16 and calls Naomi Campbell her ‘second mum’.

CLAIM TO FAME: In 2018, she became only the second black model ever to close the Chanel haute couture show.

WISE WORDS: ‘I promised that I was going to make something out of myself; something really good that would make people proud of me, especially my mother. And that is exactly what I have done.’

ROYAL TIES: At last December’s British Fashion Awards, Meghan presented an award and Akech was nominated for Model of the Year.

Gemma Chan, 36. Actress and campaigner


Gemma Chan, 36. Actress and campaigner. 

The UK-born Oxford law graduate turned her back on the legal profession for showbiz. She made her breakthrough in the romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians and played Minn-Erva in this year’s superhero film Captain Marvel.

CLAIM TO FAME: Pole dancing with singer Celine Dion after this year’s Met Gala: ‘It was the best half an hour of my life.’

WISE WORDS: ‘You’re going to have moments of s**t, but pick yourself up, have a drink and carry on.’

ROYAL TIES: Dated posh comic Jack Whitehall for six years — he once poked fun at Harry’s ginger hair. She and Meghan share a passion for stamping out racial prejudice in the acting world.

Both made Vogue magazine’s best-dressed list last year, and use make-up artist Daniel Martin, who did Meghan’s wedding look.


Greta Thunberg, 16. Swedish climate change activist. 

She visited the UK in April, and addressed MPs at Westminster. Sparked a ‘school strike for the climate’ among students from 112 countries. Only travels by train and in March made the cover of Time magazine.

CLAIM TO FAME: Nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize this year.

WISE WORDS: ‘Our house is falling apart and our leaders need to start acting accordingly.’

ROYAL TIES: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex used their Instagram account to follow Thunberg this month, as part of their ‘monthly social awareness approach’ to their favourite causes.

Greta Thunberg, 16. Swedish climate change activist

Jameela Jamil, 33


Jameela Jamil, 33.  

The Hampstead-born children’s TV presenter turned actor and activist advocates ‘body positivity’ through her I Weigh campaign.

CLAIM TO FAME: First solo female presenter of the BBC Radio 1 Chart show in 60 years.

WISE WORDS: ‘The next generation is f*****g done being excluded and looking up to a white straight thin version of what we are supposed to be. We’re done with the dinosaurs . . . and I’m here to kill the last of them.’

ROYAL TIES: Jamil’s I Weigh campaign was a cause the Sussexes chose to support on Instagram. Both women fell out with TV’s Piers Morgan, who accused Meghan of abandoning her friendship with him after she met Harry. Jamil described Morgan as ‘England’s biggest s**t stain’.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 31. Nigerian novelist whose 2012 TEDx talk ‘We should all be feminists’ has been viewed more than five million times


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 31. Nigerian novelist whose 2012 TEDx talk ‘We should all be feminists’ has been viewed more than five million times. 

She’s collaborated with Dior on a ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ T-shirt, and in 2016 became the face of Boots No7 make-up. Splits her time between Nigeria and the U.S. and designs clothes with local tailors.

CLAIM TO FAME: Her novel Americanah, about race and identity, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in 2013.

WISE WORDS: ‘I am angry. Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice. We should all be angry.’

ROYAL TIES: Both were invited to a private discussion with Michelle Obama at London’s Southbank Centre. She has said Meghan should be the next Head of the Commonwealth after the Queen, not Prince Charles.


Adwoa Aboah, 27. Aristocratic supermodel and descendant of the Earl of Lonsdale, whose mother Camilla founded an artist management agency. 

Developed depression as a teenager, when she started taking drugs. After an overdose and stay in a psychiatric hospital, she is now a passionate advocate for the promotion of mental health.

CLAIM TO FAME: The chosen cover star for new editor Edward Enninful’s first edition of Vogue in December 2017.

WISE WORDS: ‘When you’re that unhappy, it’s scary, it’s dark and horrible.’

ROYAL TIES: Supports Heads Together — the charity Meghan and Harry spearheaded with William and Kate until recently.

Adwoa Aboah, 27. Aristocratic supermodel and descendant of the Earl of Lonsdale, whose mother Camilla founded an artist management agency

Meghan says this image — a mirrored panel — represents ‘a mirror to include the reader

7: You!

Meghan says this image — a mirrored panel — represents ‘a mirror to include the reader and encourage them to use their own platforms to effect change’. Whatever cards life has dealt you, the Duchess believes you are a force for change and are every bit as important as her chosen cover stars.


Jacinda Ardern, 39. 

New Zealand’s Prime Minister garnered widespread praise for her sensitive reaction, which included wearing a headscarf, to the mosque shootings in Christchurch in March by a white supremacist, when 51 were killed.

CLAIM TO FAME: Became the world’s youngest female head of government in October 2017 and only the second world leader to give birth while in office. Her TV presenter partner became a stay-at-home dad.

WISE WORDS: ‘I never, ever grew up as a young woman believing that my gender would stand in the way of doing anything I wanted.’

ROYAL TIES: Met the Duchess last October on the Sussexes’ first royal tour and has said: ‘I think it’s wonderful to have a woman in her position talk so strongly about issues of women’s representation and empowerment.’

They fuelled her love of dance by giving her a DVD of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. Cast alongside Taylor Swift and Judi Dench in the film version of the musical Cats.

CLAIM TO FAME: A principal dancer in the Royal Ballet, the highest rank possible.

wise words: ‘It sounds a cliché but when I’m on stage I’m at my most relaxed, I feel most like myself. When I have the music and costumes and everyone else around me, that’s when I feel most free.’

ROYAL TIES: Clearly, the Duchess admires the way she handles being asked about her race. Has said her background has never affected her career: ‘It’s only when people ask me what it’s like to be a mixed-race dancer that I realise that I am. I’ve never been made to feel different.’


Ramla Ali, late 20s (Ali doesn’t know her exact age). Champion Somali boxer who arrived in the UK as a refugee. 

Bullied in her early teens for being overweight, she discovered boxing after her mum bought her a pass to an East London gym.

Ramla Ali, late 20s (Ali doesn’t know her exact age). Champion Somali boxer who arrived in the UK as a refugee

Became ‘hooked’ but kept her boxing a secret from her strict Muslim parents, who found out after her brother saw her competing on television. She volunteers for a charity teaching women self-defence.

CLAIM TO FAME: Training to become the first Somali to compete in Olympic boxing in 2020.

WISE WORDS: ‘Every day I am getting messages from people saying: “You are doing incredible things for our country, you are raising awareness for our country, a country that has been associated with war and famine for so long, so you are bringing a positive light to the country — thank you so much.” ’

ROYAL TIES: They may know each other through Vogue’s editor, Edward Enninful, who she recently thanked on social media for a night out at one of the UK’s starriest events, the Serpentine Gallery’s summer party.


Christy Turlington Burns, 50. 

One of the original Nineties supermodels who shot to stardom with her campaign for Calvin Klein’s Eternity perfume. More recently the mother of two, married to actor Edward Burns, has founded Every Mother Counts, a non-profit organisation dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safer worldwide.

CLAIM TO FAME: Top casting agent James Scully hailed her as: ‘The greatest model of all time! You could combine every model to this day into one person, and they wouldn’t come close (sorry, girls).’

WISE WORDS: ‘Oh, I’m hardly stylish! I’m such a mess. I don’t think about what I’m going to wear; it’s the last thing I think about.’

ROYAL TIES: Naomi Campbell is a mutual friend and both are yoga fanatics. Once said: ‘Yoga is about compassion and generosity towards others. It means being mindful of the world around us.’

Christy Turlington Burns, 50

Salma Hayek Pinault, 52. Actress, producer and activist


Salma Hayek Pinault, 52. Actress, producer and activist. 

The Hollywood star is married to French billionaire businessman François-Henri Pinault. She campaigns to raise awareness of violence against women and discrimination against immigrants (and has said she was once an illegal immigrant in the States after moving from Mexico).

CLAIM TO FAME: Breastfed a new-born whose mother couldn’t produce milk on a UNICEF trip to Sierra Leone.

WISE WORDS: ‘People always underestimate me. But if you stick around long enough, act out of conviction, and try to be honourable in everything you do, good things will come to you.

ROYAL TIES: Both used their acting careers to raise awareness for their charity work — before marrying men very far removed from Hollywood.


Sinead Burke, 29. Irish activist born with achondroplasia, a bone growth disorder, which means she is just three-and-a-half-feet tall. 

A fashion fanatic, who would ask for copies of Vogue for her birthday, she started blogging aged 16 to highlight the industry’s inability to cater to disabled fans.

CLAIM TO FAME: Became well known after her TED talk ‘Why design should include everyone’ two years ago.

WISE WORDS: On disabled people in fashion, she says: ‘They’ve not been invited to the table to help make and share decisions.’

ROYAL TIES: Met the Duchess at a reception in Dublin, and was listed alongside her as ‘one of the 25 most influential and aspirational female figures in Britain shaping 2018’ in — where else — Vogue magazine.

Sinead Burke, 29. Irish activist born with achondroplasia, a bone growth disorder, which means she is just three-and-a-half-feet tall

Jane Fonda, 81. Actress, model and fitness guru


Jane Fonda, 81. Actress, model and fitness guru.

The thrice-divorced mother of three has been a frequently controversial political activist — she was a staunch opponent of the Vietnam War, earning her the nickname ‘Hanoi Jane’ — and championed feminist causes, saying in 2017: ‘I’ve been raped, I’ve been sexually abused as a child and I’ve been fired because I wouldn’t sleep with my boss.’ Currently stars in Netflix series Grace And Frankie.

CLAIM TO FAME: A legend in Hollywood, she has won two Best Actress Oscars and been nominated several other times. Has also shifted more than 17 million copies of her legendary exercise videos.

WISE WORDS: ‘To be a revolutionary you have to be a human being. You have to care about people who have no power.’

ROYAL TIES: It’s not entirely clear — but Meghan did reportedly relax by watching a Jane Fonda movie, Book Club, on a flight to Canada last year.


Laverne Cox, 46. 

The American actress and transgender advocate found fame on Netflix series Orange Is The New Black and became the first transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. She says: ‘Most Americans learn what they learn about trans people through the media.’

CAREER HIGHLIGHT: The first transgender person to appear on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine.

WISE WORDS: ‘I am a self- made woman in every sense of the word.’

ROYAL TIES: A mutual distrust of President Donald Trump, whom Meghan has described as a ‘misogynist’. Cox says of transgender people: ‘The current President is trying to ban us from the military. Our unemployment rate is three times the national average.’

Laverne Cox, 46, actress and LGBT activist


Yara Shahidi, 19. US actor and model who launched Eighteenx18, a movement to encourage voter turnout. 

Currently stars in hit sitcom Grown-ish — and studies at Harvard: ‘I have the great fortune of working with fabulous people who want me to go to college as much as I do.’

CLAIM TO FAME: Given a letter of recommendation by former First Lady Michelle Obama.

WISE WORDS: ‘My passion really stemmed from having gone through the 2016 election, where myself and many of my peers were unable to vote.’

ROYAL TIES: Apart from their early career trajectory on U.S. TV series, they share campaigning stances on racial prejudice. In a scene from Grown-ish, her character, Zoey Johnson, expresses her approval of Meghan’s marriage to Harry. ‘Good on Meghan,’ says Zoey. ‘Girl’s a princess now.’ 

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