Meghan visits women’s charity as she celebrates becoming patron

The Duchess of Sussex celebrated becoming the patron of a women’s charity supporting vulnerable job-seekers by meeting its clients, and declared: “I’m so happy to be here.”

Meghan visited the London premises of Smart Works after Kensington Palace announced the duchess had taken on a range of patronages reflecting her interests in the arts, access to education, support for women and animal welfare.

Meghan accepted honorary roles with the National Theatre, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, Smart Works, which helps vulnerable or long-term unemployed women find jobs, and Mayhew, an animal welfare organisation.

Kate Stephens (right) CEO of Smart Works welcomes the Duchess of Sussex as she arrives for a visit (Victoria Jones/PA)

Meghan arrived at Smart Works, based in St Charles Hospital in north Kensington, west London, wearing a dress from Hatch and tan coat by Oscar de la Renta.

The duchess heard from staff members about the work of the charity, and met women who have benefited from its support.

She told the group, which included two former clients: “I’m so happy to be here.

Meghan is welcomed by the team (Clodagh Kilcoyne/PA)

“You guys know I’ve been quietly coming by … close to a year.

“It’s nice to be able to now do it publicly and really talk about the work that you do.”

The Duchess of Sussex, who is expecting her first child in the spring, was initially greeted by Smart Works chief executive Kate Stephens.

Ms Stephens said the duchess had made several private visits to the centre in 2018.

She added: “She’s really hands-on and involved, and has a natural empathy with people that we’ve been really impressed by, she’s amazing.

“She puts people at their ease. It does feel slightly surreal.”

The announcement is a major milestone for the American-born former actress, outlining the first steps of her public life as a member of the monarchy.

Kensington Palace said in a statement: “The Duchess is delighted to become patron of both national and grassroots organisations that are part of the fabric of the UK, and is very much looking forward to working with them to bring wider public attention to their causes.

“Her Royal Highness feels she can use her position to focus attention on, and make a particular difference to these organisations and, more widely, the sectors they each represent.”

- Press Association

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