Meghan Markle puts brave face on at first public appearance since documentary controversy as she attends charity event - without Prince Harry - just hours after source close to the couple told how they have 'single-handedly modernized the monarchy'

  • The Duchess, 38, attended the official opening of the 2019 One Young World summit at the Royal Albert Hall
  • Event is described as 'global forum for young leaders' and brought together 2,000 people from 190 countries
  • It marked Meghan's first public outing since explosive ITV documentary where she said she was 'vulnerable' 
  • Also came just hours after source close to Harry and Meghan said the couple had 'modernised the monarchy'
  • Duchess attended without Prince Harry, 35, in her role as vice-president of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust

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Meghan Markle put on a brave face as she attended an event at the Royal Albert Hall this evening, in her first public appearance after the bombshell ITV documentary where she admitted public scrutiny had left her feeling 'vulnerable'. 

The official opening of the 2019 One Young World summit, in Kensington, west London took place just hours after a source close to her and Prince Harry told CNN the couple are 'single-handedly' modernising the monarchy. 

Meghan, 38, attended without Prince Harry, in her role as vice-president of the Queen's Commonwealth Trust, which is partnering with One Young World to bring 53 young leaders to the summit. 

A video of a delighted of Meghan walking onto the stage at the event was later shared on the Sussex Royal Instagram account. 

The Royal Albert Hall event was described as a 'global forum for young leaders' and brought together 2,000 people from more than 190 countries. 

Wearing a purple dress and sporting a broad smile, Meghan exchanged hugs and handshakes as she greeted admirers upon her arrival. 

However, the Duchess of Sussex appeared to have removed her eternity ring for the event, gifted by Prince Harry after the birth of their son Archie in May.  

She received the loudest cheer during the opening ceremony as she walked through the audience to join dozens of other One Young World counsellors - including Bob Geldof - on stage and was sat next to Nobel Peace Prize recipient Professor Muhammad Yunus during the event.

Her appearance came just days after an emotional interview with ITV broadcaster Tom Bradby, where Meghan revealed her struggles to cope with the pressures of her new life since marrying Harry in May 2018. 

And, earlier today, a source close to Harry and Meghan told CNN that the couple are 'single-handedly' modernising the monarchy, before slamming the 'institution around the royal family' for being unable to harness the couple's full value. 

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, attends the Opening Ceremony of the annual One Young World Summit at the Royal Albert Hall
Meghan looked in high spirits as she arrived at the event

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, attends the Opening Ceremony of the annual One Young World Summit at the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington tonight

Admirers look on as Meghan Markle strides towards the stage during the opening ceremony of the One Young World Summit

Admirers look on as Meghan Markle strides towards the stage during the opening ceremony of the One Young World Summit

Wearing a purple dress and sporting a broad smile, Meghan soaked up the adulation of the crowd as she walked through it

Wearing a purple dress and sporting a broad smile, Meghan soaked up the adulation of the crowd as she walked through it

Meghan received the loudest cheer during the opening ceremony as she walked through the audience to join dozens of other One Young World counsellors - including Bob Geldof - on stage

Meghan received the loudest cheer during the opening ceremony as she walked through the audience to join dozens of other One Young World counsellors - including Bob Geldof - on stage

The Duchess of Sussex is welcomed on stage during the opening ceremony of the One Young World summit at the Royal Albert Hall, London

The Duchess of Sussex is welcomed on stage during the opening ceremony of the One Young World summit at the Royal Albert Hall, London

Meghan greets Ella Robertson, the Managing Director of One Young World – the global forum for young leaders, as she arrives at the event

Meghan greets Ella Robertson, the Managing Director of One Young World – the global forum for young leaders, as she arrives at the event

Meghan appeared in high spirits at the event in London tonight
Smiling, the Duchess looked delighted to be attending the One Young World Summit opening ceremony,

Meghan smiled broadly as she arrived at the event, which is determined to create the next generation of more responsible and effective leadership

Meghan smiled as she attended tonight's Royal Albert Hall event, which is described as a 'global forum for young leaders' and brought together 2,000 people from more than 190 countries

Meghan smiled as she attended tonight's Royal Albert Hall event, which is described as a 'global forum for young leaders' and brought together 2,000 people from more than 190 countries

Meghan's appearance comes just days after an emotional interview with ITV broadcaster Tom Bradby, where Meghan revealed her struggles to cope with the pressures of her new life since marrying Harry in May 2018

Meghan's appearance comes just days after an emotional interview with ITV broadcaster Tom Bradby, where Meghan revealed her struggles to cope with the pressures of her new life since marrying Harry in May 2018

The Duchess of Sussex attends the opening ceremony of the One Young World summit at the Royal Albert Hall, London

The Duchess of Sussex attends the opening ceremony of the One Young World summit at the Royal Albert Hall, London

Pick a purple dress like the Duchess of Sussex in Babaton

The Duchess of Sussex stepped out for a night out at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday and, as always, she brought the wow factor.

Meghan opted for another re-wear, this time a bold purple number by Babaton, which we first saw her in during an engagement in January when she was expecting little Archie.

Proving that the dress works all year round, she wore the ‘Maxwell’ midi dress for the occasion with navy suede pumps and a bracelet to complete the look. We love the minimalist silhouette with just a hint of Meghan’s daring style coming through with the front slit. Ideal for a lavish event, don't you think?

Sadly, and somewhat unsurprisingly, the dress has now sold out, but click (right) to get a closer look and shop the brand at Aritzia.

However, if you want to recreate Meghan’s regal look then do so no matter your budget by shopping a dress from the edit below, which includes Rochas, Vila and Queen Bee.

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Meghan stepped out of her chauffeur-driven car and strode over to greet Ian McCullough, president of the Royal Albert Hall, and One Young World's managing director Ella Robertson, whom she kissed on each cheek as she arrived at the event.

There was confusion, however, when she arrived as the royal motorcade went the wrong way and had to turn around and come back in again to get her to the correct entrance. 

Six-week 'family time' break for Sussexes 

The Sussexes are to take a six-week break from royal duties from the end of next month to enjoy some 'family time'.

Buckingham Palace has not officially commented on the couple's 'private' travel plans.

But it is understood they will spend Thanksgiving, on November 28, in the US with the duchess's mother Doria Ragland and return to the UK for Christmas with the Royal Family.

Sources stressed yesterday the break should not be seen as a 'holiday' but time to bond after a busy year. Meghan barely took three months of maternity leave, working on projects including her guest editorship of Vogue and the launch of her charity clothing line.

A source told the Daily Mail: 'It's more in the spirit of winding down and taking some family time towards the end of the year.' 

Meghan has been involved with One Young World since 2014 when she attended its summit in Dublin and agreed to become a counsellor, acting as a role model and adviser for young people.

She had used her role in the youth group to advocate for women's rights and the role men can play in creating equality.

One Young World's mission is to create the next generation of more responsible and effective leaders.   

Meghan, who is one of 70 counsellors appearing at this year's summit over the next four days, watched performers including Royal Ballet star Fernando Montano put on a show for 5,000 people in the concert hall.

They included 2,000 delegates, supporters, and partners.

There was a huge cheer when she was introduced as the last of 45 counsellors all called up on stage from the back of the hall.

She followed luminaries including Sir Bob Geldof and singer Ellie Goulding up to the stage and was cheered all the way.

On stage, she sat clapping enthusiastically to the music during a flag-laying ceremony involving every nation's flag and one to represent the world's refugees.

She was introduced as a global champion of women. 'We are delighted to welcome back a returning One Young World counsellor from 2014 and 2016,' an announcer said. 'A global champion for the rights of women and girls. Activist, philanthropist, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex.' 

The Duchess of Sussex was sat next to Nobel Peace Prize recipient Professor Muhammad Yunus during tonight's event

The Duchess of Sussex was sat next to Nobel Peace Prize recipient Professor Muhammad Yunus during tonight's event

Meghan hugged an admirer as she arrived at the event
She smiled and shook hands as she attended the event

The Duchess looked in high spirits as she arrived, wearing a purple dress and sporting a broad smile as she greeted admirers with handshakes and hugs

Meghan's appearance comes just hours after a source close to her and Harry said that the couple were modernising the Royal Family

Meghan's appearance comes just hours after a source close to her and Harry said that the couple were modernising the Royal Family

Meghan appeared to have removed her eternity ring, which she was given by Prince Harry in May 2018,. It's unclear if the statement piece, made up of Harry, Meghan and Archie's birthstones, was given as a 'push present' or as a first anniversary gift, but according to a source at Harpers Bazaar the Duchess was 'touched' by it. With an emerald for Archie, peridot stone for Meghan and a blue sapphire for Harry, along with a collection of diamonds, the eternity ring can be seen as a symbol of protection and power

Meghan appeared to have removed her eternity ring, which she was given by Prince Harry in May 2018,. It's unclear if the statement piece, made up of Harry, Meghan and Archie's birthstones, was given as a 'push present' or as a first anniversary gift, but according to a source at Harpers Bazaar the Duchess was 'touched' by it. With an emerald for Archie, peridot stone for Meghan and a blue sapphire for Harry, along with a collection of diamonds, the eternity ring can be seen as a symbol of protection and power

It comes after the dramatic ITV documentary, Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, which aired on Sunday, where Meghan said she had tried to keep a 'stiff upper lip' while under the media spotlight. 

The Duchess revealed friends had warned her not to marry into the Royal Family, while Harry said he needed 'constant management' to deal with the pressures of his life. 

The explosive documentary led to an outpouring of support for the couple, though they also faced criticism for their candid interviews.

Today, speaking to CNN, a source close to the couple defended them and said: 'The institution around the British royal family is full of people afraid of and inexperienced at how to best help harness and deploy the value of the royal couple who have single-handedly modernized the monarchy.'

They then hit out at the 'hysterical' media reaction to the comments made by Prince Harry in an ITV documentary on Sunday about his brother William. 

The couple are said to have a full schedule of engagements until mid-November - before taking six weeks off from royal duties over Christmas.  

It is understood their family time will include them flying to Los Angeles next month to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland.

The couple are then expected to spend their first Christmas with their son Archie, who was born in May, with the Queen and other royals at Sandringham in Norfolk.   

Earlier One Young World's co-founders, Briton David Jones and South African Kate Robertson told the young people they provided hope to bring change to the world.

Meghan has been involved with One Young World since 2014 when she attended its summit in Dublin and agreed to become a counsellor, acting as a role model and adviser for young people

Meghan has been involved with One Young World since 2014 when she attended its summit in Dublin and agreed to become a counsellor, acting as a role model and adviser for young people

The Duchess of Sussex is welcomed on stage during the opening ceremony of the One Young World summit at the Royal Albert Hall, London
The Duchess of Sussex is welcomed on stage during the opening ceremony of the One Young World summit at the Royal Albert Hall, London

The Duchess of Sussex is welcomed on stage during the opening ceremony of the One Young World summit at the Royal Albert Hall, London

Ambassador Sir Bob Geldof during the opening ceremony of the One Young World summit at the Royal Albert Hall, London

Ambassador Sir Bob Geldof during the opening ceremony of the One Young World summit at the Royal Albert Hall, London

The Royal Albert Hall getting ready for Meghan Markle's arrival for the official opening of the 2019 One Young World summit

The Royal Albert Hall getting ready for Meghan Markle's arrival for the official opening of the 2019 One Young World summit

Mr Jones told them more than 20 million people had been helped by One Young World since it was created in 2010.

Ms Robertson said: 'We created One Young World because of a vacuum of leadership in the world and since then that vacuum has become a black hole.'

But the pair said a new generation of young people including environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg and education and human rights activist Malala had come forward to show the world new leadership.

Meghan left the stage with the other counsellors after around an hour and a quarter at the ceremony. 

London mayor Sadiq Khan, actor Warwick Davies and One Young World co-founders Kate Robertson and Dave Jones were among the speakers during the summit opening.

Mr Khan said: 'When it comes to tackling the defining challenges of our time, we achieve more together than we do alone.

'This is the main message I want to send to you this evening. Shamefully there are some politicians who wish to absolve themselves from their positions of responsibility.'

Ahead of Meghan's appearance tonight, the official Sussex Royal Instagram account shared a post highlighting the Duchess' long-standing relationship with the One Young World (OYW) organisation. 

The source close to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (pictured) said the institution around the royal family is full of people 'inexperienced' at how best to 'deploy and harness their value
Meghan and Harry launched a scathing attack on the British media in an ITV documentary

The source close to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (pictured) said the institution around the royal family is full of people 'inexperienced' at how best to 'deploy and harness their value 

The source, close to Harry and Meghan, launched a defence of the couple to CNN (pictured)

The source, close to Harry and Meghan, launched a defence of the couple to CNN (pictured)

Spotlight: The engagement marks the royal's first appearance since she revealed she feels 'vulnerable' in an explosive ITV interview that aired on Sunday night, pictured

Spotlight: The engagement marks the royal's first appearance since she revealed she feels 'vulnerable' in an explosive ITV interview that aired on Sunday night, pictured

Meghan also shared a throwback photo of her chatting to Justin Trudeau hours after he was re-elected as Prime Minister of Canada. 

The Instagram post read: 'The Duchess of Sussex will attend @OneYoungWorld opening ceremony this evening to continue her support for this amazing collective of global youth ambassadors.'

It continued: 'Later this week The Duchess will hold a round table discussion with several of the OYW young leaders to address the issue of gender equity worldwide, and how we can all play our part to reach equality for all.' 

Meghan first spoke at a OYW summit in Dublin in 2014 and returned two years later for the engagement in Ottowa alongside Mr Trudeau. 

The Duchess of Sussex shared a throwback photo of Justin Trudeau hours after he was re-elected as Prime Minister of Canada. The snap shows Meghan, 38, chatting to Mr Trudeau, 47, at the One Young World summit in Ottowa in 2016. Meghan attended the 2019 summit today

The Duchess of Sussex shared a throwback photo of Justin Trudeau hours after he was re-elected as Prime Minister of Canada. The snap shows Meghan, 38, chatting to Mr Trudeau, 47, at the One Young World summit in Ottowa in 2016. Meghan attended the 2019 summit today 

Ahead of the summit, Meghan and Harry's official Sussex Royal Instagram account highlighted the Duchess' longstanding relationship with the global youth leadership organisation

Ahead of the summit, Meghan and Harry's official Sussex Royal Instagram account highlighted the Duchess' longstanding relationship with the global youth leadership organisation

Meghan first spoke at a OYW summit in Dublin in 2014, when she was still an actress (pictured)

Meghan first spoke at a OYW summit in Dublin in 2014, when she was still an actress (pictured)

Then starring in US legal drama Suits, Meghan attended the conference to deliver a speech to a group of global young leaders.  

Meghan is thought to have befriended Mr Trudeau's wife Sophie - a mutual friend of stylist Jessica Mulroney - while living in Toronto. She was based in the city while filming Suits.

The same post shared earlier today also featured a video of the duchess speaking at a previous event about empowering women. 

She said: 'I think what scares people is this idea female empowerment is somehow threatening. No, it's not. Empower the women, you're empowering the community.

'And I think anything is possible, because with my small voice at 11 years old, we could do it - so I can only imagine what all of you are going to be able to do.' 

The event tonight comes after it emerged Prince William and Harry have spoken to each other privately after Harry and Meghan bared their souls in the documentary.

Royal aides are said to have 'concern' about Harry and Meghan's struggles, with William believed to be 'worried' about his brother who he feels is in a 'fragile place'.

Prince Harry spoke of his mental health and relationship with brother William on ITV, saying they have 'good days' and 'bad days' and are travelling on 'different paths'.

Royal aides are said to have 'concern' about Harry and Meghan's struggles, with William believed to be 'worried' about his brother who he feels is in a 'fragile place'. Pictured: the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor in Cape Town, South Africa

Royal aides are said to have 'concern' about Harry and Meghan's struggles, with William believed to be 'worried' about his brother who he feels is in a 'fragile place'. Pictured: the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor in Cape Town, South Africa

ITV began trailing the interview with Harry and Meghan towards the end of William's own successful tour of Pakistan with his wife Kate (pictured together in Lahore)

ITV began trailing the interview with Harry and Meghan towards the end of William's own successful tour of Pakistan with his wife Kate (pictured together in Lahore)

Describing how William felt at seeing his younger brother clearly upset, a senior royal source said: 'He is concerned, as anyone would be watching the documentary.' 

William is also said to think the suggestion that Harry and Meghan want a six-week break from royal duties is probably a 'good thing' as they are in 'a fragile place'.

But royal sources scotched talk of William being 'furious' about the timing of the programme.

ITV began trailing the interview towards the end of William's own successful tour of Pakistan with his wife Kate.

One said: 'Actually I just think there is a really deep sadness there. Things will never be the same again, clearly.'

Meghan received an outpouring of support from tens of thousands of people on Twitter last week after her interview discussing the hardships of motherhood.

#WeLoveYouMeghan' became the top trending topic on the social media platform, with users offering positive messages in the wake of her media scrutiny.

A royal source told The Sunday Times over the weekend: 'The Duke and Duchess have a full schedule of engagements and commitments until mid-November, after which they will be taking some much-needed family time.'

Meghan Markle attends Royal Albert Hall without Prince Harry

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