Meghan Markle Had Reportedly Been Working on Non-Royal Projects for Years

We learned about Meghan Markle's voiceover work in 2020, but in 2017 she reportedly met with Disney's Elephant directors.

The Duke And Duchess Of Sussex Attend The Endeavour Fund Awards
(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo)

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry visited Botswana, Africa, when they were dating in 2017. While they were there, they just so happened to have dinner with directors Mark Linfield and Vanessa Berlowitz, who were working on a documentary for Disneynature called Elephant. Fast forward three years—and Meghan has provided the voiceover work for that very same film. I love this little detail! 

Per People

“She was absolutely intrigued by the elephants and transfixed, especially by the female empowerment side,” says Berlowitz. “How important the matriarchs are to the story; it really is all about female leadership. It’s a different form of power—it’s about consensual leadership. It’s also very inclusive, as well—very contemporary. She was absolutely fascinated by that.”

The directors pretty much immediately had the idea to have Meghan do the narration, and they tested her voice from speeches online against the footage they'd already gathered. "She had done United Nations women’s speeches, and they just worked great," said Linfield. The directors didn't say whether Meghan was made aware of these plans right away, although when Meghan and Harry came to London's Lion King screening, they commented about how Meghan does voiceover work. She actually recorded the narration in 2019. 

As noted by Express, that would mean that Meghan could have started working on a non-royal project as early as 2017, even though the movie came out in 2020 (shortly after Meghan and Harry resigned as senior royals). I will point out, of course, that Kate Middleton has done voiceover work and has appeared on TV shows to promote Every Mind Matters and her "Back to Nature" Garden, so it's not like this type of work is forbidden.

I think the implication, though, is that Meghan's focus was on all kinds of charitable work that interested her, and she wasn't necessarily thinking about the "normal" focus of senior royals on their patronages. It's impossible to say, of course, whether the seeds of resigning had been planted all the way back then, but to their credit, Harry and Meghan did much charitable work as senior royals between then and now.

From everything I've read about Meghan, she's been focused on charitable work for a long time, so I'm neither surprised nor scandalized by the fact that she was thinking broad all the way back in 2017. It is interesting, of course, in light of Meghan and Harry's resignation, but it also shows a lot of consistency and care on her part for the causes she thinks are particularly important.

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Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.