The Duchess of Sussex became the magazine’s first ever guest editor in over 40 years of its history.
On July 20 the official royal Instagram account @sussexroyal published the cover of the British issue of Vogue that is to hit the stands in early August 2019. Back in January the duchess was offered an appearance on the cover. However, after a conversation with Meghan Markle Vogue´s editor Edward Enninful made an unprecedented decision to make the duchess a guest editor. The magazine´s September issue is considered the most important one as it sets the trends for the following year. This means that autumn of 2019 will be dedicated to the women who change the world.
The issue is dedicated to today’s burning issues such as body-positivity, xenophobia, and human rights. The issue is titled ‘Force for Change’. Meghan personally picked 15 heroines for the edition. The duchess says these women are on the front lines of fashion, cinema, technological progress, and struggle for healthier lifestyles. A lot of attention has been paid to politics and social activity. Among the heroines are Jacinda Ardern, 39, daughter of New Zealand’s Prime Minister who managed to unite the nation in the wake of mosque shooting, and Greta Thunberg, 16, young activist who drew the world’s attention to climate changes by staging a one-person rally in front of the Swedish Parliament. The black-and-white cover also features models Christie Turlington, Yara Shahidi, Adut Akech, and Adwoa Aboah (who was not allowed to have her freckles retouched by Meghan Markle herself), actresses Salma Hayek, Jane Fonda, Jameela Jamil, Gemma Chan, actress and LGBT activist Laverne Cox, authors Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Sinéad Burke, Somalian-born boxer Ramla Ali, and ballerina Francesca Hayward. The photographs were taken by the avid defender of natural beauty Peter Lindberg who has not worked for the British Vogue since 1992. The sixteenth spot on the cover was left blank. This is some sort of a mirror where every reader can see themselves and think about what they have done to change the world.
The issue portrays the world the way Meghan Markle would like to see it. In her editor’s note the duchess tells the story about how she worked on the issue during her pregnancy while enjoying the support of her husband and friends. Meghan herself talked about maternity in an interview with the former first lady of the United States Michelle Obama who had recently been awarded the Sesame Street prize, while Prince Harry spoke with a well-known anthropologist and United Nations Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall, OBE. Meghan is no newcomer when it comes to writing about relevant issues. Before she started dating Prince Harry she had written for Tig website where she spoke about herself, a healthy lifestyle, and talked to her readers. Vogue, however, has given her a much wider audience and a possibility to raise more complex issues such as extension of women’s rights and opportunities, mental health, racial issues, and privileges.
In the first hours after its publishing the cover gained just as much public momentum as Charlotte Casiraghi’s wedding and Royal Ascot. The public started wondering whether the problems raised in the issue have any relevance for the United Kingdom and why the cover does not show any member of the Royal Family. Vogue’s new issue became a subject for public discussion even while it has not been yet published. The disputes do not seem to be fading out any time soon.