Since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they’d be stepping back from senior royal duties, Markle has been hard at work exploring philanthropic opportunities in Vancouver.
One such opportunity involved the city’s non-profit organization Justice For Girls, a charity that has spent over two decades advocating on behalf of women and girls.
The charity took to Twitter to share two black-and-white photos of Markle’s visit, including one where she can be seen casually sipping tea and laughing with one of the organization’s employees.
“Yesterday, the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, visited to discuss climate justice for girls and the rights of Indigenous Peoples,” the tweet reads. “Was great to talk about the importance of a holistic approach to social justice and the power of young women’s leadership.”
She spent an hour listening to stories from staff and spoke to the group about her commitment to gender equity, royal reporter Omid Scobie reports.
“We were very moved by the duchess visiting us despite terrible weather conditions in Vancouver and her very recent arrival,” co-director Zoe Craig-Sparrow told Harper’s Bazaar. “We were struck by how engaged and informed she was on the issues we discussed, and how quickly and gracefully she put us at ease.”
Justice For Girls, founded in 1999, has had a special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 2009. Markle, 38, has worked with the United Nations in the past, notably making a powerful speech about gender equality in 2015.
A key topic discussed during Markle’s visit was Canada’s epidemic of violence against Indigenous girls and women, Scobie reported.
“This work is critically important in Canada where the impacts of colonization continue to harm Indigenous girls and women through epidemic violence, social and economic inequality, environmental racism and denial of the rights of Indigenous Peoples,” Craig-Sparrow said.
Earlier that day, Markle also visited the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, an organization that offers supportive services and a safe space for women and children.
The organization provides support and basic necessities to more than 500 women and children every day.
The women’s centre shared a group photo with the duchess, writing: “Look who we had tea with today! The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, visited us today to discuss issues affecting women in the community.”
These visits mark Markle’s first public appearances since she and Prince Harry split from the Royal Family.
After discussions following the announcement the couple would “step back” from royal duties and split their time between the U.K. and North America, the Queen said she was “supportive” of their decision.