Duchess Meghan’s maternity leave officially ends next week

By Zach Harper

Duchess Meghan is heading back to work! The 38-year-old, who gave birth to son Archie Harrison in May, will return to royal engagements when she launches her new capsule collection at her patronage Smart Works on Sept. 12.

Meghan and her fashion designer friend Misha Nonoo worked on the collection together, which is a partnership between Marks & Spencer, John Lewis & Partners and Jigsaw. In the September issues of British Vogue that she guest-edited, the duchess said she was inspired to create the line to help women who accessed services at Smart Works find clothes that were the right sizes and style choices for them. Smart Works helps unemployed women trying to find work.

“When you walk into a Smart Works space, you’re met with racks of clothing and an array of bags and shoes,” Meghan wrote in the magazine. “Sometimes, however, it can be a potpourri of mismatched sizes and colours, not always the right stylistic choices or range of sizes.”

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We are proud to announce that Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Sussex is the Guest Editor for the September issue of @BritishVogue. For the past seven months, The Duchess has curated the content with British Vogue's Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful to create an issue that highlights the power of the collective. They have named the issue: “Forces for Change” For the cover, The Duchess chose a diverse selection of women from all walks of life, each driving impact and raising the bar for equality, kindness, justice and open mindedness. The sixteenth space on the cover, a mirror, was included so that when you hold the issue in your hands, you see yourself as part of this collective. The women on the cover include: @AdwoaAboah @AdutAkech @SomaliBoxer @JacindaArdern @TheSineadBurke @Gemma_Chan @LaverneCox @JaneFonda @SalmaHayek @FrankieGoesToHayward @JameelaJamilOfficial @Chimamanda_Adichie @YaraShahidi @GretaThunberg @CTurlington We are excited to announce that within the issue you’ll find: an exclusive interview between The Duchess and former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, a candid conversation between The Duke of Sussex and Dr Jane Goodall, inspirational articles written by Brené Brown, Jameela Jamil and many others. Equally, you’ll find grassroots organisations and incredible trailblazers working tirelessly behind the scenes to change the world for the better. • “Guest Editing the September issue of British Vogue has been rewarding, educational and inspiring. To deep dive into this process, working quietly behind the scenes for so many months, I am happy to now be able to share what we have created. A huge thanks to all of the friends who supported me in this endeavour, lending their time and energy to help within these pages and on the cover. Thank you for saying “Yes!” - and to Edward, thank you for this wonderful opportunity.” - The Duchess of Sussex #ForcesForChange

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Seeing this could be a barrier to finding employment, Meghan reached out to Marks & Spencer, John Lewis & Partners, Jigsaw and Misha, and asked if they would be willing to help her design clothing that had “more classic options for a workwear wardrobe.”

Meghan wrote that many of the brands she approached also committed to donating one item to Smart Works every time a consumer buys something from the line.

“Not only does this allow us to be part of each other’s story, it reminds us we are in it together,” the duchess wrote.

She also called Smart Works “a network of women supporting and empowering other women in their professional pursuits.”

Meghan looked happy and relaxed at Trooping the Colour in June, just a month after Archie was born. Photo: © Getty Images

We’ve seen Meghan a few times since Archie’s arrival. She made a surprise appearance at Trooping the Colour in June, she joined Prince Harry at an MLB game in London late that same month, she cheered on her good friend Serena Williams at Wimbledon twice in July and she met Beyoncé and Jay-Z on the red carpet of The Lion King at its European premiere a few days later. But since Smart Works is one of her patronages, this is Meghan’s first official royal engagement since going on maternity leave.

Last month, Meghan surprised models when she appeared at a photo shoot for the line. She happily gave all of them hugs and smiled as she watched material for the collection being created.

On Sept. 22, Meghan and Harry will head to South Africa with Archie for their first official royal tour as a family. Harry will also make solo visits to Angola, Botswana and Malawi as part of the trip. We can’t wait to see the Sussexes on the road together!

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