The Duchess of Sussex celebrated her milestone birthday on Wednesday by launching a new initiative to help women re-entering the workforce, called 40×40.
Meghan enlisted the help of some very famous friends and mentors ― including Amanda Gorman, Gloria Steinem, Adele, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and Stella McCartney ― who will each give 40 minutes of their time to help some of the women.
Meghan kicked off the effort with an announcement on her and Prince Harry’s charity website, Archewell, and a very funny video featuring Melissa McCarthy.
In the clip, the duchess tries to tell McCarthy about her celebration plans, but the “Bridesmaids” actor has other ideas.
“It’s my 40th birthday, and I’ve got an idea,” Meghan says in the clip.
“I know what it is,” McCarthy answers while wearing a very British outfit, fit for high tea.
“My first guess ― is it another photo shoot, under a tree, where you’re looking very peaceful?” the actor asked, likely referencing the photo the Duke and Duchess of Sussex used to announce they were expecting a second child.
“Peaceful under a tree is me every day,” the duchess quipped.
McCarthy tried to think of other things Meghan was going to do to celebrate, including a yacht party and the two finally getting matching tattoos.
When McCarthy showed a rendering of the “Besties Forever” tattoo, Meghan said she already had “something really similar” across her back and that they should maybe save it for her 50th.
The duchess also shot down a “Suits” reunion as part of her celebration, saying, “I love ‘Suits,’ but why would I do a ‘Suits’ reunion for my birthday?”
Joking aside, Meghan then told McCarthy about the new mentorship project she’s launching and its importance, considering how many women had to leave the workplace as an effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Because I am turning 40, I am asking 40 friends to donate 40 minutes of their time to help mentor a woman who is mobilizing back into the workforce,” she said. “Over 2 million women in the U.S. alone and tens of millions around the world have lost their jobs due to COVID. And I think if we all do it, and all commit 40 minutes to some sort of act of service, we can create a ripple effect. You in?”
McCarthy agreed to be a part of the initiative before the two signed off. The clip added some bonus footage after the actors had said goodbye, which showed McCarthy saying that the video involved a “lot of hat work” on her part.
A few seconds at the end showed the Duke of Sussex accidentally entering the frame when he was juggling outside, and McCarthy bursting into laughter with an “Oh, my God!”
Meghan shared more about the initiative in a letter on Archewell, writing that while “reflecting on my 40th birthday and the many things I am grateful for, I’m struck that time is among our greatest and most essential gifts.”
“Time with our loved ones, time doing the things we love, time spent learning, laughing, growing, and the sacred time we have on this earth,” the duchess added. “Amongst the most valuable gifts of time is also time spent in service to others knowing that it can contribute to incredible change.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are currently on parental leave after the birth of their second child, Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor.
Despite their absence, the royals have continued to share projects they’re working on. Shortly after the June publication of Meghan’s first children’s book, “The Bench,” the former “Suits” actor announced that she is producing an animated children’s series called “Pearl” for Netflix.
Harry is also keeping busy, as the duke revealed in July that he is working on an “intimate and heartfelt” memoir that will be published in 2022. The book, which will be released by Random House, promises to be an “accurate and wholly truthful” look at the duke’s life.
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