Meghan Markle in 2018: Why the Duchess of Success Is Just Getting Started

“Ms. Markle is looking forward to hitting the ground running,” were the famous words uttered by a Kensington Palace spokesman to a room full of journalists, including this one, during a briefing just over a year ago.

After months of speculation about Meghan’s potential as a member of the royal family, a November 28, 2017 press conference in Buckingham Palace, just a day after her engagement to Prince Harry was announced, offered a glimpse of what was to come.

Having already used the small platform she created while on Suits to spread the word of women’s rights in India and female empowerment for the UN, it was clear Meghan had big plans for her life as a duchess. But even those with the highest of expectations didn’t imagine she would be closing out 2018 with 105 royal engagements under her belt, a four-country tour completed, and a New York Times bestseller. Hit the ground running indeed.

In all honesty, Meghan needn’t have lifted a finger to leave so many impressed this year. Her May wedding to Prince Harry carried powerful cultural meaning, with its sensitive mix of African-American worship tradition and Windsor custom showing us the monarchy was more open to change than we once believed. And to those watching around the world? I’d like to think their marriage has helped further shape how people perceive interracial relationships.