Meghan Markle turned 40 on Wednesday, and the Duchess of Sussex received birthday messages from several royals on social media. The mom of two and wife of Prince Harry also shared a new initiative, 40x40.
Meghan is asking people to pledge 40 minutes of mentorship or service in honor of her 40th birthday. She announced the initiative on the Archwell website, a company she and Prince Harry started last year, which includes production and charity legs.
On the site, Meghan said while reflecting on her birthday and the many things she is grateful for, she realized "time is among our greatest and most essential gifts."
"Amongst the most valuable gifts of time is also time spent in service to others knowing that it can contribute to incredible change," she writes.
"To that last point, and with my 40th lap around the sun in mind, it made me wonder: what would happen if we all committed 40 minutes to helping someone else or to mentoring someone in need? And then what would happen if we asked our friends to do the same?" Meghan continued.
Meghan said that tens of millions of women have left work in the past year, in large part because of the pandemic, and many shoulder the brunt of the crisis. "I believe mentorship is one way to help women regain confidence and rebuild their economic strength, and for my birthday, I have asked 40 friends, activists, athletes, artists, and world leaders to help kickoff a global effort by contributing 40 MINUTES OF MENTORSHIP to support women re-entering the workforce," she writes.
Mentors can find opportunities to help others at several organizations, including three 40x40 partners: Smart Works, YWCA, and L.A. Works, the site reads. Mentors help someone else with a career or a life goal by doing activities like tutoring a teenage girl or helping a woman prepare for a job interview.
In a video about the initiative, Meghan chats with actress Melissa McCarthy, one of the friends she recruited to be a mentor.
In the comical video, McCarthy jokes about Markle throwing a yacht party or getting matching tattoos with her for her birthday. Instead, Meghan says she'll be celebrating her 40th with the 40x40 initiative. At the end of the video, a bloopers section shows Prince Harry outside Meghan's window, juggling.
Not only did McCarthy wish Meghan a happy 40th, so did several members of the royal family.
The official Royal Family Twitter account shared several photos of Meghan, including ones with the Queen, Harry and son, Archie. "Wishing The Duchess of Sussex a very Happy Birthday today!" the tweet read.
Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan's brother- and sister-in-law shared a similar birthday message on Twitter, as did Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.