The Duchess of Sussex shouted out her mom on stage and sparkled in something from Diana's jewelry box while accepting an award
The Duchess of Sussex, 41, paid tribute to mother and her late mother-in-law at the Ms. Foundation 2023 Women of Vision Awards: Celebrating Generations of Progress & Power in New York City on Tuesday night. Meghan attended the event with her mom and husband Prince Harry, where she shouted out the example Doria set in a speech on stage while shimmering in Princess Diana's diamond tennis bracelet.
The Duchess of Sussex was recognized as a Woman of Vision Award honoree for her global advocacy to empower women and girls, reflecting on what it meant to see Ms. magazine at home while growing up in her acceptance speech. The awards ceremony came just a few days after Mother's Day on May 14, making the nods to her mother and mother-in-law all the more thoughtful.
"As a young girl, I would come home, I'd settle in after a day of school, pull up my TV tray with dinner and I would turn on my evening ritual: Jeopardy! And I'd glance at the coffee table, where I'd see an array of things: it could be the cat's collar, my homework, some mail that had just been brought in — and some magazines. The magazines said Ms. on them," Meghan said. "I remember them vividly because the pictures were different. There was diversity that I hadn't seen as often, both of color and of age and the names were different. There were congresswomen, there were astronauts and the topics were different — from mothering to being a working mom to heavier topics such as domestic violence, the poverty line, unearthing its roots, where it comes from and matters of equity."
"I was too young at the time to know what most of it meant. But I also knew that to my mom, to my dear mom, who I'm honored to have with me tonight, I knew the significance of these magazines was important," she continued. "I mean, it wasn't a one-off. She had a subscription and having these pages in our home, it signaled to me that there was just so much more than the dolled-up covers and the images that you would see on the grocery store covers. It signaled to me that substance mattered."
The audience applauded when Meghan referenced Doria, though they might not have caught her glittering tribute to Prince Harry's mom.
Meghan shined in a strapless gold dress by Johanna Ortiz and coordinating heels, completing the look with hoop earrings and the late Princess of Wales' tennis bracelet. The Duchess of Sussex has worn the timeless piece in the past, memorably slipping it on for her historic interview with Oprah Winfrey alongside Prince Harry in 2019.
The accessory is especially sentimental for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as Prince Harry reportedly took two diamonds from the tennis bracelet while designing Meghan's three-stone engagement ring. The center gem is ethically sourced from Botswana, where the couple fell in love, flanked by the two smaller diamonds from Diana's personal collection.
During their engagement interview with the BBC, King Charles' youngest son said he incorporated his late mother's jewels "to make sure that she's with us on this crazy journey together." Six months later, Harry and Meghan wed in a storybook ceremony at St. George's Chapel in Windsor in May 2018.
The couple's night out in New York closed on a frightening note after they were involved in a "near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi," a spokesperson said. Prince Harry, Meghan and Doria were leaving the Ms. Foundation 2023 Women of Vision Awards at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in Manhattan when the incident is said to have occurred.
"Last night, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Ms. Ragland were involved in a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi. This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers," a spokeperson for Prince Harry and Meghan said in a statement to PEOPLE.
"While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone's safety," they continued. "Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all in involved."
Prince Harry's mother, Princess Diana, died in a 1997 car crash in Paris that also involved photographers pursuing her vehicle. New York City Mayor Eric Adams referenced this event while briefly commenting on the news Wednesday.
During a public safety announcement about retail theft, a reporter asked Adams if he could share any information or comment about the chase involving Harry and Meghan.
"It's clear that the press, paparazzis, they want to get the right shot, they want to get the right story, but public safety must always be at the forefront," the mayor said. "Two of our officers could have been injured. New York City is different from a small town somewhere. You shouldn't be speeding anywhere, but this is a densely populated city and I think all of us ... I don't think there's many of us who don't recall how [Prince Harry's] mom died and it would be horrific to lose innocent bystanders during a chase like this, and something to have happened to them as well, so I think we have to be extremely responsible."
"I thought that was a bit reckless and irresponsible," Adams added.
Prince Harry is also pursuing legal action in the U.K. regarding the removal of his security after stepping back from his royal role. Harry's legal team has previously stated that he "does not feel safe" bringing his children to the U.K. because his U.S. security team does not have jurisdiction in the U.K. or access to U.K. government intelligence.
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