The Duchess of Sussex at work on the September issue of British Vogue

LONDON — The Duchess of Sussex has taken control of September’s British Vogue, dedicating it to 15 “fearless  women,” including Jane Fonda, Jacinda Ardern, Greta Thunberg and Salma Hayek Pinault, in an issue dubbed “Forces for Change.”

The duchess is the first person to guest edit the September issue of the title: It includes a conversation between her and former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, and an interview by Prince Harry with the ethologist and primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall.

This is the second time that Goodall is grabbing the spotlight this summer after taking a featured role in Stella McCartney’s fall ad campaign.

“These last seven months have been a rewarding process, curating and collaborating with Edward Enninful [the title’s editor in chief] to take the year’s most read fashion issue and steer its focus to the values, causes and people making impact in the world today,” said the duchess, Meghan Markle.

“Through this lens I hope you’ll feel the strength of the collective in the diverse selection of women chosen for the cover as well as the team of support I called upon within the issue to help bring this to light. I hope readers feel as inspired as I do, by the ‘Forces for Change’ they’ll find within these pages.”


British Vogue, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex

The cover of British Vogue’s September 2019 issue. 


The 15 women appear in a grid on the cover, with the 16th panel supposed to be a mirror for the reader’s reflection.

The list of featured women includes Adwoa Aboah, mental health campaigner and model; Adut Akech, model and former refugee; boxer Ramla Ali; Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand; Sinead Burke, diversity advocate and lecturer, and Gemma Chan, the campaigner and actor.

The others are Laverne Cox, the LGBTQIA+ advocate and actor; activist and actress Fonda; Hayek Pinault, the women’s rights advocate, actor and producer; Francesca Hayward, Royal Ballet principal dancer; Jameela Jamil, body positivity advocate and actor; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author; Yara Shahidi, the founder of Eighteen x 18 and actor; Thunberg, climate change campaigner and student, and Christy Turlington Burns, founder of Every Mother Counts and model.

The issue hits newsstands on Aug. 2.

Enninful described the Issue as the magazine’s most important edition of 2019.

“To have the country’s most influential beacon of change guest edit ​British Vogue at this time has been an honor, a pleasure and a wonderful surprise,” he said. “As you will see from her selections throughout this magazine, she is also willing to wade into more complex and nuanced areas, whether they concern female empowerment, mental health, race or privilege.”

It is understood that Markle approached Enninful directly about contributing to, and coediting, the issue, which is traditionally one of the biggest of the year in terms of pages and advertising. She was apparently no slouch during the process, which began in January: She worked on the flat plan, selected and commissioned the writers and photographers, and generally thought and acted like an editor.

Enninful said from the beginning, “we talked about the cover — whether she would be on it or not. In the end, she felt that it would be in some ways a ‘boastful’ thing to do for this particular project. She wanted, instead, to focus on the women she admires.”

The duchess’ sister-in-law Kate Middleton appeared on the cover of British Vogue’s centenary issue in June 2016, and Princess Diana appeared on the cover of the magazine four times, in 1981, 1991, 1994 and 1997. Diana also featured on the cover of Vanity Fair in 1997 as part of a shoot by Mario Testino.

Enninful described the 15 women as having a “laudable impact in recent times, and who are set to reshape society in radical and positive ways in the future. The duchess b​elieves British Vogue’s readers are part of this moment too. As a result, the 16th spot on the magazine’s cover is a mirror to include the reader and encourage them to use their own platforms to effect change,” he said.

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