Remembering a royal icon. Meghan Markle made her first public comments about Queen Elizabeth II‘s death more than one month after the monarch passed away.
“There’s been such an outpouring of love and support,” the Suits alum, 41, told Variety in a cover story published on Wednesday, October 19, reflecting on her and husband Prince Harry‘s grief. “I’m really grateful that I was able to be with my husband to support him, especially during that time. What’s so beautiful is to look at the legacy that his grandmother was able to leave on so many fronts. Certainly, in terms of female leadership, she is the most shining example of what that looks like.”
The Bench author continued: “I feel deep gratitude to have been able to spend time with her and get to know her. It’s been a complicated time, but my husband, ever the optimist, said, ‘Now she’s reunited with her husband.’”
Buckingham Palace confirmed on September 8 that Elizabeth, who was the longest-reigning monarch in British history, died at age 96 at her Balmoral estate in Scotland. Meghan and Harry, 38, happened to be overseas in the UK for previous charity engagements at the time, and the couple remained abroad during the nation’s official mourning period ahead of the queen’s state funeral on September 19.
As the Duchess of Sussex continues to work through the heavy loss, she’s looked back on the experiences she had with her late grandmother-in-law over the years. “I’ve reflected on that first official engagement that I had with her, how special that felt. I feel fortunate,” she told the magazine. “And I continue to be proud to have had a nice warmth with the matriarch of the family.”
The California native added: “In big moments in life, you get a lot of perspective. It makes you wonder what you want to focus your energy on. Right now, we feel energized and excited about all of the things we’ve been building toward. We’re also focused on our [Archewell] foundation. So much of the work we do includes the philanthropic space.”
Meghan’s candid interview marks the first time she’s spoken out about Elizabeth’s death. Last month, a brief message from her and Harry appeared on the Archewell website reading, “In Loving Memory of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” alongside the years 1926 to 2022. At the time, access to the site was temporarily paused.
The former military pilot, of his part, issued a loving statement celebrating Elizabeth days after news broke of her death, referring to her as the royal family’s “guiding compass” and lending his support to his father, King Charles III. “You are already sorely missed. … Thank you for your sound advice. Thank you for your infectious smile,” Harry wrote of the queen. “We, too, smile knowing that you and grandpa are reunited now, and both together in peace.”
After attending Her Majesty’s funeral service at Westminster Abbey in London — where they sat behind Charles, 73, and Queen Consort Camilla — the Sussexes returned to California. The pair moved to the West Coast in the wake of their 2020 step down from their senior royal roles and are raising son Archie, 3, and daughter Lilibet, 16 months, in the US. Earlier this month, Harry shared a sweet update on the little ones’ milestones.
“Archie is very, very busy,” the proud dad gushed during a video call with winners of the WellChild Awards. “And Lili is learning to use her voice, which is great.”
This article originally appeared on our sister site, US Weekly.