The Duchess of Sussex wrote empowering messages of support on bananas as she joined husband Prince Harry on a visit to a sex worker charity today.
Meghan and Harry were making up food parcels to be handed out to female sex workers when the duchess was struck by the idea to add her own personal touch.
Declaring herself ‘in charge of the banana messaging’, the royal took the time to write individual messages of encouragement and empowerment like ‘you are special’, ‘you are brave’ and ‘you are strong’ on the fruit.
The parcels carrying the bananas were then loaded into a van and distributed to sex workers on the streets by the charity One25, which helps female workers in the sex industry and those battling addiction and other life-controlling issues.
After meeting volunteers and donors, the couple sat inside an outreach van that tours Bristol’s red light district five nights a week, offering food, warm clothing, condoms and advice to women on the streets.
They also met 43-year-old former prostitute Sam, who told them how she was groomed into prostitution when she was ‘14 or 15’ and ended up addicted to drugs.
Sam said she was grateful for their visit to One25, adding: ‘It is amazing that they chose to come here. It is heartwarming and makes you think that these women are not forgotten. I have been away from the street and away from drugs for 13 years in April.
‘If you had told me when I was that girl that I would be meeting with the Royal Family, and they would be interested in what I had to say … that would have been alien.’
‘I can imagine being on the van, and [someone saying] “Meghan wrote this”. I think they might not eat it. I think that banana would be at home until it is rotten, because I would do the same.’
She added that ‘little things like that’ meant a lot.
The stop was the second of three on a busy day of engagements across the city for the royal couple today.
The day kicked off with a visit to Bristol’s Old Vic theatre before Harry and Meghan made their way to One25 and finally to Empire Fighting Chance in Easton, a charity which uses boxing to support children.
Pregnant Meghan, who is expecting her first child in April, arrived in a striking silk chiffon Oscar de la Renta midi-dress, priced at around £2,000 and featuring a colourful assortment of flora and fauna – including a unicorn.
She wrapped up against the chill in a black wool coat from celebrity-favourite retailer William Vintage and injected a splash of colour in £530 Sarah Flint ‘Marina’ suede olive knee-high boots.
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Pregnant Meghan, 37, was seen preparing personalised messages on fruit in the charity kitchen with volunteer Sue Creighton during a visit to One25, a charity which helps female sex workers in Bristol, wearing an Oscar de la Renta dress
Pictured: Messages written on fruit by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex when she was helping to prepare food parcels to go in the charity outreach van, are pictured at One25 in Bristol- ‘you are special, strong and brave’ are seen
The Duchess of Sussex was seen writing empowering messages on fruit as she visited One25, a charity helping female workers in the sex industry, during a busy day of engagements with Prince Harry in Bristol on Friday
Meghan was pictured putting together food parcels to go in the charity outreach van and prepares personalised messages on fruit in the charity kitchen during a visit to One25 in Bristol
As they were shown the food bags being prepared in the programme’s kitchen, the duchess suddenly said: ‘Oh actually do you have a Sharpie marker? I have an idea.’
She explained: ‘I saw this project this woman had started somewhere in the States on a school lunch programme. On each of the bananas she wrote an affirmation, to make the kids feel really, like, empowered. It was the most incredible idea – this small gesture.’
Armed with a marker, and with the words ‘I am in charge of the banana messaging!’ she wrote a series of messages on the bananas destined for the food bags sent out on the outreach van: ‘You are strong’, ‘You are loved’, ‘You are brave’, ‘You are special’.
Afterwards a volunteer called Sam, who is a former sex worker, said of workers receiving the bags: ‘I think they might not eat it. I think that banana would be at home until it is rotten. Because I would do the same.
‘It sounds really cheesy, but little things like that when you are out, especially tonight with the weather- just to get that little thing [means the world]. Meghan took her time out to write that one. It’s lush.’
Sam, 43, (who is not using her real name) said the couple’s visit was ‘amazing’. She added: ‘It is amazing that they chose to come here. It is heartwarming, and makes you think that these women are not forgotten and not cared about.’
The second stop of the day was a visit to One25, a charity specialising in helping women to break free from street sex work, addiction and other life-controlling issues- pictured above
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex meet volunteers Anita Seaton and Sue Creighton in the charity kitchen as they pack food parcels to go in the charity outreach van, during a visit to One25 in Bristol
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, prepares food parcels to go in the charity outreach van and writes personalised messages on fruit in the charity kitchen, next to volunteer Sue Creighton
A handwritten message is seen on a piece of fruit in a food parcel prepared by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex to go in the charity outreach van, during a visit to One25 in Bristol
A message written by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex is seen on a piece of fruit in a food parcel she helped prepare to go in the charity outreach van, during a visit to One25 in Bristol