Meghan Markle sounded ‘less restrained’ and ‘like her old self’ in George Floyd speech

The Duchess of Sussex sounded like the ‘old Meghan’ in her speech on George Floyd‘s death, a friend has told Vanity Fair. 

Meghan, 38, this week delivered a virtual address to graduating pupils at her old school, Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, in which she also named other African Americans who were killed in by police in recent years.

The 38-year-old former actress, who attended the school from the age of 11 to 18, said: ‘George Floyd‘s life mattered and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered and Philando Castile’s life mattered and Tamir Rice’s life mattered’.

Speaking to Vanity Fair today, an anonymous source said the words were ‘100 per cent’ Meghan’s while a friend, who ‘works closely with her on her charity work’ said the duchess sounded ‘less restrained’ and more like she did before she joined the royal family.

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Meghan Markle has given a video address to her old school in Los Angeles in which she talked about George Floyd's murder

Meghan Markle has given a video address to her old school in Los Angeles in which she talked about George Floyd's murder

Meghan Markle in the video address

Meghan Markle in the video address

Meghan, 38, this week delivered a virtual address to graduating pupils at her old school, Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, in which she spoke about George Floyd’s death and named other African Americans killed by police. Pictured, Meghan giving the address

Speaking to Vanity Fair today, a friend said the duchess sounded 'less restrained' and more like she did before she joined the royal family. Pictured, Harry and Meghan at the Invictus Games in Toronto in September 2017, two months before they announced their engagement

Speaking to Vanity Fair today, a friend said the duchess sounded 'less restrained' and more like she did before she joined the royal family. Pictured, Harry and Meghan at the Invictus Games in Toronto in September 2017, two months before they announced their engagement

Speaking to Vanity Fair today, a friend said the duchess sounded ‘less restrained’ and more like she did before she joined the royal family. Pictured, Harry and Meghan at the Invictus Games in Toronto in September 2017, two months before they announced their engagement 

‘Listening to her was like hearing the old Meghan,’ the friend told the publication. ‘She sounds less restrained and more herself and much more how I remember her from when we first met, way back before she was a member of the royal family.’

The second source explained there had been ‘a lot of discussion’ around Meghan’s response because she wanted her message to be ‘communicated appropriately’. 

‘It wasn’t easy, but she was determined to say something. These are her words, her sentiments—it’s 100 per cent her,’ the source added. 

Meghan herself acknowledged her hesitations around speaking, saying she knew her words would be ‘picked apart’. 

She said: ‘I wasn’t sure what I could say to you. I wanted to say the right thing and I was really nervous that it would get picked apart. And I realised the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing.’

It comes as demonstrations continue to build around the world after Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died after white police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on his neck in Minneapolis on May 25 for almost nine minutes. Pictured, New York last night

It comes as demonstrations continue to build around the world after Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died after white police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on his neck in Minneapolis on May 25 for almost nine minutes. Pictured, New York last night

It comes as demonstrations continue to build around the world after Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died after white police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on his neck in Minneapolis on May 25 for almost nine minutes. Pictured, New York last night

Meghan made the six-minute virtual speech on Wednesday before the video was released to black women’s lifestyle magazine Essence, which published it on its website yesterday saying ‘courtesy of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’. 

It comes as demonstrations continue to build around the world after Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died after white police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on his neck in Minneapolis on May 25 for almost nine minutes. 

During the video, Meghan also said there were many others killed by police who would never have been named. She said: ‘As we’ve all seen over the last week what is happening in our country and in our state and in our home town of LA has been absolutely devastating’.

‘I know you know that black lives matter’: What Meghan told the students for graduation speech

On Black Lives Matter: ‘With as diverse, vibrant and opened minded as I know the teachings at Immaculate Heart are, I know you know that black lives matter’

On the 1992 Los Angeles riots: ‘I remember the curfew and I remember rushing back home and on that drive home, seeing ash fall from the sky and smelling the smoke and seeing the smoke billow out of buildings’

On waiting to speak out: ‘I wasn’t sure what I could say to you. I wanted to say the right thing and I was really nervous that I wouldn’t or that it would get picked apart. And I realised the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing’

On African Americans killed by police: ‘George Floyd’s life mattered and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered and Philando Castile’s life mattered and Tamir Rice’s life mattered, and so did so many other people whose names we know and whose names we do not know. Stephon Clark, his life mattered’

On what her teacher once told her: ‘One of my teachers, Ms Pollia, said to me as I was leaving for a day of volunteering, ‘always remember to put other’s needs above your own fears’. And that has stuck with me throughout my entire life’

On people coming together: ‘We are seeing people stand in solidarity, we are seeing communities come together and to uplift. And you are going to be part of this movement.

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The Duchess also said how the students are ‘going to have empathy for those who don’t see the world through the same lens that you do’, adding: With as diverse, vibrant and opened minded as I know the teachings at Immaculate Heart are, I know you know that black lives matter.’ 

The former Suits star told students that she had been about to start secondary school when the Los Angeles riots began in the spring of 1992 after the brutal beating of Rodney King.

She said: ‘I was 11 or 12 years old when I was just about to start Immaculate Heart Middle School in the fall, and it was the LA Riots, which was also triggered by senseless act of racism.

‘And I remember the curfew and I remember rushing back home and on that drive home, seeing ash fall from the sky and smelling the smoke and seeing the smoke billow out of buildings and seeing people run out of buildings carrying bags and looting.

‘And I remember seeing men in the back of a van just holding guns and rifles. And I remember pulling up at the house and seeing the tree, that had always been there, completely charred. And those memories don’t go away.’  

Meghan also referred to some advice she was given by a teacher aged 15, saying: ‘I remember my teacher at the time, one of my teachers, Ms Pollia, said to me as I was leaving for a day of volunteering, ‘always remember to put other’s needs above your own fears’.

‘And that has stuck with me throughout my entire life and I have thought about it more in the last week than ever before.’ 

Meghan was referring to her former theology teacher, Maria Pollia, who has previously described her as a ‘remarkable student’ who was ‘very enthusiastic about the material, but always took it a step further’. 

Meghan also spoke to the students about their futures, saying: ‘You know that you’re going to rebuild, rebuild and rebuilt until it is rebuilt. 

‘Because when the foundation is broken, so are we. You are going to lead with love, you are going to lead with compassion, you are going to use your voice.’

She added that the students would ‘use your voice in a stronger way than you have ever been able to because most of you are 18 – or you’re going to turn 18 — so you’re going to vote’. 

Meghan also told them: ‘You are equipped, you are ready, we need you and you are prepared. I am so proud to call each of you a fellow alumni, and I’m so eager to see what you’re going to do.

‘Please know that I am cheering you on all along the way, I am exceptionally proud of you, and I’m wishing you a huge congratulations on today, the start of all the impact you’re going to make in the world as leaders that we all so deeply crave. Congratulations ladies, and thank you in advance.’