Duchess of Sussex breaks maternity leave for Smart Works launch [Video]

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Meghan Markle has resumed her official royal duties, following her maternity leave.

The Duchess of Sussex, 38, has today carried out her first engagement since Archie Harrison was born on 6 May 2019: the launch of her clothing collaboration with charity Smart Works, at John Lewis in London.

Her official duties were paused for six months of maternity leave on 19 March, following a visit to New Zealand House to sign a book of condolence following the terror attack at Christchurch on the same day.

READ MORE: Meghan Markle’s Smart Works line has dropped

The Duchess spoke about her capsule collection, created in collaboration with Smart Works in partnership with leading British fashion labels Jigsaw, John Lewis & Partners and Marks & Spencer. America-based, Bahrain-born fashion designer Misha Nonoo is also a key collaborator.

Meghan Markle arrives at the Smart Works launch. [Photo: Getty]

The line launched earlier today and includes a dress under £20.

For the event, she wore two pieces from her own collection: the Misha Nonoo shirt and the Jigsaw trousers, paired with a belt by Ralph Lauren.

She told crowds that she was looking to “transform the idea of charity to community”, and too help women be part of other women’s “success stories”.

“The way that we do that as a woman is we go into our closet and say, ‘I’m going to make a donation,’” she explained. “You don’t just go into your closet and toss into a box what you don’t care about anymore.

READ MORE: Meghan wears two pieces from her new charity line at launch

She added: “It’s going into your closet and saying, ‘This is the blazer that I wore when I nailed my first job interview and got my first job and I don’t need that anymore because I’m where I want to be.’

“If you can share that blazer and be part of another woman’s success story, that’s community.”

READ MORE: Everything we know about Meghan Markle’s Smart Works womenswear line

Earlier today, the Duchess shared behind-the-scenes photographs of her dropping in on her Smart Works clients during a photoshoot for the capsule collection, to the Sussex Royal Instagram page.

While this is the Duchess’ first official engagement since Archie’s birth, she has made a number of public appearances since introducing baby Archie to the world in Windsor Castle on 8 May.

Following the photo call, she was first seen at the Trooping The Colour parade on 8 June, a key annual engagement for the Royal Family.

She was present to watch Prince Harry play in the King Power Royal Charity Polo Match in Wokingham, UK, on 10 July, and shortly afterwards at Wimbledon alongside the Duchess of Cambridge on 13 July.

Meghan Markle has made five public appearances since giving birth to Archie. From left, pictured at the US Open; ‘The Lion King’ premiere; watching Harry at the Polo; Wimbledon; and the Trooping the Colour. [Photo: Getty]

The next day, on 14 July, she attended the ‘The Lion King’ premiere in London alongside Prince Harry.

Last week, she flew to New York to support her friend, tennis player Serena Williams, at the US Open Championships on September 7.

The Duchess has also been involved in the running of the Sussex Royal Instagram account, according to reports.

How does Meghan Markle’s maternity leave compare to the Duchess of Cambridges?

The Duchess of Cambridge took maternity leaves of varying lengths for the births of her three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

With Prince George, she took barely over two months off work – making her final public appearance on 15 June 2013 before Prince George’s birth on 22 July, and returning for an engagement on 20 August.

With Princess Charlotte, who was born on 2 May 2015, Duchess Kate completed her last engagement on 27 March 2015, before returning to work on September 2015.

READ MORE: Why Meghan Markle left herself off the British Vogue cover she guest-edited

Meanwhile, she took a little longer after the birth of her third child, Prince Louis, born on 23 April 2018. She had her last engagement on 22 March, returning to work on 2 October last year.

“It is traditional for new royal mums to take a six-month break from official engagements,” royal biographer Duncan Larcombe told Harper’s Bazaar in 2018.

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