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Meghan Markle joined by unexpected guests at lavish New York event

The former Suits actress was also supported by her inner circle

The Duchess of Sussex speaks onstage during the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Awards
Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
17 May 2023
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Not only was the Duchess of Sussex joined by her husband Prince Harry and mum Doria Ragland, but she was also supported by some of her close friends Markus Anderson, Genevieve Hillis and Jill Smoller. 

On Tuesday night, Meghan was honoured at the Ms Foundation for Women's 50th-anniversary gala event in New York. The ceremony honoured "game-changing" grantee partners and visionary leaders committed to the organisation's mission of "advancing collective power and creating safe, just and equitable futures for women, girls, and gender-expansive people". 

WATCH: Meghan and Harry make very unusual entrance at Ms. Foundation Awards

The Duchess received the Ms Foundation's Women of Vision Award, recognising her "global advocacy to empower and advocate on behalf of women and girls". 

Meghan, 41, would have no doubt loved the support she received from her loved ones. During the event, she happily posed for photos with her husband and mum as well as some of her inner circle

Meghan and Genevieve go way back after meeting at Northwestern University. The lobbyist was also on hand to help organise the Duchess' baby shower in New York in 2019. 

Markus Anderson Genevieve Hillis and Jill Smoller© Getty
Markus Anderson, Genevieve Hillis and Jill Smoller seen with Meghan Markle

Meanwhile, Jill – who is an American sports agent and former professional tennis player and counts Allyson Felix and Serena Williams as some of her clients – was close enough to feature in the Netflix docuseries, Harry & Meghan, last year. 

In an explosive episode, Jill explained how she soaked up some Wimbledon tennis action with Meghan, just days before Meghan and Harry went on their first date. 

prince harry and meghan markle gold dress
Meghan and Prince Harry attended the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Awards together

Perhaps one of Meghan's most important friendships is with Markus, who was one of the few who helped keep her relationship with Prince Harry a secret. Markus, who is a consultant for Soho House Group, has been spotted with the former actress all over the globe, and was among the select guests at their royal wedding. 

At the gala, Meghan’s acceptance speech ended on a high. She said: "It's never too late to start. You can be the visionary of your own life… There is still so much work to be done. "I am a woman who remains inspired and driven by this organisation," she said, looking over Ms Steinem, who introduced her alongside current foundation chief executive Teresa Younger. 

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry© Getty
The couple seen leaving The Ziegfeld Theatre

"It allowed me to recognise that part of my greater value and purpose in life was to advocate for those who felt unheard, to stand up to injustice, and to not be afraid of saying what is true and what is just and what is right." 

Tuesday’s event marked the first public event that Harry and Meghan have attended together since the duke made the solo trip to the King’s coronation earlier this month. Meghan had opted to stay at their US home in Montecito, California, with their two children Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.

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