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Meghan Markle joins forces with Brooke Shields and Katie Couric for SXSW Festival on IWD

The Duchess of Sussex will be part of the keynote panel at the annual festival 

Meghan Markle
Hanna Fillingham
US Managing Editor
March 4, 2024
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The Duchess of Sussex will be stepping out on International Women's Day alongside a host of famous faces, and for a very important cause. 

Meghan Markle has been named as one of the keynote panellists at the South by Southwest (SXSW) series of festivals and conferences taking place from March 8-16 in Austin, Texas. 

SXSW celebrates the convergence of technology, film, television and music, and on International Women's Day, Meghan, along with Brooke Shields, Katie Couric, Errin Haines and Nancy Wang Yuen, will be making up the panel for a talk titled "Breaking Barriers, Shaping Narratives: How Women Lead On and Off the Screen". 

"Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, Katie Couric, Brooke Shields, Nancy Wang Yuen, and Errin Haines are the perfect finishing touch to eight days of remarkable Keynote Speakers," said Hugh Forrest, Co-President and Chief Programming Officer. 

"We are so honored to host this distinguished group on International Women’s Day for a significant discussion on the importance of representation in media and entertainment." 

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attends day two of the Invictus Games 2020 © getty
Meghan Markle is one of the named keynote speakers at this year's SXSW festival

The panel have been selected because they all champion human rights and gender equality. 

The Duchess is in great company, with Emmy award-winning journalist Katie, Erin, host of The Amendment podcast and founding Mother and Editor-at-Large for The 19th News, Brooke - who is a two-time Golden Globe award-nominee and author, sociologist, pop culture expert, and last but not least, Nancy, who is a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consultant at Peoplism. 

Katie Couric is also one of the speakers at the annual event © Jamie McCarthy
Katie Couric is also one of the speakers at the annual event

SXSW was founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, and dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Its conference and festivals celebrate the convergence of tech, film and television, music, education, and culture. 

It's been a busy time for Meghan, who recently returned home to California after a whirlwind trip to Canada for the Invictus Games Vancouver Whistler 2025's One Year to Go celebrations. 

Brooke Shields is also taking part © Michael Loccisano
Brooke Shields is also taking part

She was joined by her husband, Prince Harry, while their two young children, Archie and Lilibet, stayed behind in the US. 

The Sussexes have also been busy with their new website,, which was launched several weeks ago. 

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry sitting together and laughing© Mike Coppola
Meghan and Prince Harry are both passionate about their work

As well as linking to their Archewell Foundation and Archewell Productions, the site links back to the controversial Sussex Royal website that the couple launched to coincide with their announcement of their decision to step back as senior working royals in 2020. 

HELLO! understands the site is linked to as a cultural and historical reference and separate to the new website. It is thought the Duke and Duchess will also use the new site as a platform for personal and official updates, such as the pair's recent trip to Vancouver, which the pair visited ahead of the Invictus Games, which will be held in the Canadian city in 2025.

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