Yes, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is now wearing one-of-a-kind Givenchy wedding dresses and priceless jewelry from the British royal vaults. But once upon a time, she was just a regular American girl, working her way through university.
That’s the side she talked about during an appearance at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. On hand to announce two new grants, she opened up about her own college experience: “From the moment you receive your acceptance letter to the exams you spend countless late nights studying for, the lifelong friendships you make with your fellow alumni to the moment that you receive your diploma, the journey of higher education is an incredible, impactful, and pivotal one. I am also fully aware of the challenges of being able to afford this level of schooling for many people around the world, myself included,” she said, “It was through scholarships, financial aid programs, and work-study—where my earnings from a job on campus went directly towards my tuition—that I was able to attend university. And without question, it was worth every effort.”
Despite their extraordinary lives, there’s often a concerted effort to relate to the royals on a personal level. That’s why people love when Queen Elizabeth II takes public transit, when Prince William and Kate Middleton look goofy in hard hats, or when we learn that they love Game of Thrones. But Meghan, more so than other royals in recent history, is relatable in a way that’s not a stretch. She grew up in a relatively middle-class neighborhood in Los Angeles. She worked many unglamorous jobs to make ends meet. And like so many people across the United Kingdom and the United States, she relied on financial aid programs to get through higher education.
As America’s student loan crisis gets worse, with rates increasing and many graduates unable to pay, it’s refreshing to see that the Duchess of Sussex is not only aware of the issue, but she has a personal understanding of it. And she wants to see change happen, as she said in her speech: ”Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive the education they want but, more importantly, the education they have the right to receive.”