Meghan Markle has been out of the spotlight ever since the birth of her daughter, Lili, in June. But on August 4, she turns 40 and she’s celebrating by announcing 40X40, a new Archewell charitable campaign promoting mentorship for women who are trying to get back into the workforce after COVID. Meghan shared the details of the program in a funny video where her friend, actor Melissa McCarthy, dons an array of different hats.
“It’s my 40th birthday, and I’ve got an idea,” Meghan says, sitting behind a desk, while her beagle Guy snoozes by the fireplace. After a few suggestions from McCarthy—a photoshoot under a tree, matching tattoos, a yacht party, and a Suits reunion—Meghan shares what she had in mind. “Because I’m turning 40, I’m asking 40 friends to donate 40 minutes of their time to help mentor a woman who is mobilizing back into the workforce. Over two million in the U.S. alone and tens of millions around the world have lost their jobs due to COVID. And I think if we all do it, and all commit to some sort of service, we can create a ripple effect.”
“Yes times forty,” McCarthy responds. “Is it okay if I still do it in the hat?”
In a statement, a spokesperson for Meghan said that she asked a list of world leaders, artists, activists, and athletes to participate, including Adele, Amanda Gorman, Ibram X. Kendi, Gloria Steinem, José Andrés, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, and Stella McCartney.
Meghan shared more details about the program in a letter on the Archewell website. “In reflecting on my 40th birthday and the many things I am grateful for, I’m struck that time is among our greatest and most essential gifts: Time with our loved ones, time doing the things we love, time spent learning, laughing, growing, and the sacred time we have on this earth,” she writes. “Amongst the most valuable gifts of time is also time spent in service to others knowing that it can contribute to incredible change.” The website also features a mentorship pledge.
On social media, the rest of the royals celebrated her milestone with photographs taken during some of her best moments as a working royal. Kate Middleton and Prince William shared a photo of Meghan during her 2018 tour of the South Pacific along with a birthday cake emoji, while the Royal Family account shared a few family photos, including one of Meghan with Prince Harry and Archie during their visit to South Africa in 2019.
On Twitter, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall celebrated Meghan and added another message in honor of the Queen Mother, who was born on August 4, 1900.