Meghan Markle Is Giving Up Her Career For Prince Harry. Does That Make Her a Bad Feminist?
On Monday, British royal Prince Harry and American actor Meghan Markle announced their engagement. By Tuesday, the couple had released details about the proposal (they were home, roasting a chicken) and their wedding plans (the date’s set for May and will take place at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, a “very special place” for the couple). At the same time, in an interview with BBC’s Mishal Husain, Markle confirmed rumors that she would not be returning to Suits, the TV show she starred in since 2011. When Husain asked the actor about giving up her career, Markle put a different spin on it. “I don’t see it as giving anything up,” she said. “I see it as a change. It’s a new chapter.”
Whether you call it a sacrifice or a change, the fact is that Markle plans to put her acting career on hold, leave her home country, and stop her work with the United Nations and other philanthropic organizations. In April, she shuttered her lifestyle blog, The Tig, which she’d run for three years. Once she ties the knot, Markle will transition “out of my career and into my new role” as the Duchess of Sussex, which means she will focus on “getting to know more about the different communities here and smaller organizations that are working on the same causes that I’ve always been passionate about,” she said in the BBC interview.
The decision to leave it all behind for a man may raise eyebrows among some feminists, who may be hoping that Markle’s track record at UN Women (where she served as an Advocate for Political Participation and Leadership), as well as her biracial heritage, will make her an important ally in the fight for British women’s equal pay and efforts to combat sexual harassment, which emerged as a serious issue in U.K. parliament last month.
But Markle’s choice to leave acting and move across the pond doesn’t necessarily signal that she’ll ignore those initiatives. For one thing, she played Rachel Zane on Suits for seven years—and sounds as if she’s more than ready to move on. “Once we hit the 100 episode marker, I thought to myself, I have ticked this box,” she said. And while she’s stepping away from UN Women, that doesn’t mean she’s abandoning her commitment to gender equality. In fact, with her now-global platform, she may actually be able to make a much bigger difference.
A version of this story first appeared in The Broadsheet, Fortune‘s daily newsletter for and about powerful women.