Meghan Markle celebrates 40th birthday with ’40×40′ initiative, video

Markle shared a video with actress Melissa McCarthy detailing her plans to give back to women who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic

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The Duchess of Sussex is ringing her milestone birthday in a big way. In a video on the Archewell website Wednesday, Meghan Markle celebrated her 40th birthday with the announcement of her 40×40 initiative.

As TheGrio has reported, it’s been a whirlwind year for Markle. With the bombshell interview with her, Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey sparking major conversations about race, the royal family, and the right to privacy, she and her husband Harry are establishing themselves as advocates for mental health and education.

The former royal shared her own battle with mental health while dealing with the mistreatment she says she met with from the Firm, the name applied to the royal family and its various handlers.

“Look, I was really ashamed to say it at the time and ashamed to have to admit it to Harry, especially, because I know how much loss he has suffered, but I knew that if I didn’t say it, then I would do it,” Meghan told Winfrey during their interview. “I just didn’t want to be alive anymore.”

Meghan Markle
(Credit: Archewell)

Through their Archewell foundation, various charity work, and more, the royal couple has been slowly rolling out their plans, and this week is no exception.

In a video with actress Melissa McCarthy, Markle reveals her big birthday plans, while shooting down McCarthy’s various ideas, including matching tattoos and more “photoshoots under a tree.”

She shares, “Because I am turning 40, I am 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 women in the U.S. alone and tens of millions around the world have lost their jobs due to COVID. I think if we all do it, and all commit 40 minutes to some kind of act of service, it can create a ripple effect.”

McCarthy, of course, agrees to participate, before the video reveals bloopers with the comedian and Markle (and even a surprise cameo from Prince Harry himself).

Oprah Meghan Markle Prince Harry
Oprah Winfrey interviews Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for a special on CBS that aired on March 7, 2021. (Photo by Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese via Getty Images)

Markle also shared an official statement on the Archewell site, in which she explains, “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 continues, “Amongst the most valuable gifts of time is also time spent in service to others knowing that it can contribute to incredible change. To that last point, and with my 40th lap around the sun in mind, it made me wonder: what would happen if we all committed 40 minutes to helping someone else or to mentoring someone in need? And then what would happen if we asked our friends to do the same?”

Stacey Abrams, Ciara, Gabrielle Union, and Ayesha Curry are just a few of the heavy hitters who have lent their support to the initiative.

“I’m donating 40 minutes of mentorship to a woman reentering the workforce. Commit 40 minutes to service or mentorship today, and we can help ignite a wave of change,” Abrams captioned a video she posted to Twitter.

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