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Meghan Markle Facing Backlash Over Vogue Choices for 'Women She Admires', and Who She Left off the List

Meghan Markle served as guest editor for the September issue of British Vogue, with the Duchess of Sussex choosing 15 women she admires and placing them on the cover of the upcoming issue.

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The featured women include mental health campaigner and model Adwoa Aboah, former refugee and model Adut Akech, maternal health advocate and model Christy Turlington Burns, campaigner and actor Gemma Chan, LGBTQIA+ advocate, actor and producer Laverne Cox, actor and activist Jane Fonda, body positivity activist and actor Jameela Jamil, women’s rights advocate, actor and producer Salma Hayek Pinault, youth voting activist and actor Yara Shahidi, dancer and actor Francesca Hayward, author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, boxer Ramla Ali and diversity advocate and lecturer Sinead Burke.

The issue's cover depicts the women in a grid of black-and-white photos, with the 16th space shown as a mirror for the reader to reflect themselves "and encourage them to use their own platforms to effect change."

“These last seven months have been a rewarding process, curating and collaborating with Edward Enninful, British Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief, to take the year’s most-read fashion issue and steer its focus to the values, causes and people making impact in the world today,” Markle said in a statement, via PEOPLE. “Through this lens I hope you’ll feel the strength of the collective in the diverse selection of women chosen for the cover as well as the team of support I called upon within the issue to help bring this to light. I hope readers feel as inspired as I do, by the ‘Forces for Change’ they’ll find within these pages.”

While the 15 women chosen are all doing important work in their own right, Markle was criticized online for failing to include Queen Elizabeth II and for including Ardern, with some warning the new mom to stay out of politics as a member of the royal family.

"You have got to be quite careful, if you want a voice, that is great. That is perfect if you are not necessarily a member of the Royal Family," royal commentator Rob Jobson told Sky News, via the Daily Mail. "But, she has got to be very careful not to be partisan and I think that whilst you are using this for a force of good, you have just got to be a little bit careful on the politics side."

Markle collaborated with editor-in-chief Edward Enninful on the Forces for Change issue, and Enninful revealed that the Duchess was firm on the decision not to include herself on the cover.

“From the very beginning, we talked about the cover — whether she would be on it or not,” he said in a statement. “In the end, she felt that it would be in some ways a ‘boastful’ thing to do for this particular project. She wanted, instead, to focus on the women she admires.”

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In addition, the issue will feature an interview between Markle and former United States First Lady Michelle Obama and an interview between Prince Harry and conservationist Jane Goodall.

Photo Credit: Getty / Joe Maher/BFC