Meghan Markle Opens up About Returning to US Amid Black Lives Matter Protests: 'Just Devastating'

Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, returned to Los Angeles amid the coronavirus pandemic and the national Black Lives Matter protests. Although it was "just devastating" to come back home in the middle of another wave of protests against racism, the former Suits star said she has found inspiration in response to George Floyd's death in Minneapolis. During a conversation with The 19th* CEO Emily Ramshaw, Markle said it was still "good to be home" after almost ten years abroad.

Markle lived in Toronto for seven years while filming the USA Network's legal drama Suits, then lived in the U.K. following her marriage to Prince Harry in May 2018. The couple recently moved to Los Angeles, where Markle was born, after taking a step back from their royal duties. Markle's conversation with Ramshaw was her first interview since she returned to the U.S. in March.

"It was so sad to see where our country was in that moment," Markle said, as she came back just before Floyd and Breonna Taylor were killed by police officers and two White men allegedly killed Ahmaud Arbery. "If there’s any silver lining in that, I would say that in the weeks after the murder of George Floyd, in the peaceful protests that you were seeing, in the voices that were coming out, in the way that people were actually owning their role … it shifted from sadness to a feeling of absolute inspiration, because I can see that the tide is turning."

Markle said it was "not new" for her to see the "undercurrent of racism and certainly unconscious bias" and she is excited to be a part of the change that is happening. Now that she is home, she is looking forward to "using my voice in a way that I haven’t been able to of late," Markle said. Later in the conversation, Markle noted how important it is for people to vote.

"When I have these conversations about encouraging people to go out and vote, I think it's often challenging for men and women alike, and certainly for people, to remember just how hard it was to get the right to vote. And to be really aware and not taking that for granted," the actress said. Markle noted that Prince Harry was not allowed to vote, and getting to vote is a right, not a privilege. "It is a right in and of itself," Markle explained. "I really do hope what you're able to encourage and what we're able to see happen through The 19th* over the course of the next few months is that women understand that their voices are needed now more than ever, and the best way to exercise that is through voting."