Meghan Markle and her baby bump step out for the year's first engagement hours after a super important royal announcement. Everything inside...
It's 2019, and the royal duties have commenced!
Meghan Markle stepped out for her first engagement of the year where she paid a visit to one of the four British charities she was announced as patron to just hours before. Yep, 4. It's unprecedented for a first year Royal to receive that many patron titles from the Queen.
Arriving at Smart Works HQ in west London, the Duchess of Sussex stepped out with the sophisticated drip. She covered her growing baby bump in a black Hatch midi dress, topped with a camel-colored Oscar de la Renta coat, and she accessorized her look with Kimai earrings with her hair pulled back into a low bun.
The soon-to-be mom, who will reportedly give birth in the spring, appeared to be in great spirits as she spoke with the women in Smart Works for her first official visit as patron. The organization - founded in 2013 - helps get "interview clothing" and provides "coaching to unemployed women with upcoming job interviews."
During her visit, the Duchess helped find outfits for women who were gearing up to go on job interviews, as well as sit in on interview coaching and preparation.
The Windsors are serious about lending their name and time to charities. They are currently patrons (or presidents) of more than 3,000 organizations and charities total. As a newbie in the royal family, Megan receiving her first four patronages represent an important step for her.
"Royal patronages add status to an organization, and visits and involvement from a royal patron can often bring much-needed publicity," according to their website.
Smart Works: The Duchess has met with many women who have benefited from the charity’s support.
@SmartWorksHQ helps long term unemployed and vulnerable women regain the skills, confidence and tools to succeed at job interviews, return to employment and transform their lives.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 10, 2019
The former "Suits" star accepted patronages that reflect her interests, including support for women, animal welfare, arts, and access to education. Along with Smart Works, she has accepted honorary roles with Mayhew (animal welfare organization), the National Theatre (arts), and the Association of Commonwealth Universities (education).
So yeah, you can see why this is a big deal.
In other news...
Meghan's family is BACK in the headlines. And for nothing good, of course.
The Duchess' 52-year-old hating half brother, Thomas Markle Jr., was arrested in Oregon this morning (Jan. 11th) for driving under the influence.
According to TMZ, the Oregon State Police stopped him at 1:33AM and booked him for impaired driving. He repotedly took a sobriety test and failed, blowing a 0.11 percent blood-alcohol content. Cops said he was visibly intoxicated as well.
The site reports:
Thomas -- the son of Meghan's father, Thomas Sr. -- was taken to the Grants Pass Sobering Center. His Chevy Silverado was impounded.
Thomas is estranged from Meghan. He sent a letter to Prince Harry in April in which he said, "It's not too late. Meghan Markle is obviously not the right woman for you."
Thomas' dad tells TMZ, "My son has a serious problem and he needs help, and I hope he gets it." Thomas Jr.'s sister, Samantha, tells TMZ, "His drinking is not related to Meghan. He always drank."
And Daddy Markle is right. This isn't his son's first run in with the law. Thomas Jr. was reportedly arrested in January 2017 for holding a gun to his then girlfriend's head during a drunken fight. Sheesh. Darlene Blount, Thomas' now fiancée, later dropped the charges.
Then in August 2018, Darlene was arrested on an assault charge in the fourth degree and Meghan's brother was involved. They both have supposedly quit drinking and have been going to counseling. They're hopeful the case will be dropped by February and they plan to celebrate by getting married in March.
This is the brother who wrote an "open letter" to Prince Harry, warning him that Meghan was "not the right woman" for him.
With family like this....