Meghan Markle urges kids to ‘stand up for your rights’ in last speech as royal

Meghan Markle urged schoolchildren to "stand up for your rights" in her final speech before she steps back as a senior member of the Royal Family .

The Duchess of Sussex spoke with pupils at Robert Clack Upper School in Dagenham, east London, on Saturday and told them to "fight for what they believe in".

Her comments have been seen as a signal to the Palace as they echo her own battle to quit the Royal Family.

Meghan, 38, delivered the speech to mark International Women's Day and met one of the women who fought an historic equal pay battle in the nearby Ford car plant.

Addressing the audience of 700 pupils, she said: "No matter how low you may feel on the ladder or the totem pole…you certainly have the right to speak up for what is right."

Here is Meghan Markle's final speech as a senior in full

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"Good afternoon, everybody. I thought you knew I was coming so I'm sorry for the surprise.

"It is such an honour for me to be here today.

"When we thought about what I wanted to do for International Women's Day this year, for me it was incredibly important to be with the women of our future.

"And that is all of you young women here, as well as you young men who play a very large part in this.

"I think specifically coming to your school made a lot of sense for me because of this social justice and the impact that it's rooted in.

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"Your school mantra as you all know is excellence for all, excellence from all, right. So if that's the case, how does that apply in your minds do you think to International Women's Day?

"I think in many ways it's very much the same thing isn't it, the idea of excellence for all and from all, equality for all and from all.

"Before I continue I'm going to go off the cuff here because I do think what's really key is if there's one brave young man in this room who wants to come and say what he thinks the importance of International Women's Day is, I know there's going to be one of you."

Meghan picked a volunteer from the audience, 16-year-old Aker Okoye, who discussed the importance of men supporting International Women's Day – after first saying the duchess is "beautiful".

Afterwards, Meghan continued: "Well done, very well said, and incredible confidence, don't you all agree?

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"I think that is the point, right? In many societies, it doesn't matter where you are, it's very easy to sometimes compartmentalise or silo this idea of International Women's Day solely being about women – but it's not, it's about all of us.

"So I think what you said is incredibly important for all of us to remember, not just on Sunday, not just on International Women's Day, but every day to remember the value that we all bring to the table.

"And I think being able to be in Dagenham is incredibly profound because as you can see with Geraldine (Dear) and the other women who had the strength to really stand up for something that they knew needed to be done is the best example of no matter how small you might feel, how low you may feel on the ladder or the totem pole, no matter what colour you are, no matter what gender you are, you have a voice and you certainly have the right to speak up for what is right.

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"And I think what's really key for all of you to remember is especially looking at the people who have paved the way for you to get to this point in your lives and be able to have the access that you do, it's not just an opportunity to continue that, it's a responsibility.

"So I just encourage and empower each of you to really stand in your truth, to stand for what is right, to continue to respect each other, for you young men to continue to value and appreciate the women in your lives and also set the example for some men who are not seeing it that same way.

"You have your mothers, sisters, girlfriends, friends in your life, protect them.

"Make sure that they are feeling valued and safe and let's all just rally together to make International Women's Day something that is not just on Sunday, but frankly feels like every day of the year.

"So thank you so much for having me, it's really a privilege to be here, thank you."

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