Did Meghan Markle Copy the Vogue Cover She Guest-Edited From a Book She Helped Produce?

The world has finally gotten a glance at the upcoming September issue of British Vogue that Meghan Markle guest-edited. The issue is titled Forces for Change and features more than a dozen influential women who are “raising the bar for equality, kindness, justice, and open-mindedness.”

While many have praised the cover, other readers have called out the Duchess of Sussex. They’re accusing her of copying the best-selling book The Game Changers by Samantha Brett and Steph Adams, for which she penned an essay in 2016. Oof.

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle | Photo by Karwai Tang/Getty Images

A closer look at the similarities

Let’s start with the Vogue cover. If you haven’t seen it, the cover uses a grid format with black-and-white photos of 15 women, including a variety of celebrities, activists, and politicians.

They include New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, LGBTQ advocate and actress Laverne Cox, boxer Ramla Ali, and novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The issue also features an interview between Markle and former first lady Michelle Obama.

View this post on Instagram

We are proud to announce that Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Sussex is the Guest Editor for the September issue of @BritishVogue. For the past seven months, The Duchess has curated the content with British Vogue's Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful to create an issue that highlights the power of the collective. They have named the issue: “Forces for Change” For the cover, The Duchess chose a diverse selection of women from all walks of life, each driving impact and raising the bar for equality, kindness, justice and open mindedness. The sixteenth space on the cover, a mirror, was included so that when you hold the issue in your hands, you see yourself as part of this collective. The women on the cover include: @AdwoaAboah @AdutAkech @SomaliBoxer @JacindaArdern @TheSineadBurke @Gemma_Chan @LaverneCox @JaneFonda @SalmaHayek @FrankieGoesToHayward @JameelaJamilOfficial @Chimamanda_Adichie @YaraShahidi @GretaThunberg @CTurlington We are excited to announce that within the issue you’ll find: an exclusive interview between The Duchess and former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, a candid conversation between The Duke of Sussex and Dr Jane Goodall, inspirational articles written by Brené Brown, Jameela Jamil and many others. Equally, you’ll find grassroots organisations and incredible trailblazers working tirelessly behind the scenes to change the world for the better. “Guest Editing the September issue of British Vogue has been rewarding, educational and inspiring. To deep dive into this process, working quietly behind the scenes for so many months, I am happy to now be able to share what we have created. A huge thanks to all of the friends who supported me in this endeavour, lending their time and energy to help within these pages and on the cover. Thank you for saying “Yes!” – and to Edward, thank you for this wonderful opportunity.” – The Duchess of Sussex #ForcesForChange

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on

The cover of The Game Changers, on the other hand, has a similar format. It also uses a black-and-white photo grid. Markle wrote an essay for the book, which offers “success secrets from 40 women at the top, roughly three years before guest-editing British Vogue’s upcoming issue.

Brett offered some thoughts on the matter to The Daily Mail, saying she was stunned by the cover. “It’s obviously very flattering; she obviously likes our concept. I love Meghan and am a huge fan, but if what people are alerting us to is true, then it’s extremely disappointing,” she said.

While there may be some vague similarities here, people have used black-and-white photo grids time after time. And besides, there are more important things to focus on here, like all the women both publications highlighted. Right?

Why is there a blank spot on the British Vogue cover?

The 16th spot on the cover is actually a mirror to “include the reader and encourage them to use their own platforms to effect change.” The Instagram account for the Sussexes shared a statement that echoes that. It says the spot “was included so that when you hold the issue in your hands, you see yourself as part of this collective.”

Some people guessed that the duchess would get a spot on the cover, but she reportedly didn’t like the idea. “From the very beginning, we talked about the cover — whether she would be on it or not,” Edward Enninful, the editor-in-chief of British Vogue, said in a statement shared with People.

“In the end, she felt that it would be in some ways a ‘boastful’ thing to do for this particular project,” he explained of the duchess, who became “the first guest editor of the September issue in the magazine’s 103-year history.”

Instead, she wanted to focus on other women making a difference in the world.

Enninful went on to say that Markle wanted to focus on the women she “admires.” Markle herself opened up on her choices in a statement shared with People.

“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.

“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,” she continued.

Readers will be able to pick up a copy of the issue on Aug. 2, so you can get a closer look at it then.