Meghan Markle Had One Strict Rule for British Vogue Cover Shoot

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, had very specific instructions for the September 2019 issue of British Vogue, titled “Forces of Change,” which she guest-edited. Keep reading to learn the rule she gave the photographer for the magazine’s cover shoot. 

In an Instagram post, the Duchess of Sussex revealed the cover of British Vogue she guest-edited, saying she had been working on the issue for seven months. 

The issue features an interview Markle conducted with former First Lady Michelle Obama, a conversation between Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Dr. Jane Goodall, and articles written by Brené Brown, Jameela Jamil, and others.  

Meghan Markle, Patron of Smart Works, in the workroom of the Smart Works London office.
This undated handout photo issued on July 28, 2019, by Kensington Palace shows Britain’s Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Patron of Smart Works, in the workroom of the Smart Works London office. – Prince Harry’s wife Meghan will guest edit the September issue of iconic fashion magazine British Vogue, which will see her in “candid conversation” with former first lady Michelle Obama. | @SUSSEXROYAL/AFP/Getty Images

Women featured on the cover are as follows:

  • Adwoa Aboah
  • Adut Akech
  • Ramla Ali
  • Jacinda Ardern
  • Sinéad Burke
  • Gemma Chan
  • Laverne Cox
  • Salma Hayek
  • Francesca Hayward
  • Jameela Jamil
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Yara Shahidi
  • Greta Thunberg
  • Christy Turlington

In addition to the fifteen women who appear on the cover, there’s a blank space on the cover — a mirror — which “was included so that when you hold the issue in your hands, you see yourself as part of this collective,” an Instagram post by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex read. 

Markle called the experience “rewarding, educational, and inspiring,” in the caption. 

Cover of September 2019 British Vogue. |Duke and Duchess of Sussex via Instagram

Peter Lindbergh reveals Meghan Markle’s one condition for photoshoot

Hand-picked by Meghan Markle and Edward Enninful, the Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue, photographer Peter Lindbergh told the publication the condition Markle gave him about the cover shoot. 

Lindbergh, who took portraits of 15 women in London and New York-based studios, revealed what directions Markle gave him prior to the photoshoots. 

Snapshots from photo shoots for September issue of British Vogue. | Peter Lindbergh via Instagram

“My instructions from the Duchess were clear: ‘I want to see freckles!’” Lindbergh told British Vogue over the phone the day of the New York photo shoot. “Well, that was like running through open doors for me. I love freckles,” he added. 

Removing freckles is Meghan Markle’s “pet peeve,” she told Allure in a 2017 interview. “To this day, my pet peeve is when my skin tone is changed and my freckles are airbrushed out of a photo shoot.

Why Markle and Enninful chose Lindbergh to photograph cover stars

The 74-year-old famed photographer’s attitude toward freckles is why Markle and Enninful chose him for the job. Enninful explained how he and Markle settled on Lindbergh. 

“It was one of those brilliantly spontaneous moments when HRH The Duchess of Sussex and I had exactly the same idea at exactly the same time,” Enninful, who co-edited the issue with Markle, told the publication. “Peter sees beauty in real people, in real situations. He makes everybody feel their best.” 

British Vogue reveals the question Markle posed to cover stars. | British Vogue via Instagram

Lindbergh emphasized his feelings toward natural beauty. 

“I hate retouching, I hate make-up. I always say, “Take the make-up off!” he told the magazine. 

“The number of beautiful women who have asked me to lengthen their legs or move their eyes further apart…You would not believe. It’s a culture of madness.”

Why Meghan Markle isn’t on the cover of British Vogue

One might expect to see the Duchess of Sussex on the cover of the issue she co-edited. However, that’s not the case. Enninful explained why Markle chose not to appear on the cover

“As you will see from her selections throughout this magazine, she is also willing to wade into more complex and nuanced areas, whether they concern female empowerment, mental health, race or privilege. From the very beginning, we talked about the cover — whether she would be on it or not. 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.” 

Edward Enninful on why Meghan Markle didn’t appear on the cover of British Vogue.

The September 2019 issue of British Vogue will be available Friday.