A week ago, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent hours volunteering with Homeboy Industries, an LA-based charity which works with ex-gang members, people who have been incarcerated and others. The charity is a lot like many other issues Meghan has long been attracted to: giving people second chances, community through food, teaching people job skills and more. People Magazine has a nice write-up on what happened behind-the-scenes of Harry and Meghan’s day at Homeboy Industries. She spoke perfect Spanish!
Meghan Markle put her Spanish-speaking skills to good use during a recent charity visit in L.A. On June 23, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex volunteered at Homeboy Industries —which supports people moving on after incarceration or gang involvement. The couple spent time making baked goods for the community and learned more about the group members. To the surprise of the room, Meghan, 38, also began speaking in Spanish with one of the participants.
“She spoke Spanish perfectly with one young woman,” Father Greg Boyle, the group’s founder, tells PEOPLE. “She just went right into Spanish, which was a revelation — and it was very good.” After double-majoring in theater and international Northwestern University, Meghan interned at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she learned Spanish.
Meghan and Harry “were completely engaged and very informal” during their visit, adds Boyle, who says the Duchess of Sussex called him shortly after the murder of George Floyd to connect and arrange a visit to come volunteer with Homeboy Industries. “She didn’t want to have a long-table discussion or presentation or even a tour,” he says. “They knew we pivoted our organization to help address food insecurity in the county and that was intriguing to her, so she said, ‘We want to come and put an apron on,’ and that’s what they did. It was quite wonderful.
They also wore wear masks, gloves and hairnets as they prepared croissants and other baked goods for those in need in the community.
“Meghan is quite good at it — and Harry probably less so!” Boyle shares. Meghan has a longstanding connection to Boyle, who has worked closely with her alma mater, Immaculate Heart High School. Meghan and her mom, Doria Ragland, joined Boyle for a cooking workshop with Homeboy almost 20 years ago. (“She remembers the tamale recipe she learned there to this day,” says a source.) “We were joking about that and she said, ‘I don’t even think Harry even had a tamale before!’ So maybe she will make it for him,” Boyle adds.
Meghan and Harry made sure to connect with each person in the room, both separately and together.
“A couple of times they’d be separated at one table or another, but then they’d always find their way to each other. It was just sweet,” says Boyle. “They seem to have a good time together. We all felt special that they chose to come to our place.”
“Meghan interned at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she learned Spanish” - I could be wrong, but I would assume Meghan probably had some Spanish skills before she even went to Argentina. That’s one thing about Angelenos: many of them pick up conversational Spanish as a way of life because there are so many native Spanish-speakers living in LA. Meghan grew up in LA and went to a private school in LA. My guess is that in addition to simply absorbing some Spanish-language skills from her environment, she probably took Spanish classes in high school! As for the rest of it – it must be killing those salty old farts in all of the palaces that Meghan and Harry are so happy and undramatic.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Homeboy Industries.