Duchess Meghan spoke ‘perfect Spanish’ during the visit to Homeboy Industries

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex at the US Open Tennis

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.”

[From People]

“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.

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Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Homeboy Industries.

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68 Responses to “Duchess Meghan spoke ‘perfect Spanish’ during the visit to Homeboy Industries”

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  1. CuteLittleHappyThing says:

    She is just goals!

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Love it!

  3. Becks1 says:

    My guess is not only did she know Spanish before going to Argentina (maybe not fluently, but at least a solid base) but that she has also been doing things to keep up with her Spanish. I was a Spanish major in college and studied abroad in Spain and considered myself fluent by the end of college, but I have really lost it at this point. Reading it is easier for me, because I can take my time, but if I listen to people talk in Spanish I can only understand maybe…..25% 30%? Maybe Meghan is better with languages than me, lol, but I’m assuming she has made an active effort to stay proficient in it.

    • MaryContrary says:

      Coming on to say the same thing. Reading is definitely easier. Good for her-maybe she’s been brushing up on it since they’ve been home-lots of time for Duolingo ;)

    • Love says:

      Yeah, I bet she definitely makes effort to stay fluent… I saw a video of her and Louis Litt (forgot his name) on Twitter, speaking Spanish for a Suits skit or parody. It was funny 😊

    • Livvers says:

      Also I think in Canada at least, and probably the US(?), most International Studies and International Business undergrad degrees have a language requirement. So depending on how much she learned in highschool, she might have placed into a higher difficulty level Spanish class at uni.

      • HeatherC says:

        In my normal public high school, a second language was required for a high school diploma, I graduated just a few years ahead of Meghan in NY. I took Spanish and kept it up in college. I traveled and was nearly fluent, then I settled down and I’ve lost my ability to listen but not my ability to read. I can speak it but I unfortunately have to think a bit first and it’s not as smooth and fast as it once was. I have been meaning to pick it up again.

    • morrigan01 says:

      Most people who are born and raised in California take Spanish as their language elective. Because it’s a requirement that you have to take at least 2 years of a foreign language when you are in High School. (At least, that was the rule back in the 1990s, which is when Meghan was in HS out here). I myself took Spanish for 3 years in HS. Given the large latinx population in the state, it’s just practical to honestly.

  4. Mindy_Dopple says:

    I know we shouldn’t care or speculate but I did zoom in to how the apron falls on her. I wish them nothing but happiness and all the saltiness to the Cams and Mids.

    • Betsy says:

      Ha! So did I, although I too choose not to speculate and just let them have their happiness.

  5. Nicole says:

    I love this story. I got nuthin else. I’m not saying this girl is a saint, you don’t get into TV without being cynical, cagey, and political. But it might just be that she’s not this a$$hole gold digger that the British press is making her out to be. This LA kid is proud that one of our own has turned out so well. And it’s true, if you grew up here, you have some basic Spanish
    under your belt, if for no other reason to get the best tacos. :)

    • Alexandria says:

      Nobody has declared her or Angelina saints but their detractors keep saying that. They just can’t handle women loving capable women or think we just support all women blindly. But no! We don’t want unintelligent, misinformed, privileged, remorseless, uncompassionate women like Ivanka or Kellyanne.

  6. Swack says:

    Some how her ability to converse in Spanish is not surprising. Also, didn’t she work with this charity when she was a teen and therefore pickup some Spanish there? I could be wrong.

  7. Rumiseyelash says:

    I feel like Lizzos truth hurts should be playing on a loop at the palace of petty Liz. You literally could have had a bad bitch. Isnt this what those stuffy, out of touch royals needed? But racism wont let them be great, so ha! Stick to putting a bow on lazy Kate and whatever colorless and boring princess they can find.

  8. aang says:

    I’m sure Meghan speaks great Spanish. I wish everyone was bilingual, or more. As an ESL teacher I hate the phrase “speaks perfect – insert language”. No one speaks any language, even the best educated native speaker, perfectly and “perfect” speech is usually a class signifier that gives “perfectness” to the language spoken by the well educated and wealthy. It can be discouraging to new arrivals or second language learners to be expected to gain “perfection”. And a language as diverse as Spanish will definitely have various dialects. If you can communicate and make your thoughts understood you are doing great in your L2, and the more you practice the better you will get. No one is perfect.

    • Original Jenns says:

      I love that you said this. I am older but really want to pick up a second language that people I know are fluent in. The problem with going to them for help or being open about it is that every time they hear someone on TV speaking it, they judge the accent used, or proclaim they are obviously not spanish speakers, they are from this country using these words, etc etc. Very snobby. So I try to pick up a little at a time secretly.

      I love hearing that Meghan speaks it and has kept it up! I hope she’s teaching Archie, too. It’s been out of the spotlight lately, but our country has a real problem hating on Latino people (Mexicans in particular) because “illegal”, so I love this embrace and public display of the language.

      • GR says:

        @jenns – what you said. I have always felt so ignorant speaking only one language, but I also dread endlessly embarrassing myself while I’m learning.

      • Jane's Wasted Talent says:

        ‘The problem with going to them for help or being open about it is that every time they hear someone on TV speaking it, they judge the accent used, or proclaim they are obviously not spanish speakers, they are from this country using these words, etc etc.’

        I can see how this would make approaching them intimidating, but what if you were to just compliment the language on its beauty and say that you’d love to speak it too? If they are in any degree pleasant people, I would think they would support you. Personally, I would even stress how nervous I was about my ability to learn well enough, and if they were receptive, ask for advice on good sources to use. If they have good hearts, this should go a long way toward them treating your mistakes with kindness, or at least forbearance.

        My friends who’ve immigrated here say similar things as yours about their native languages being spoken poorly in movies, on television, etc. To me that just makes sense though- inaccuracies are irritating, and ruin your suspension of disbelief. I guess some of my friends are snobby too, but in a fun, clubby way, and would never be nasty about someone sincerely trying to learn.

      • Virginia says:

        Viggo Mortensen speaks fluently Spanish with argentinian accent, l don’t judge him for the accent because l understand perfectly what he is saying. The point is that Meghan makes the effort to communicate with people and that is something truly remarkable! I adore her for that.

    • lucy2 says:

      Well said!

      And so right about Spanish. I knew a decent amount, took it in junior high through high school, and my last year of it the teacher only spoke to us in Spanish, which makes you learn pretty quick. Then in college I went to Barcelona, and couldn’t understand a word anyone said! The dialect is so different to what I learned.

      • Genessee says:

        LOL. I’m Hispanic, have spoken Spanish my whole life, studied for several summers in South America, and STILL have problems understanding Spaniards.

        One does not rely on Spaniards to learn to speak Spanish properly.

        Sames goes for Argentina. Megan speaks the Spanish she learned well, but her slight Argentinean accent drives me nuts.

    • NatureLover says:

      Yes, the dialect in Argentina is much different in other countries. I lived in Argentina for 6 months and was pretty proficient once I returned home. I had to come home due to the Balklands incident. The Spanish in Argentina is rooted from Spain, where as all other Spanish speaking countries have their own dialect. But I no longer speak it as my father passed away many, many moons ago, so I have lost it. But when I returned to the states, I would think of my response in Spanish first. It was wild!

  9. Harla says:

    My woman crush!!

  10. S808 says:

    I wish she could’ve met Queen Letizia. I’d kill to sit in on a convo even if I couldn’t understand a word of it.

    • MissMarierose says:

      I’m sure they could switch back and forth easily. Letizia used to work in DC as a journalist.

    • Humbugged says:

      Or Maxima who speaks with the same accent that Meghan has

    • Jane's Wasted Talent says:

      We don’t have to count it out- who knows what the future holds for Meghan and Harry? I’m sure their charities will have a global impact someday, if not from the beginning.

  11. Giggles says:

    *Chef’s kiss* I friggin love this woman.

  12. yinyang says:

    Wow can’t imagine the “favourite” princess putting a mask and hairnet on for a minute, with jeans and a top… she won’t stand out…oh my, going unnoticed, the horror.

  13. Virginia says:

    Wow – US Embassy / international experience?! Another one of the million ways it’s clear that the monarchy totally shit the bed on the Sussexes. She would have been an amazing asset!!

  14. Seraphina says:

    I think the bottom line is that no matter how great Meghan is and how much she’d add to the BRF, they just don’t want it. No matter how much sense it makes to us, they want someone like Kate. Let’s not even go with how great it is to have a married couple in love doing charity work. I think Harry and Meghan realized this and thus walked away. Who knows what may happen if Charles ever becomes king, but for now the BRF has made their bed and they should lay on it.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      @Seraphina – So correct. The BRF wanted another Katebot. No wonder Chelsey & Cressida hit the road.

  15. loba says:

    So the thing is,a whole whole lot of people speak Spanish. I mean good on her but this isn’t surprising. And yes, I am a Meghan fan. I just frown at how monolingual the US can be.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      @loba – The point is that probably no one else in the BRF speaks Spanish and neither Kate, William or Harry are bilingual if my research is correct.

      QEII, Phillip, Future Charles III and The Princess Royal speak rather fluent French if I remember correctly.

      Also when it comes to Philip I believe it is German, French and Danish.

      • Nic919 says:

        BTB Kate is barely comprehensible in her only language of English.

      • loba says:

        Okay then the writers (not at Celebitchy–of the original piece!) were quite lazy in not bothering to look up the number of Spanish speakers in the States, particularly in Southern California.

      • CJ says:

        I was thinking just this @BayTampaBay! Charles speaks French and Welsh to my knowledge, and Phillip is multilingual.

        Not sure about the rest of them – if William or Kate cracked out a speech in another language I might just have a bit more time for them. Do we even know if William has tried Welsh, being as he will assumedly be POW at some point??

      • CuriousCole says:

        @Bay Lol, Kate can barely speak faux-posh English. I don’t see her ever attempting another language.

      • Jane's Wasted Talent says:

        Cole- I love your faux-posh/faux-pas allusion in regards to Kate- it’s really perfect.

        Bay- Considering their insularity, isn’t French the only ‘acceptable’ language? Good for Charles, learning Welsh. It’s silly, but I can’t help but root for him.

      • RoyalBlue says:

        @bay i remember seeing just in the past couple years a video released of charles and william speaking farsi. i am not sure if that meant they were fluent in it or whether they were reading their cue cards correctly. in addition to that, i also seem to think they had some knowledge of spanish too. i believe they hired a spanish nanny to ensure the children are raised bilingual.

        i’d imagine when Meghan met nanny Maria she spoke with her in spanish, thus sending Cain into incandescent rage as per usual.

      • notasugarhere says:

        Charles has some French and Welsh, is said to be studying Arabic. William is monolingual.

  16. Lady D says:

    Wasn’t it just yesterday when a poster was mocking her Spanish speaking skills. Called it something along the lines of slang Italian?

    • Sof says:

      I dont know which comment you are referring to, but the Spanish spoken in Argentina has nothing to do with the Spanish tought at schools. Particularly in Buenos Aires, where it’s been heavily influenced by Italian.

    • Nicole says:

      Oh lord eye roll. And if she spent time in Argentina, she probably picked up their pronunciation, which can sound a lot like someone speaking Italian. There are so many different regional forms of Spanish, just like with English. Different accents, vocabulary, etc.

    • L4frimaire says:

      That’s so snobby and ignorant. I have a friend who is Mexican American from SoCal who lives in South Florida, and she complains about the Spanish spoken there all the time, which has a heavy Cuban influence. When I did study abroad in France, I met students from Quebec who said people made fun of their French. I once confused an Australian person for British and thought she was gonna fight me, lol. It’s a pointless argument. Different accents and terminology.

      • Virginia says:

        @L4frimaire you are so right l also have an Australian coworker l confused for British. My son who speaks French (we are Canadians) went to France on a student exchange program told me that most people in Quebec will easily understand the spoken French from people from France, but the French don’t understand Quebecers very easily. People from Quebec have a more “versatile” ear, whereas people from France have a more “fixed” ear when it comes to the language. It’s suppose to sound a certain way because it was thought a certain way. French people from France love rules, and they expect the spoken language to be pronounced a very specific way… is like Spanish from Spain, Mexico and South America, they have their own accent but at the end they understand each other.

    • notasugarhere says:

      After the Sentebale polo cup in 2018, Nacho was asked via SM about Meghan’s Spanish. iirc he responded it was very good.

  17. Sunnee says:

    @Aang. Precisely, perfect language is not the goal, being fluent is and that means being able to communicate. Spanish is the first language for both of my parents, though they were fully bilingual as children and spoke English In the home as well.
    I spoke short Spanish phrases when I was little and then learned more in high school classes but did not speak it fluently until I lived in a Spanish speaking country for a short time in my twenties. By that time my parents, who had by then lived in NY for 25 years had forgotten quite a bit of their spanish vocabulary. That was many years ago, now I barely speak Spanish and am so rusty.
    My SIL was born and raised in Guatemala and has lost some of her proficiency after living here for more than 30 years. Another SIL spoke French as a child and all through school but came here for university. After 30 years in the US, her French is rusty, but it gets better after her annual holiday with her siblings.
    My point, Very few people really speak any language perfectly, even if it’s their mother tongue, and fluency is also difficult to maintain without constant usage.

  18. fluffy_bunny says:

    Take note Keen Kathy- this is how you duchess. How has Harry never had a tamale before? I hope she rectifies that.

    • L4frimaire says:

      I’m sure he’ll eat tons of great Mexican food in LA, and those notorious murder avocados 🥑.

  19. Abby says:

    This story feels really on-brand for Meghan: smart, super-prepared, striving to make others comfortable in her interactions, literally rolling up her sleeves to work, connecting to the community through food. Bravo!

    Not sure about the shade on Harry. That felt unnecessary!

  20. Aimee says:

    Another fine asset for a member of the Royal Family to have and they blew it.

  21. Lizzie says:

    I like this story. No need to embiggen Meghan she just lives her best life.

    Cannot wait until they are able to start a speaking tour. It will be front story everywhere and FFK will be incandescent AGAIN. I hope they make a billion dollars.

  22. MsIam says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing the outreach programs for their foundation. It looks like they are reaching out and making sure they reach diverse groups.

  23. Indiesr says:

    I have said this before, but one of the main reason the Royals are so salty is because Harry married UP!

  24. Bettyrose says:

    When I was living in Tokyo, I had Canadian coworker who’d never been to the U.S. and genuinely thought we were bilingual English/Spanish same as Canada is English/French. That’s such an amazing idea, but I got to be the one to tell her that kinda talk could spark another Civil War. That’s how opposed large swaths of Americans are to learning another language.

    • sunny says:

      @Bettyrose, Canadian here. Your colleague might have been slightly incorrect in explaining Canada’s bilingualism to you. We have been officially bilingual as a country since 1969 but that means that you are suppose to be able to receive government services in either French or English where ever you are in the country. In reality thought, the quality of services vary wildly if you are outside of the smaller part of the country that has more native francophone people.

      Out of our population of 37 million people, about 8 million are native french speakers. Throughout the country kids have access to french education, starting in elementary school but then again here quality varies wildly in terms of teachers, and when kids start learning. I grew up in Ottawa, where most people speak French and English(as the seat of government) so you can not only receive government services in either language but also almost every other kind of service as well- and even then Ottawa is not officially bilingual. You can also work in French in many workplaces.

      I have now lived in Toronto for several years, our biggest most multi-cultural city and while most residents speak multiple languages here it is because they are first or second generation Canadians and they speak a variety of languages, not so much French(nor can you really get services in French here and the french education is subpar).

      Long way of saying, embracing more than one official language is brilliant but really hard to implement unless you build an effective policy structure around it and keeping up a second language you are fluent in is a challenge most places. I have to force myself to take french courses once a year and monthly lessons to keep my level high.

  25. Beatz says:

    Harry probably never had a tamale before? What a sad existence! Tamales are the best! In my household, it’s not Christmas until the tamales are there.

    • Genessee says:

      Just wait. He’s an Angelino now which means, he will eventually. LOL There is NO escaping it, especially if his wife likes Mexican or Central American food. Just wait until this pandemic blows over and things get back to normal (or close to it). He’s going to go full-on L.A.

      The Daily Mail is going to have a FIT. lol

  26. Nyro says:

    Something tells me Kate’s gonna bust out the client Pig Latin on her next zoom call.

  27. one of the Marys says:

    came only to say I had a great laugh at the poster commenting that the royal family ‘shit the bed’ with the Sussexes, haven’t heard that phrase ages but how well you make your point

  28. Thea says:

    Meghan most likely took Spanish in high school since it’s a graduation requirement here in California. And most universities, northwestern included, require at least two years of a foreign language. And yes, growing up in California, it’s super easy to pick up and practice Spanish. I grew up in a multi-language house (Thai, French, British English) and picked up Spanish words in preschool.

    • Margles says:

      Sure, plenty of people pick up a few words of Spanish and study it in high school. The number of people who achieve fluency from high school is vanishingly small.

  29. yinyang says:

    Her hair gives illusion of being shorter here. She would look so good! I wish she would get her haircut with some choppy layers too, she has the prettiest face. Same with colouring her hair, why do woman of colour always get accused of trying to look white when they just like to change it up, is changing hairstyles without being accused of changing your race a privilidge only to white women??

  30. Auntie Git says:

    Just felt like saying, I bet Harry is LOVING all these crazy new experiences he gets to have now that he is free from his family and exploring the world in a completely new way with Meghan. Just lovely! Good for them ♥️