As Meghan Markle returned to the United States in the spring, royal husband Prince Harry in tow, the country had shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic and protestors filled the streets to call out systemic racism and police brutality.

“To come back and to just see that state of affairs, I think at the onset, if I’m being honest, was just devastating,” Markle, who’d spent several years working as an actress in Canada before relocating to England with Prince Harry, said Friday during news organization the 19th’s virtual summit. “[It was] so sad to see where our country was in that moment.”

The Duchess of Sussex, who stepped back from royal life in January, appeared in conversation with Emily Ramshaw, co-founder and CEO of the publication, which focuses on the intersection of gender and politics.

She said her impressions of her home country — she was born and raised in Los Angeles — weren’t all bleak.

“I would say that in the weeks that were happening after the murder of George Floyd, in the peaceful protests that you were seeing, in the voices that were coming out, in the way that people were actually owning their role and acknowledging the role that they played, either actively or passively, in the discrimination of other people, specifically the Black community,” Markle said. “[My feeling] shifted from sadness to a feeling of absolute inspiration, because I can see that the tide is turning.”

The former Suits star wants to help create that change.

“From my standpoint, it’s not new to see this undercurrent of racism and certainly unconscious bias, but I think to see the changes that are being made right now… it’s something that I look forward to being a part of,” she noted, “and being a part of using my voice in a way that I haven’t been able to of late. So, yeah, it’s good to be home.”

As someone who’s had to deal with being, at times excessively, followed by the paparazzi and the tabloids, Markle explained that she especially values trustworthy journalism, such as the new nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend an official royal event on March 9 in London. (Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend an official royal event on March 9 in London. (Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle attend an official royal event on March 9 in London. (Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage)

“I think we’ve become so — sadly — comfortable with the idea that we are just getting all this stuff, and it becomes noise as opposed to truth and accurate journalism,” she said. “So, you know, if this can be this catalyst to reset for other news organizations — my goodness, it’s going to change the game so much and specifically that it’s bipartisan.”

She took a moment, too, to discuss the importance of voting and how so many people take it for granted.

“My husband, for example, he’s never been able to vote,” Markle said.

Earlier in the week, the royal was one of 100 influential women who explained to Marie Claire why they’ll be casting a vote in November’s presidential election.

“I know what it’s like to have a voice, and also what it’s like to feel voiceless,” Markle told the magazine. “I also know that so many men and women have put their lives on the line for us to be heard. And that opportunity, that fundamental right, is in our ability to exercise our right to vote and to make all of our voices heard.”

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