Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and former first lady Michelle Obama shared a lunch of chicken tacos that resulted in a candid interview between the two powerful women for the September issue of British Vogue.
Duchess Meghan is the guest editor for the issue, which she titled "Forces for Change." For the magazine's back page Q&A feature, the California native said she immediately thought of Obama, whom she calls "my former First Lady, and now friend."
"My first thought was that it needed to be someone kind, inspirational, motivating, funny, with gravitas and as much depth as levity," Meghan writes in a foreword to the interview. "My second thought: it needed to be Michelle Obama."
Meghan, who gave birth to her son in May, and Obama, a mother of two young women, first met last December when Meghan attended a London book tour stop for Obama's bestselling memoir "Becoming" and spoke with her afterward.
One month later, in January, Meghan began working behind the scenes as the first-ever guest editor for the September issue of British Vogue.
While pregnant with Archie, Meghan and Obama met for a "casual lunch" where Meghan asked for the former first lady's help on what she called her "secret project."
In the Q&A with Obama published in the new issue, Meghan asks about issues important to both of them: parenthood and empowering other women, particularly young girls. Obama's responses to her questions left the Duchess of Sussex "speechless."
"What was sent back to me, however, left me somewhat speechless," Meghan writes. "A few 'simple questions' (which she could have answered with a sentence or two) were returned to me as a thoughtful, reflective and beautifully curated narrative – a gentle reminder not of how but of why she has become such a globally respected public figure."
In a question to Obama about motherhood, Meghan reveals the former first lady sent her "the kindest message" on her first Mother's Day.
Obama reveals that her two daughters, Sasha, a recent high school graduate, and Malia, a student at Harvard University, "in some ways couldn't be more different."
"One speaks freely and often, one opens up on her own terms," Obama said. "One shares her innermost feelings, the other is content to let you figure it out. Neither approach is better or worse, because they’ve both grown into smart, compassionate and independent young women, fully capable of paving their own paths."
When asked what advice she gives to Sasha and Malia, Obama describes telling them to not just "check the boxes you think you're supposed to check" like she did at their ages.
"I tell them that I hope they’ll keep trying on new experiences until they find what feels right. And what felt right yesterday might not necessarily feel right today," she said. "That’s OK – it’s good, even. When I was in college, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer because it sounded like a job for good, respectable people. It took me a few years to listen to my intuition and find a path that fit better for who I was, inside and out."
"Becoming who we are is an ongoing process, and thank God – because where’s the fun in waking up one day and deciding there’s nowhere left to go? That’s something I wish I’d recognized a little earlier," Obama added.
At the end of the interview, Obama even offers parenting advice to Prince Harry and Meghan, telling them to "savor it all."
"When Malia and Sasha were newborns, Barack and I could lose hours just watching them sleep. We loved to listen to the little sounds they’d make – especially the way they cooed when they were deep into dreaming," she said. "Don’t get me wrong, early parenthood is exhausting. I’m sure you know a thing or two about that these days. But there is something so magical about having a baby in the house. Time expands and contracts; each moment holds its own little eternity. "
"I’m so excited for you and Harry to experience that, Meghan. Savor it all," Obama said.
The September issue of British Vogue will hit newsstands in the U.K. and will be available for digital download on Friday, Aug. 2.