Meghan Markle’s legion of fans sprang to her defence as "racist" trolls attacked her online for saying women of colour have been "disproportionately" affected by the pandemic.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are campaign chairs of Vax Live, a fundraising event for communities and organisations that have been ravaged by Covid.
Both made an appearance during the event, with Prince Harry standing alone onstage the first night as he thanked medical professionals worldwide for their hard work during an extremely difficult year for the world.
He received a round of applause for the speech, but many noted pregnant Meghan’s absence.
The Duchess did show her face on the second night however, choosing to send in a video speaking on the economic repercussions of the pandemic on women.
Meghan focused specifically on women of colour in her speech, claiming a whole "generation of economic gain" has been wiped out.
Quoting U.S. employment statistics, Meghan said nearly 5.5 million women nationwide lost work due to the pandemic, with "47 million more women" expected "to slip into extreme poverty."
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She said: "As campaign chairs of VAX LIVE, my husband and I believe it's critical that our recovery prioritizes the health, safety and success of everyone, and particularly women who have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic.
"Women, and especially women of color, have seen a generation of economic gain wiped out. Since the pandemic began, nearly 5.5 million women have lost work in the U.S., and 47 million more women around the world are expected to slip into extreme poverty."
Her concerns, which have also been raised by the Centre for Disease Control, received a largely popular response from the public, with some calling her "brave" for speaking out.
But she was also the subject of cruel jibes, racist slurs and suggestions her statements weren't true.
One social media user said: "And she would know would she. As an average woman. About time she shut up."
"Yeah – like she knows what women who don't live in palaces with servants and acres of gardens are going through,” second fumed.
While a third added: "Tired of hearing her name! Children and the elderly were affected too!"
Fans witnessing the abuse spoke out in her defence, with one firing back: "Meghan Markle is a world-renowned philanthropist and feminist activist.
"She is a wife and mother. She is randomly attacked by racists constantly."
Another said said: "To think she is fighting for all women, including those hateful lunatics who hate her and wish her harm and to fail is just remarkable."
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While a third wrote: "Meghan Markle receives hate constantly and still speaks up on issues close to her heart, she is a brave woman."
"So eloquently put by Meghan Markle there #VaxLive," added a fourth.
Meghan's representatives have been approached for comment.
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