The Duchess of Sussex has written personal messages of love and empowerment for street sex workers in Bristol to find in food parcels when they access night outreach support.
Meghan spontaneously came up with the idea to inscribe the kind words on bananas with a marker pen during an unannounced visit to the charity One25 on Friday.
The heavily pregnant duchess’s messages to the vulnerable women on five or so of the fruit read, in capital letters and often followed by a heart: “You are strong”, “You are special”, “You are brave” and “You are loved”.
One25 in the St Paul’s area of the city helps sex workers break free from a life of violence, poverty and addiction on the streets.
The duchess, who was joined by the Duke of Sussex, took the initiative as she was about to gather the food in bags in One25’s small kitchen.
Meghan asked: “Actually do you have a Sharpie, a marker? I have an idea – a message.
“I was thinking about this the other day. I saw this programme this woman had started in the States on a school lunch programme when on each of the bananas she wrote an affirmation or something to make the kids feel really empowered.
“I thought it was the most incredible idea – this small gesture.”
She added after asking if Harry also wanted to write a message: “I’m in charge of banana messaging.”
Some of the 150 women who are still street sex-working in Bristol will receive the parcels containing the actress-turned-royal’s message later in the evening.
The night outreach service runs from a fully equipped van, which offers food, first aid, warm clothing, condoms, safety alarms and a safe space to talk.
Harry and Meghan were shown around and took seats inside the large vehicle, which is stocked with blankets, ready for the freezing temperatures amid winter snow storms.
The duke and duchess also privately met a former sex worker who has been helped by One25 to escape from a life on the streets.
Sam told Meghan and Harry about how she was groomed at the age of 14 into prostitution, and became addicted to drugs.
The 43-year-old said afterwards: “For them to decide to come here is heartwarming and makes you think these women are not forgotten.
“One25 were there for me when I had no-one. They helped me keep my children.”
Sam, who has been away from the streets and drugs for 13 years, described the visit as “amazing”, adding: “For the women to know that Harry and Meghan have come here, it says we do matter.
“It sounds really cheesy but it is that feeling that somebody actually cares.”