Whereas some brides-to-be might be fretting about seating arrangements or gown fittings three months before the wedding, Meghan Markle has reportedly been making time to secretly visit survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire, which killed 71 people last June.
According to The Mirror, the actress made two visits to the Al Manaar community mosque near the tower block’s remains to comfort the fire's survivors. She did not make the trips with Prince Harry, taking a royal protection officer and one of the prince’s aides for company instead.
“Meghan’s visits mean so much to us,” a Grenfell community leader told the newspaper. “She has a special place in our hearts.”
Markle’s quiet trips to the mosque are part of a broader effort on the incoming royal’s part to familiarize herself with humanitarian issues in the U.K., following in the footsteps of Princess Diana, who performed some of her charity work in secret. “Ms. Markle has regularly been making private visits to organizations as she gets to know the charity sector,” a royal source told the newspaper.
Previously, survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire were visited by other members of the royal family. In September, the newspaper reported, Prince William and Prince Harry publicly visited the Al Manaar community mosque in June. Queen Elizabeth II visited the mosque as well, according to The Mirror, shortly after the fire, and Al Manaar chief executive Abdulrahman Sayed said there have been several royal visits since the princes’ trip.
According to the BBC, an inferno quickly engulfed the 27-story tower block last June, resulting in almost 80 fatalities and devastating residents’ homes. An initial, independent review found that building regulations left plenty of potential for significant shortcuts and loopholes, allowing costs to be cut at the expense of safety, according to The Guardian. Survivors and the community at large are still recovering from the tragedy.