(LONDON) — Duchess Meghan made a special appearance to celebrate the opening of a second location of a London bakery that empowers women who are working their way back from obstacles including homelessness, prison and domestic violence.The female-founded bakery, Luminary Bakery, was also featured in the issue of British Vogue that Meghan guest-edited and was the bakery that made Meghan’s 38th birthday cake in August.Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, put on an apron and rolled up her sleeves as she helped make sweet treats and spoke with the women helped by the bakery.“One of the things I have realized since being here [in the U.K.] is that people have an expectation when I’m coming somewhere,” Meghan told the women, according to Bryony Gordon, a Telegraph reporter who joined the duchess on the otherwise-private visit. “So I’m like, let’s just be really relaxed, keep everyone nice and chilled, because at the end of the day we’re all just women.””We all have a story to tell, and I feel honored that I am getting to hear yours,” she said.Women who are referred to Luminary Bakery start in a six-month training program where they learn how to bake while also gaining life skills. The program is also designed to help the women build a network and develop trusting relationships.Once they complete the training, the women can apply to work at Luminary Bakery or at one of the bakery’s partner organizations.Meghan told the women that one of the things she admires about Luminary Bakery’s program is that it doesn’t treat them as “mechanical objects that need to be fixed.”“We get into this habit of wanting things done immediately nowadays. There’s a culture of instant gratification, of the instant fix,” she said. “But we aren’t mechanical objects that need to be fixed. You’re a wounded creature that needs to be healed, and that takes time. And that’s what I love about this place. It gives you the support to heal.”The duchess also spoke candidly about looking beyond the superficial things in people — to be able to find “deep connection.”“I find that when you strip all the layers away, as people, and especially as women, we can find deep connection with each other, and a shared understanding,” she said. “Our lives may be different, our backgrounds, our experiences, all varied, but I find that in these moments of connection it becomes abundantly clear that our hopes, our fears, our insecurities, the things that make us tick…. well, those are very much the same. And there’s comfort in that.”Meghan’s personal visit to the bakery came after she and Prince Harry returned from their 10-day tour of Southern Africa. It was on that tour that both the duke and duchess gave revealing interviews about their struggle to live in the spotlight to ITV News at Ten anchor Tom Bradby for the documentary, Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.The duke and duchess both received criticism for being so open and forthcoming in the interview. Meghan, in particular, spoke about what she described as unfair treatment by some members of the British press and said she had struggled in the past year as a new member of the royal family and new mom to 5-month-old son Archie.During her visit to Luminary Bakery, Gordon, the Telegraph reporter, reported that Meghan told her that “she didn’t want people to love her – she just wanted them to be able to hear her.””I have found that this is what the Duchess of Sussex stands for: using her voice to help give one to people less privileged than her,” Gordon wrote. “Certain sections of our still buttoned-up society may not like it, but the Duchess of Sussex is, by giving the kind of open interview she did to Bradby, also giving the women she is meeting today permission to be open.”Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
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