Meghan Markle Steps Out in New York City to Accept Award with Surprise Guests Prince Harry and Mom Doria

The Duchess of Sussex was reunited with her friend Gloria Steinem at the Ms. Foundation for Women's Gala

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Meghan Markle is celebrating women.

The Duchess of Sussex stepped out in New York City on Tuesday evening accompanied by two special guests — her husband, Prince Harry, and her mother, Doria Ragland — for the Ms. Foundation 2023 Women of Vision Awards: Celebrating Generations of Progress & Power. Meghan, 41, was honored as one of this year's Woman of Vision Award honorees for her global advocacy to empower women and girls.

The event reunited Meghan with her friend Gloria Steinem, Co-Founding Mother of the Ms. Foundation, who presented her with the award.

During her acceptance speech, Meghan thanked Steinem "for the inspiration that you are, for your mentorship, your sage advice, your extraordinarily cheeky sense of humor and for your incredible friendship."

Meghan spoke of the mark left on her by Ms. magazine when she was a young child.

Related:Meghan Markle's Trailblazing Feminism Through the Years

Kevin Mazur/Getty
Kevin Mazur/Getty

"As a young girl, I would come home, I'd settle in after a day of school, pull up my TV tray with dinner and I would turn on my evening ritual: Jeopardy! And I'd glance at the coffee table, where I'd see an array of things: it could be the cat's collar, my homework, some mail that had just been brought in — and some magazines," the Duchess of Sussex said. "The magazines said Ms. on them."

"I remember them vividly because the pictures were different. There was diversity that I hadn't seen as often, both of color and of age and the names were different," Meghan continued. "There were congresswomen, there were astronauts and the topics were different — from mothering to being a working mom to heavier topics such as domestic violence, the poverty line, unearthing its roots, where it comes from and matters of equity."

"I was too young at the time to know what most of it meant," Meghan said, adding that despite that, "the significance of these magazines was important."

Her mom, Meghan said, "had a subscription and having these pages in our home, it signaled to me that there was just so much more than the dolled-up covers and the images that you would see on the grocery store covers."

"It signaled to me that substance mattered," she added.

The presence of Ms., Meghan said, was formative for her.

"When I reflect on the time in my life, when I was young, the imprints that were etched in my mind, I can now connect the dots in a much better way to understand how I became a young feminist and evolved into a grown activist," Meghan said.

Meghan and Steinem, 89, joined forces in 2020 to have a "​​backyard chat" about the importance of voting. Later that year, Meghan "came over to the little farmhouse" where Steinem was staying, and they cold-called voters together from her dining room table.

Last year, the pair were seen together leaving a lunch date in New York after Meghan joined her husband Prince Harry as he gave an address at the United Nations in honor of Nelson Mandela Day.

Related:Meghan Markle Wears Strapless Gold Dress to Accept Award Alongside Prince Harry and Mom Doria

At the Women's Media Center's 2022 Women's Media Awards, Steinem told PEOPLE that Meghan is a "great human being."

"I'm not an expert on the media, but it seems to me that she is different from the picture of her in the media," the feminism activist told PEOPLE. "She's smart and funny and devoted to social issues."

Other honorees at the Women of Vision Awards included co-founder of Dr. Shalon's Maternal Action Project Wanda Irving, executive director of URGE Kimberly Inez McGuire and Black Voters Matter co-founder LaTosha Brown. Abortion rights activist Olivia Julianna accepted the Marie C. Wilson Emerging Leader Award, while Rebekah Bruesehoff was the recipient of the Free to Be You and Me Award.

Raymond Hall/GC Images
Raymond Hall/GC Images

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"We are thrilled to announce this year's honorees for the Women of Vision Awards and to celebrate 50 years of progress and power," said Teresa C. Younger, President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation in a previous statement announcing the winners. "Meghan, LaTosha, Wanda, Kimberly, Olivia, and Rebekah are incredible leaders and we are grateful to be able to shine a light on their many accomplishments and tireless work on behalf of gender and racial equity across the country and the world."

The evening was hosted by Danielle Moodie, host of the Woke AF Daily podcast, while Sweet Honey in the Rock entertained attendees with a performance during the event.

Kevin Mazur/Getty
Kevin Mazur/Getty

Previous Women of Vision honorees include Hillary Clinton, Academy Award-nominated director Ava DuVernay and fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg.

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