After a devastating mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24 took the lives of 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School, the community has been reeling from the horrifying attack. It is now the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. In the days since the tragedy, notable people like Barack Obama and Kim Kardashian have used their platforms to mourn Uvalde’s loss and advocate for stricter firearm control laws. But one star took a more low-key approach to helping the community. Meghan Markle secretly visited Uvalde after the school shooting and was reportedly incognito as volunteered at donation centers and paid her respects at makeshift memorials.
On May 26, Markle, mother to three-year-old Archie and 11-months-old Lilibet, traveled to Uvalde “in a personal capacity as a mother” to offer “her condolences and support in-person to a community experiencing unimaginable grief,” a Sussex representative told BuzzFeed. According to the outlet, the Duchess quietly visited the Herby Ham Activity Center and donated two large crates containing food, beverages, and desserts for the blood donors and workers. Photos captured of Meghan show her wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans, sneakers, cap, and mask while at the community center.
The volunteers apparently had no idea who she was. “It's funny, we didn't even know it was her until after she left and now we're so sad. I mean, to be honest, we thought she was our neighbor,” volunteer Georjean Burnell said to Buzzfeed. The director of the center, Sue Rankin, was informed of Markle’s visit by a member of the duchess’ security team. She also emphasized that Markle was genuinely trying to hide her identity while volunteering: “It was not a photo op, I reiterate: Meghan did not bring any cameras with her. She didn’t bring any reporters.”
Photos captured by Getty showed the duchess laying a bouquet of flowers at the makeshift memorial outside Uvalde County Courthouse as she mourned the lives lost. A spokesperson for the duchess told Buzzfeed that Markle made “multiple stops” in Uvalde.
Her acts are only one of many community efforts to grieve and heal after the attack shattered the tight-knit town. In Rankin’s conversation with Markle, she said, “tears came in her eyes when she was talking about the tragedy that happened here, and the families, and the children.”
It certainly sounds like Markle was deeply affected by the tragedy, and wasted no time in traveling to Uvalde to both offer her help and mourn the community’s devastating losses.