The secret message behind Meghan Markle's ring worn for the 'Time' cover shoot

The Duchess of Sussex used the occasion to send a subtle message of female empowerment

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Time magazine cover shoot may have been the source for many humorous memes since it came out on Wednesday, but the Duchess of Sussex's pinky ring had a serious message behind it.

The couple were included in the Icons category of the publication's list of 100 most influential people, alongside singer Britney Spears, tennis star Naomi Osaka and Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.

While social media users were distracted mocking the "awkward" images of the pair for "bad editing", the subtle message of social justice contained in Meghan's choice of jewellery was almost missed.

Meghan wore a white blouse and black trousers, accompanied by the Duet pinky ring by Shiffon on her left hand, alongside her engagement ring. The $525 piece is actually part of the brand's mission to "fuel a movement for female entrepreneurs to receive equal access to startup capital", according to its website.

"Set with a tiny diamond beside a larger diamond, this dainty and uniquely adjustable ring represents one woman supporting another through a 'pinky promise'," reads the item's description.

"Our spiral pinky ring was designed to challenge the idea that success is an individual ladder," says a caption by Shiffon on Instagram. "Instead, we believe success is an upward spiral, one where we are supporting each other and spiral upwards together."

How do they support women in a tangible way? Half of the profits from Shiffon's Duet pinky ring go towards funding female entrepreneurs, with 11 companies being funded to date, according to the brand's website.

Some of those companies are now funding new companies, too. "Nothing makes us happier than seeing this chain reaction continue in perpetuity," reads an entry in Shiffon's About section.

Other celebrities who have worn the ring include actresses Nicole Kidman and Emma Watson, former first lady Michelle Obama and tennis champion Serena Williams, who is also one of Meghan's friends.

"A 2017 study published by the journal Science found that girls as young as six years old are less likely to think members of their own gender can be brilliant, and that they are less likely than boys to pursue activities requiring that exceptional intelligence," says Shiffon, which was founded by Shilpa Yarlagadda.

"Our mission at Shiffon is to close that gender gap, particularly in entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is about taking action and learning quickly, and we want to give women the opportunity to do that while not being afraid to take risks or fail. We are optimistic that we can begin making this change. Through our efforts, we aim to financially empower a million women across the globe by 2025."

It seems Meghan enjoys sending subtle messages via style. On her 40th birthday, which she celebrated last month, she wore constellation necklaces by Logan Hollowell that incorporated the zodiac signs of her children, Archie, 2, and Lilibet, who was born in June.

See more of Meghan Markle's style here:

Updated: September 17th 2021, 12:50 PM