Before she takes on her next big role as a royal mom, Meghan Markle is carving out a path for her royal work — and she’s showing no signs of slowing down.
“Meghan is very American and wants to get things done — that is her way,” Ingrid Seward, author of the royal biography My Husband and I, tells PEOPLE.
Just days after Kensington Palace announced her much awaited new patronages, the Duchess of Sussex has already gotten to work in support of the four organizations she will now champion: the National Theatre, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the women’s empowerment charity Smart Works and the animal-welfare charity Mayhew.
With a memorable public outing to Smart Works already under her belt (after several secret visits over the past year), Meghan is planning a visit to Mayhew on Wednesday to meet with staff and volunteers to hear more about the animal welfare charity’s initiatives.
“She hits the ground running and works hard. That is in her makeup,” Seward says of the L.A.-born former actress, who has been an activist since age 11, when she spoke out about a sexist television commercial. She also continued to add to her resume during her time on Suits as an advocate for UN women and a global ambassador for World Vision.
As the first American to marry into the British royal family since Wallis Simpson in 1937, there have been tensions that some insiders blame on a culture clash.
Veteran royal aides “might not be used to the ‘say-it-as-you-see-it’ American mentality,” a palace insider previously told PEOPLE. Added a source close to the family: “The most difficult job in the royal family is to work with Meghan’s ambitions and make them realizable. She will get frustrated if she is told, ‘You can’t do this or can’t do that.’ ”
Since officially becoming an official royal in May, Meghan has taken on a successful international royal tour, given several royal speeches and debuted her first project: a charity cookbook in support of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. And she’s carried several of those duties out while pregnant with her first child (she just revealed she’s due in late April).
When one sympathetic woman asked Meghan how she was coping in high heels while pregnant during her hours-long outing in Birkenhead on Monday, she replied: “One day at a time!”