Meghan Markle has released a heartbreaking statement about losing her dear friend

"It has left me, and so many others, heartbroken and reflective"

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"It has left me, and so many others, heartbroken and reflective"

The Duchess of Sussex released a statement today on the Mayhew charity website, an animal welfare organisation of which she was once a patron.

Her message comes after months out of the spotlight and spoke of her heartbreak over the death of close friend, Oli Juste.

"On January 15, 2022, my beloved friend Oli tragically and very suddenly passed away," she wrote. "It has left me, and so many others, heartbroken and reflective.

"It was Oli and his fiancé Rob who helped care for my rescue dog, Guy, when I had just moved to the UK and he was recovering from a debilitating accident. They loved him as though he was their own."

The Duchess went on to explain in her letter: "I was introduced to Mayhew by my dear friend, animal behaviourist, Oli Juste. We shared, amongst many things, a commitment to animal welfare, and a deep love of rescue dogs."

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Mayhew is a London based charity that aims to improve the lives of cats and dogs. The Duchess was their Patron from 2019 before stepping down earlier this year.

"As my three-year patronage to Mayhew came to a close earlier this year, I reflected on the work they have achieved in the hardest of times - during a global pandemic with minimal resources, safeguarding staff from their stations in Afghanistan, and still resolving to remain steadfast in their vital day to day work for animal and human welfare throughout London and across the globe," she continued.

"Every day there was another twist and turn, every week another update — which Oli and I would connect about: 'What can we do? How can we do more? Look at the amazing work they continue to do.'"

Meghan then went on to announce, that although her patronage has come to an end, she will continue to work with Mayhew to create an Oli Juste wing in his memory.

The wing will shelter animals while waiting for their forever homes. As Meghan writes, "Because much like Oli, they will never be forgotten, and they will always be loved."

Although Meghan and Harry have stepped down as Royal Family members, and as a result away from many of their patronages, the Duchess ends her letter reiterating her support for Mayhew:

"Though my time as patron of Mayhew has come to a close, my unwavering support has not. I encourage each of you to support in whatever way you are able. The emotional support of a rescue animal is unparalleled - as you’ll soon realize: it is not you who saves them, it is they who save you."

Our thoughts are with the Duchess of Sussex.

Dionne Brighton

Dionne Brighton is a writer at Marie Claire UK, specialising in all things shopping, beauty and fashion. Born and raised in North London, she studied Literature at the University of East Anglia before taking the leap into journalism. These days, you can find her testing out the latest TikTok beauty trends or finding out what the next full Moon means.