Princess Eugenie is back to work.
The 32-year-old royal was out in London Monday, her first formal appearance since funeral services for her grandmother Queen Elizabeth on Sept. 19. Princess Eugenie arrived in Trafalgar Square with Julia de Boinville, co-founder of The Anti-Slavery Collective. The friends, who established the charity in 2017 to combat modern slavery and trafficking, stepped out to see the art exhibit erected through Hestia, another anti-slavery organization.
Eugenie and Julia examined the oversize panels for the annual “Art is Freedom” display, featuring art and photographs by survivors of modern slavery. They also spoke with Hestia CEO Patrick Ryan, Hestia regional director Nahar Choudhury and Hamza Taouzzale, Lord Mayor of Westminster.
The exhibit was arranged ahead of Anti-Slavery Day on Tuesday and will stand in bustling Trafalgar Square through Sunday. Free of charge to see, similar displays have been set up outside the London Bridge subway station and outside the South Kensington underground station.
“The Art is Freedom exhibition has supported survivors of modern slavery of all ages, from across the world, for five years now. It is inspiring to see the project give survivors the opportunity to express their feelings, emotions and stories through art,” Princess Eugenie said in a statement shared by Hestia.
“The exhibition also provides an opportunity for those who have experienced modern slavery to gain new skills, which can help to reinforce a sense of community amongst survivors and encourage freedom of expression,” the princess continued. “This exhibition serves as a space to dispel the stigma around survivors, and let their stories speak for themselves. This year, the Anti-Slavery Collective is honored to be co-curating the exhibition, and we look forward to helping to shine a light on this important issue.”
Princess Eugenie and Julia previously shared that they first met on a bus during a school trip, and in 2012, they traveled to India together where they visited an organization called Women’s Interlink Foundation and “first became aware of modern slavery.”
“We were shocked to discover the extent to which slavery still exists. In fact, there are more enslaved people today than at any other point in history and, at any one time, someone is being trafficked within a mile of where you live. We often associate slavery with chains and shackles, but modern slavery is a hidden crime that is often hard to detect,” they said on Instagram last year.
The friends said they became “obsessive investigators” and spent the next five years learning about the issue, deducing that the most effective way they could help was by raising awareness.
“So this became our mission,” they wrote in the post. “In 2017, we proudly launched The Anti-Slavery Collective.”
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Elevating the platform of the Anti-Slavery Collective, the friends launched a podcast on Spotify in April. Of floodlight, Princess Eugenie and Julia welcome lawmakers, leaders, activists, survivors, journalists and more to discuss modern slavery and everyday differences that can be made to end the epidemic.