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Meghan Markle had special instructions for British Vogue: 'I want to see freckles!'

The Duchess of Sussex had a vision when she served as guest editor for British Vogue — she wanted to see natural beauty.
Meghan Markle
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, has seen her own freckles erased from photos in the past, and she didn't want to see that same fate befall the freckle-faced beauties on the September issue of British Vogue.Samir Hussein/WireImage
/ Source: TODAY

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, serves as guest editor for the September issue of British Vogue and that's a very big deal, because in the magazine's 103-year history, she's the first-ever guest editor of the celebrated fall edition.

So it's no surprise that the actress-turned-royal made the most of that rare opportunity by showcasing causes close to her heart, putting the spotlight on women working to make the world a better place and by embracing natural beauty.

To that last point, she reached out to German photographer Peter Lindbergh to ensure that true beauty wouldn't be airbrushed away from the issue.

In fact, the duchess helped select the 74-year-old fashion photographer for the job.

"It was one of those brilliantly spontaneous moments when HRH The Duchess of Sussex and I had exactly the same idea at exactly the same time," her September co-editor, the publication's editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, explained of the choice. "Peter sees beauty in real people, in real situations. He makes everybody feel their best."

His approach fit the royal's vision just fine.

The Duchess of Sussex guest edits British Vogue
The cover of British Vogue's September issue, entitled "Forces for Change", which is guest-edited by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.Peter Lindbergh / PA Wire via Reuters

"I hate retouching, I hate make-up. I always say, 'Take the make-up off!'" Lindbergh told Vogue. "The number of beautiful women who have asked me to lengthen their legs or move their eyes further apart ... You would not believe. It’s a culture of madness."

So he was relieved when he heard from the former Meghan Markle.

"My instructions from the Duchess were clear: 'I want to see freckles!'" he recalled of their phone conversation. "Well, that was like running through open doors for me. I love freckles."

Really, it's no shock to find out that the Duchess of Sussex wanted to ensure fresh-faced beauty — and especially freckles — would be seen on the magazine's cover. After all, she's dealt with photographers who've erased her own freckles in the past.

In 2017, she told Allure, "To this day, my pet peeve is when my skin tone is changed and my freckles are airbrushed out of a photoshoot."

However, her freckles don't make the cover of British Vogue at all, as it was also important to the duchess that the focus should be on other women who are "forces of change" in the world, women she interviewed in the magazine's pages. According to Lindbergh, she felt that featuring her own photo "would have been too boastful."

So in the 16 tiles on the cover of British Vogue, there are 15 women — including Jane Fonda, Laverne Cox, Jameela Jamil and Selma Hayek — whose natural features are allowed to shine. And there's another person meant to shine on the cover, too.

"The 16th slot — which, in print, appears as a mirror — is intended by the Duchess to show how you are part of this collective moment of change too," the publication revealed in a post on Instagram.

The September issue of British Vogue hits newsstands Friday.