Laverne Cox, Jane Fonda, Salma Hayek, Yara Shahidi and more change-makers instead cover the magazine's upcoming issue.
Meghan Markle is making a big statement with the September issue of British Vogue.
Though reports have circulated for weeks that the Duchess of Sussex would be guest editing the magazine, the news was officially confirmed on Sunday. The issue, titled "Forces for Change," features a conversation between Meghan and Michelle Obama, as well as Prince Harry and Dr. Jane Goodall.
Fifteen powerful and impactful women are featured on the cover of the magazine, which was offered to Meghan, but she declined, Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful revealed.
"From the very beginning, we talked about the cover -- whether she would be on it or not. In the end, she felt that it would be in some ways a 'boastful' thing to do for this particular project. She wanted, instead, to focus on the women she admires," he explained in a statement.
"To have the country’s most influential beacon of change guest edit British Vogue at this time has been an honour, a pleasure and a wonderful surprise," he said of the issue. "As you will see from her selections throughout this magazine, she is also willing to wade into more complex and nuanced areas, whether they concern female empowerment, mental health, race or privilege."
"From activists to artists, politicians to performers, poets to provocateurs, British Vogue and HRH The Duchess of Sussex have chosen women from the frontline of fashion, film, tech, wellness and beyond to celebrate a special moment in time, calling it Forces for Change,'" Enninful's statement continued.
"Together, these women are British Vogue’s cover stars for September and the ultimate force for change in the world right now. The Duchess believes British Vogue’s readers are part of this moment too -- as a result the 16th spot on the magazine's cover is a mirror to include the reader and encourage them to use their own platforms to effect change," he shared.
Adwoa Aboah, Adut Akech, Ramla Ali, Jacinda Ardern, Sinead Burke, Gemma Chan, Laverne Cox, Jane Fonda, Salma Hayek Pinault, Francesca Hayward, Jameela Jamil, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Yara Shahidi, Greta Thunberg and Christy Turlington Burns are the women featured on the magazine's cover.
In her statement on Sunday, Meghan opened up about why taking on the massive project was important to her. "These last seven months have been a rewarding process, curating and collaborating with Edward Enninful, British Vogue's Editor-in-Chief, to take the year's most-read fashion issue and steer its focus to the values, causes and people making impact in the world today," she shared. "Through this lens I hope you’ll feel the strength of the collective in the diverse selection of women chosen for the cover as well as the team of support I called upon within the issue to help bring this to light. I hope readers feel as inspired as I do, by the 'Forces for Change' they'll find within these pages."
While Meghan won't appear on the magazine's cover, ET learned earlier this month that she was expected to participate in some photos at her new residence at Frogmore to supplement her collaboration with the U.K. fashion magazine. The September issue of British Vogue is available on digital download and on newsstands Friday, Aug. 2.
See more in the video below.