Meghan Markle penned an emotional letter to her departed friend on Thursday to thank him for introducing her to her former royal patronage, animal welfare charity Mayhew.

The 40-year old shared that she was left heartbroken at the sudden and tragic death of her "beloved friend" Oli Juste on Jan. 15, 2022. She said it has left her and "so many others, heartbroken and reflective–knowing that the legacy he leaves for our furry friends is beautifully simple: Just love them. Especially those left behind or forgotten."

Meghan Markle said that it was Juste who brought her to Mayhew four years ago, and that they both shared "a commitment to animal welfare and a deep love of rescue dogs." She wrote in the letter published by Mayhew, "In fact, 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."

She continued, "He knew that beyond their adoption and rescue programs, their international work to keep animals safe, and their local work to find abandoned pets homes, that I would be drawn to their deep love of community, which transcended the animals themselves, and extended to the people around them. He was right. I fell in love with Mayhew, and soon became their Royal patron."

The Duchess of Sussex ended her three-year royal patronage with Mayhew earlier this year and she reflected on the achievements of the organisation amid the pandemic with minimal resources. The charity also had to safeguard staff from their stations in Afghanistan during the siege of the Taliban. Yet despite the challenges, they remained "steadfast in their vital day to day work for animal and human welfare throughout London and across the globe."

Meghan Markle announced that a new wing, called the Oli Juste wing, will be opened at Mayhew at their London rehoming centre in honour of her late friend. It will "shelter animals who may have a harder time finding their forever homes. Because much like Oli, they will never be forgotten, and they will always be loved." Despite the end of her patronage, Howard Bridges, Mayhew's Chief Executive, said that the duchess will continue to support the organisation and champion its ambitions because of her commitment to its cause.

Meghan Markle
Th Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle Michele Spatari/AFP