Meghan Markle is the latest in a long line of celebrities rumored to be running for office, but could her royal title bar her from entering the race? Could an obscure rule prevent her? Let’s break it down.
Would This Amendment Exclude Her From The Race?
Could the duchess be prevented from running for president because of a 211-year-old constitutional amendment? This amendment was written in 1810 to bar anyone who receives “a title of nobility bestowed from a foreign power” from holding office, according to experts.
This was initially proposed to stop French leader Napoleon’s nephew from seeking political power. Napoleon’s brother married American socialite Elizabeth Patterson, and many speculated that their son would run for office.
It’s a centuries-old amendment that was technically never ratified, but amendments never expire and some are wondering if it will be revived if the duchess announces a 2024 presidential run. Markle has never officially announced any intentions to run for office, but biographer Tom Bower has previously claimed the prospect of a presidential campaign was “possible and I’d even say likely.”
Markle’s Political Efforts
Markle’s recent political activities are only adding fuel to this fire. The duchess has made paid parental leave her cause, calling senators in an attempt to influence a $1.75 trillion infrastructure plan. She also penned an open letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pleading for it to be made a ‘national right’.
“Britain has a very strong tradition of keeping royals out of politics and so this is perhaps more intrusive than anything a royal would dare to do in Britain,” Bower said. “Meeting with senators to lobby for a bill – this is her injecting herself into US politics.”
Some are accusing the duchess of using her title inappropriately. Some of the politicians she’s contacted have said that she introduced herself as the Duchess of Sussex, which many see as a political tactic that might lend credence to the idea that she’s running for president. Others argue that she has every right to use the title of duchess, saying it is her legal name after she changed it when she married Prince Harry in 2018.
Can She Legally Run?
Constitutional experts say that there is no technical reason why she could not run for presidency under her title, despite a lack of precedent. If the amendment was revived, it would retain the 12 favorable votes it received in 1810, but would need 26 more states to ratify it for it to become law.
There is no official word yet on whether or not Markle is considering any kind of political run, but many are hoping to see her name on a ballot some time in the coming years. We’ll all just have to wait and see what her plans are.