Meghan Markle is working hard to convince Congress that paid family leave is a human right. She’s penned an open letter and is now picking up the phone. She’s now being accused of using her British title, the Duchess of Sussex, to further her agenda. Here’s what’s going on.
A Popular Stance
The vast majority of Americans support at least some paid family leave. The cause is near and dear to Markle’s heart, and she’s putting her influence to use. Last week, she wrote a letter to Congress advocating for paid family leave. She wrote, “I’m writing to you on behalf of millions of American families who are using their voices to say that comprehensive paid leave should not be a place to compromise or negotiate.”
Since Markle is such a political pariah, it’s no surprise that Republicans weren’t happy. Missouri Representative Jason Smith called for Markle to have her royal title stripped away, telling the Daily Mail, “particularly since she insists on sending this under the pretense of being the Duchess of Sussex.” It’s true that Markle signed her letter in that way, so this isn’t inaccurate.
This week, Markle started calling some key Republican Senators, Susan Collins and Shelley Moore Capito, to lobby for paid parental leave. Moore Capito says Markle is leading her calls with “This is Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.” Maine Senator Collins said, “I was happy to talk with her, but I’m more interested in what people from Maine are telling me about paid leave.”
Some are now puzzled, and perhaps frustrated. As TMZ points out, it’s “odd” that Markle would use her royal title after everything that’s happened between herself and the royal family. This has quickly become an issue of outrage on social media, with critics of Markle attacking her for using her title.
It’s Her Right
There’s a lot of confusion about how royal titles work, and why the royal family isn’t just taking them away. Markle’s title, “Duchess of Sussex,” is a part of her name now. In the same way that Prince William’s name is “Prince William.” Since Harry’s still in the line of succession, he’s still a prince, as well as a duke. Therefore his wife , Markle is still a duchess.
Sure it’s a British title, but it’s also her title. Think of it as signing a letter as “doctor” or “PhD.” it’s a title that belongs to you, and you can choose to use it if you like. Markle has chosen to keep her name styled this way on book covers, so using it on calls to Senators is par for the course.
In the eyes of her critics, Markle is evil and can do no right, so it’s no surprise that she’s taking heat for using her name. Attacking her distracts from the real issue of paid parental leave, so it’s an easy way for the opposition to redirect the conversation.