Republican Leaders Want Meghan Markle Stripped of Her Royal Title

The backlash came after the Duchess penned a letter advocating for paid parental leave.

meghan markle
(Image credit: Erik Pendzich)

One of the main reasons Meghan Markle and Prince Harry moved to the U.S. was to stretch their advocacy across the pond and focus their energies on the issues that matter most to them. Paid parental leave has been a big issue for the Sussexes, since in the U.S. there is no national paid family leave policy—something that’s been blamed for the recent worker shortage, among other problems.

This week, Duchess Meghan penned an impassioned open letter to the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-MD), in which she called herself “an engaged citizen and a parent."

"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," she wrote. "In fact, most nations already have paid leave policies in place."

It’s not exactly a controversial stance to write a letter in favor of paid leave to the two politicians in charge of Congress. But some Republicans have since spoken out about Meghan’s advocacy, telling her to stay in her lane when it comes to political issues.

dublin, ireland july 11 prince harry, duke of sussex and meghan, duchess of sussex meet irelands president, michael higgins l at aras an uachtarain during day two of their visit to ireland on july 11, 2018 in dublin, ireland photo by clodagh kilcoyne wpa poolgetty images

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry wading into politics by posing with Irish President Michael Higgins

(Image credit: WPA Pool)

In a statement to the Daily Mail, Representative Jason Smith, a Republican from Missouri, even suggested stripping her and Prince Harry of their royal titles. “'Ms. Markle's latest interference in U.S. politics reignites the question in my mind as to why the Royal Family does not simply strip her and Harry officially of their titles, particularly since she insists on sending this under the pretense of being the Duchess of Sussex,” he told the publication. A few other members of the party joined in, arguing that the royal family should not weigh in on politics in the future. But it's hard to figure out what it means for an issue to even be considered political in the current climate (more on this in a second).

This is not the first time Rep. Smith has called for the Sussexes to have their titles stripped because they said a thing he didn’t like. Last year, he argued they should be removed from royal duties for interfering in the U.S. election. The interference in question? Prince Harry told his social media followers to “reject hate speech” in the upcoming election. (Earlier this year, Smith was one of the 147 elected officials who voted to overturn a legally held election in order to hand the presidency back to Donald Trump.)

representative jason smith, a republican from missouri and ranking member of the house budget committee, left, speaks during a house rules committee hearing at the us capitol in washington, dc, us, on monday, aug 23, 2021 president bidens $41 trillion economic agenda, after early progress in the senate, now faces a crucial test this week in the us house, where speaker pelosi must keep her fractious democratic majority moving in lockstep photographer stefani reynoldsbloomberg via getty images

Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) wants Meghan Markle’s royal title stripped over what he views as her political standpoints

(Image credit: Bloomberg)

In a larger sense, it’s hard to really see why Meghan’s letter is political—defenders say that her purpose was to advocate for human rights, and that there's nothing inherently Democratic or Republican about paid family leave (or human rights more generally). It has been a traditionally bipartisan issue, and was even a major point for Ivanka Trump’s advocacy during her time as a White House advisor in her father's administration. But it’s interesting that some Republicans in Congress have a knee-jerk reaction to otherwise regular human rights issues, seeing them as somehow antithetical to their views.

Similarly, looking at the rejection of hate speech as somehow politically opposed to Republican ideology is...telling, no? Prince Harry’s message, like Meghan’s letter, did not support any politicians or political party by name. In fact, there was probably a time not so long ago when rejecting hate speech was something most Americans would agree is a good thing to do actually.

So by the logic presented by Rep. Smith, Republicans see hate speech as so central to their platform that rejecting hate speech is a rejection of Republicanism itself. I guess what I’m saying is, that’s a pretty big self-own and maybe politicians should just not weigh in on the royal family in the future?

Read Meghan’s full letter here.

Cady Drell

Cady Drell is a writer, editor, researcher and pet enthusiast from Brooklyn.