Meghan Markle Would Have to Abandon Her Royal Title to Run for Political Office

The Duchess’s political ambitions make perfect sense, but she’ll have to make a hard choice if she follows through with them.

meghan markle politics
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Meghan Markle has shown that she’s willing to put the full force of her famous name behind royal causes. In the last two months alone, she cold-called Senators to pressure them to make paid family leave a reality, she and Harry took a stand for vaccine equality on a trip to New York, and their non-profit Archewell just pledged to go net-zero carbon by 2030. One reason for the outspokenness? Her rumored intentions to run for office (possibly, according to one source, for a Senate seat in California). But if she does, she may have to ditch her royal title because of, fittingly, the Constitution of the United States of America. 

Speaking to Express UK, Harvard Professor Mark Tushnet pointed to Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution, called the Foreign Emoluments Clause, which says that no person holding office shall accept a Title “of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State” without the express consent of Congress. And according to Tushnet, if Meghan Markle wants to run for political office, that’s probably not going to happen: “I don’t think it’s ever happened before. I think the chances of Congress allowing her to retain her titles would be very slim,” he told Express. 

He continued, “Politically it would be quite damaging, I think, for her to retain the titles. Opponents will seize on anything, and this will be a hook to say ‘well she’s not really a true American.’” 

The rule sort of makes sense from an historical perspective. After all, the U.S. as a country was largely founded on not being under the thumb of royalty. And though the ban on noble titles wasn’t introduced into the Constitution until 1810, its goal was to minimize the possibility of foreign countries and their leaders influencing U.S. politics. 

But even if Meghan did have to ditch the royal title, Tushnet told the publication he doubted that it would be much of a blow. “Having been a royal, the celebrity status would still attach, whether she has a formal title or not.”

It’s a tough choice! But either way, she’ll likely remain an outspoken advocate of the causes she cares about. 

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