Last month, we reported that Meghan Markle had written an open letter to Congress on the subject of guaranteed paid family leave for Americans.
The letter was addressed to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but it was clearly Meghan’s goal to capture the attention of the entire legislative branch.
And it’s safe to say that she was wildly successful in that regard.
Shortly after news of the letter went public, several house Republicans issued terse replies in which they demanded that Meghan either keep out of politics or be stripped of her royal titles.
They argued that no one who retains a title from a foreign nation should be permitted to meddle in American politics.
Their point is a confusing one, as Meghan is an American citizen who currently resides in Montecito, California, not far from her hometown of Los Angeles.
Yes, Meghan is a duchess and a member of the British Royal Family, but her time in the UK was short-lived, and she’s spent most of her life living in the US.
Furthermore, these same politicians probably wouldn’t object so vehemently if the Queen or Prince Charles were to weigh in on a similar matter, particularly if the views expressed by the royals aligned with the Republican point of view.
“I’m not an elected official, and I’m not a politician,” Meghan’s letter read.
“I am, like many, an engaged citizen and a parent. And because you and your congressional colleagues have a role in shaping family outcomes for generations to come, that’s why I’m writing to you at this deeply important time—as a mom—to advocate for paid leave.”
Undissuaded by the pushback she’s received, Meghan doubled down in her efforts this week and began contacting members of congress by phone.
According to a new report from Politico, several senators and representatives say they’ve spoken with Meghan on the phone in the past week.
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia told the site that she was stunned by the response she receives a call from a blocked number.
“Sen. Capito? This is Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex,” said the voice on the other end.
While it’s unclear if the Duchess’ efforts have had any impact, debate over the issue seems to be moving in her direction.
As recently as last week, family leave had been completely excised from the spending bill that’s been mired in Congress for the past several weeks.
But Representative Pelosi says the version of the bill that’s currently before Congress includes four weeks of family leave.
That’s down from the original 12, but still preferable to no paid leave at all, which was the case with the previous bill.
We may never know for sure if Meghan’s lobbying played a role in this surprising reversal, but one thing is for certain:
If the final version of the bill includes any paid family leave, then Meghan will likely gain some new enemies on this side of the pond.
Fortunately, she’s no stranger to butting heads with people in power.