As former senior members of the British Royal Family who now enjoy lives of relative privacy in sunny SoCal, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are in a unique situation.
Yes, their circumstances draw a lot of comparisons to those of King Edward VII and his American bride Wallis Simpson, but there are certain key differences.
For one, the deposed king and his wife were shamed into living the rest of their lives in a sort of posh exile, taking up residence in France, and only speaking to the press about innocuous matters, such as their home decor.
Conversely, Meghan and Harry have made it quite clear that they won’t be silenced.
Be it the shoddy treatment that they received during their time in London or the plight of the working poor in America, the Duke and Duchess of Susssex clearly have no compunctions about speaking their mind.
Earlier this week, Meghan wrote about her own impoverished childhood in an open letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The goal of the letter was to encourage members of congress to back legislation that would guarantee 12 weeks of paid family leave for working parents when they welcome a child.
The legislation is popular with American voters, but its faced opposition in Congress from Republicans who are hoping to limit spending.
Now, several member of the opposition party are speaking out about what they feel is undue interference from a woman who’s privilege has put her out of touch with the people she claims to support.
“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,” Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo told the Daily Mail this week.
“While her attempts at appealing to working class families by recalling her days of eating at Sizzler were laughable, her comments make crystal clear that the passage of this massive tax-and-spend bill is aimed more at helping global elites get huge tax breaks than helping the working families she claims to have dined with,” Smith added, referencing a passage in Meghan’s letter in which she recalled her family’s efforts to curb spending during nights out.
“Meghan Markle is incredibly out of touch with the American people and should stick to acting instead of trying to play politics,” Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Michn chimed in.
“The last thing we need right now is wealthy celebrities pushing their liberal agendas on the American people.”
Oin the other side of the pond, UK-based royal commentator Angela Levin lambasted Meghan for allegedly interfering in affairs that are none of her business.
“Meghan’s two page letter to lobby Congress about giving money on parental leave, is obviously another step towards trying to turn herself into a politician. But the notepaper she is using is astonishingly ‘From the Office of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’ and shows how she isn’t even aware that she is talking to politicians in a republic that won its independence from the crown in 1776,” Levin told the Mail.
That’s obviously an obnoxiously smug remark as the fact that America is no longer a British colony doesn’t mean the toughts and opinions of British royals carry no weight here.
(We doubt that Levin would have relied on the same argument iof the Queen or Kate Middleton commented a piece of American legislation.)
“The truth is that the bill about parental leave is on its way to being confirmed, and could be hijack by Meghan’s belief it was largely due to her,” Levin added, somewhat nonsensically.
“In addition if she was writing a profession letter what on earth is she getting all cosy and intimate by stating the letter is also ‘on behalf of Archie and Lili – notice she is not calling her Lillibet, the Queen’s nickname – and Harry. Poor old Harry has come last.”
Fortunately, not all British commenters were quite so scathing in their remarks.
“Using the example of the $5 salad bar and how she had to struggle in the past is an attempt to link with the way so many families struggle to pay their bills,” said royal journalist Richard Fitzwilliams.
Fitzwilliams also believes that Meghan might have polticial aspirations, but he feels that might not be such a bad thing — provided her message of lifting herself out of humble beginnings can find a message with working class Americans.
“Aspiring politicians use these sort of examples and it remains to be seen, since she was privately educated and her father was one of Hollywood’s top lighting directors, whether the audience she seeks are impressed by her account of how she had to struggle,” he told the Mail.
“Meghan is where she is because she married into the royal family. It will be fascinating to see how, if she chooses politics, people in the US will regard her.”
Of course, if Meghan does enter the political arena, it will be difficult for potential voters to separate her platform from her status as a member of another nation’s royal family.
But if they’re able to move past that connection, they might find that Meghan’s unique life story makes her uniquely qualified to help others.