On Wednesday, a video featuring Meghan Markle talking to the legendary feminist author Gloria Steinem dropped online—the latest declaration of Meghan’s intent to participate in the 2020 election.
As The Daily Beast first reported a few weeks ago, Meghan is determined to play a role in firing up the youth and Black vote in November. Although she has not overtly endorsed Biden and Harris (as yet), given her 2016 vow to leave the country if Trump got elected, her mentions this time round of voting to “deliver change,” and a discussion about voter intimidation and voter suppression, it seems fairly clear which side she is on.
Indeed, at the outset of the newly published chat, Steinem firmly claims Meghan as a Democrat when she says: “Really, we’ve been rescued by women of color in all of our recent elections because of a vote of conscience and compassion. The heart of the Democratic Party has been Black women, actually, and now there is a potential vice president who is Black and that’s exciting.”
Meghan didn’t contradict Steinem’s implicit assumption, responding: “I’m so excited to see that kind of representation. You know, for me, being biracial, growing up, whether it was a doll or a person in office, you need to see someone who looks like you in some capacity.”
Markle’s political activism has been greeted with a shrug of the shoulders in Britain’s royal palaces, where reps for the Queen, William and Kate, and Charles all said they would have nothing to say to The Daily Beast in regard to the issue of the Duchess of Sussex’s latest remarks.
The insouciance is unsurprising, it is indeed very likely that the royals in general, who are all still on their summer holidays and have little interest in stoking further controversy after the relentless headlines produced by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand’s book, Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family, are considerably more relaxed about Meghan taking a political line than some of Meghan’s critics in the media.
Online and print commentators have been vociferous in demanding that she should be, for example, stripped of her title of duchess, or complaining that by getting active in the forthcoming election she is dragging the monarchy into political controversy.
Of course, that’s a gross over-reaction, and the synthetic outrage of professional Meghan critics such as Piers Morgan (who writes for the Daily Mail, a publication which is being sued by Meghan, so hardly likely to heap praise on her) should not be interpreted as reflecting wider opinion in the general public or within the establishment of royalty.
As some of Meghan’s online defenders have pointed out, if anyone needs to be stripped of their royal titles, a more urgent candidate for such humiliation might be the noted friend of pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, Prince Andrew.
The pretense by these critics that the individual members of the monarchy have religiously refrained from expressing opinions on political matters since the days of Oliver Cromwell is patently nonsense; Prince Charles has spent much of the past four decades making his views known on everything from ecological farming and homeopathic medicine to water management and architecture, wrote dozens of letters lobbying government—and still appears to be first in line to the throne.
Indeed, Charles is likely to be enormously sympathetic to Meghan’s straightforward desire to use her platform to make the world a better place. The only thing that is likely to have really surprised anyone in the inner royal orbit about the new video is that the privacy-loving Meghan allowed her new back garden to be the set.
The truth is, if you really drill down into the substance of Meghan’s interviews with either Steinem, or The 19th, or her speech at her alma mater, it’s hard to find anything remotely controversial in her comments.
You may or may not like Meghan, but most people would agree that “get out and vote,” which is her core message, is hardly a radical or disruptive or outrageous supplication.
As the writer Christopher Andersen, author of The New York Times bestselling book Diana’s Boys, told The Daily Beast via email: “It’s no secret that she despises Donald Trump—she calls him a ‘misogynist’ and he calls her ‘nasty’—but I think it’s quite fascinating how she makes her point about the election without actually mentioning either candidate by name. She’s all about getting out the vote, making a change. She says, ‘We all know what’s at stake,’ but again, she never crosses the line to officially endorse Joe Biden or slam the current president.
“Meghan may now be a Windsor by marriage, but she is also an American through and through, and I think people on both sides of the political fence believe this is an election unlike any other. Frankly, I would find it very disappointing if she just sat on her hands at this critical point in our history.
“Stripping Meghan of her title, as Piers Morgan has suggested, seems petty and vindictive. When she married Harry, Meghan did not renounce her U.S. citizenship, and she did not give up her First Amendment right to free speech. Harry respects that, as long Meghan stops short of naming names.”
Clearly, she doesn’t like Donald Trump and overtly campaigning for Biden and Harris by name would be, as Andersen notes, a more provocative turn of events. Although unlikely, it could still happen; Meghan’s friends have consistently declined to rule it out (her official spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment from The Daily Beast).
A truly extraordinary turn of events, of course, would be Meghan running for office herself. Lady Colin Campbell, the author of new biography Harry and Meghan: The Real Story, claims in her book that Meghan does indeed have an eye on one day running for the presidency.
Campbell told The Daily Beast: “She is confirming by her actions information that I received about her political ambitions. There is no doubt that she is positioning herself to be an authority figure in terms of Democratic Party politics in the USA. She has called for change, and by calling for change she has called for the Democratic Party to be voted into power.
“My information was from very reliable sources, people she spoke to and had delegated and instructed in terms of achieving her political ambitions. Everything that is happening shows she is using her status to enhance her profile and enter the political arena to as a supporter of the Democratic Party.
“My common sense tells me that she could easily fall by wayside, but I have been told that Meghan has articulated the belief that if Joe Biden gets in, Kamala Harris will be the first female president of the U.S.A. before the end of the 4 yr term, and that she is hopeful of the possibility of a chance to be Kamala’s running mate as VP.” (The Biden campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.)
Unbelievable? Well, no more so than a boorish reality-TV star becoming president.