Is Meghan Markle Breaking Royal Protocol If She Votes in the US Election?
Meghan Markle and her husband, Prince Harry, broke away from the British royal family and moved to the United States just in time for the 2020 Presidential election. Royal protocol dictates that members of the royal family remain neutral on political matters. Does this mean that Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, would be breaking protocol if she votes in the upcoming election?
Royals have the right to vote, but usually don’t
According to Hello magazine, members of the royal family do have the right to vote, just like any other UK citizen. However, the senior royals closest to Queen Elizabeth follow her lead and stay out of the voting booth to remain politically neutral in public.
Avoiding an election, though, isn’t really an option for Meghan. The Los Angeles native was very vocal about her political beliefs and exercising the right to vote before she married into the royal family.
In 2016, she wrote on her now-shuttered blog The Tig that the “right to vote is something for which blood, sweat, and tears have been shed.” The former Suits star also told her fans at the time that she cast an absentee ballot during the 2016 election.
“I ticked the boxes on my absentee ballot last week, closing my eyes and thinking of my great grandparents who didn’t have this right (and thinking of how it would have changed the lives of my grandparents if they had).”
Queen Elizabeth remains neutral for a reason
There is no British law that prevents Queen Elizabeth from voting in an election, but the U.K. parliament website says that it is “considered unconstitutional for the Monarch to vote.” The reason the queen stays neutral is because no matter which political party is in power, it is Her Majesty’s government.
Her formal role in the election process comes the day after, when Queen Elizabeth invites the leader of the winning party for a visit before they become prime minister.
According to Newsweek, the Queen’s ceremonial duties as head of state include signing bills into law and meeting with foreign dignitaries.
Because the monarch is in a position that could bring massive political influence with absolutely no accountability to UK citizens, it is important that the queen stays politically neutral. The same rule applies to everyone in the line of succession.
From Meghan’s perspective, she doesn’t have that kind of responsibility or power. However, she does have influence. She recently hinted that she will be heading to the polls in November to exercise her right to vote.
Meghan Markle explains why voting is so important
Meghan is not in the line of succession to the throne like her husband, Prince Harry. She has also stepped down as a senior member of the royal family. As an American citizen, Meghan is going to vote in 2020, even though it technically breaks royal protocol.
“I know what it’s like to have a voice, and also what it’s like to feel voiceless. I also know that so many men and women have put their lives on the line for us to be heard. And that opportunity, that fundamental right, is in our ability to exercise our right to vote and to make all of our voices heard,” the Duchess of Sussex said in a rare statement to Marie Claire.
She went on to share one of her favorite quotes from a leader of the New Zealand suffragist movement, Kate Sheppard. Meghan quoted Sheppard by saying that the rain that refreshes parched ground is made up of single drops.
“That is why I vote,” Meghan said.