Why Meghan Markle Can Discuss Feminism, but Kate Middleton Can’t

Meghan Markle is not your typical royal. Although she has complied with certain standards and royal rules, the Duchess of Sussex has also used her new platform to bring attention to certain subjects close to her heart. That’s especially true for women’s rights. Why can Meghan Markle speak up about her feminist beliefs and Kate Middleton can’t? Find out, ahead.

Meghan Markle’s views on women’s rights

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex walking together.
Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle are both feminists. | Stephen Pond/Getty Images

It’s no secret that the Duchess of Sussex — along with her husband, Prince Harry — is a strong advocate for women’s rights. Long before joining the royal family, the former actress was involved in organizations that supported female empowerment and outspoken about women’s right and gender equality on her former lifestyle blog, The Tig. And, now, as a member of the royal family, Her Royal Highness continues to be open about her opinions and views on the political matter.

That said, the royal family prefers to keep quiet on politically-charged conversations. However, they seem to have made an exception for their newest member. Even the royal family’s website draws attention to Meghan Markle’s interests and efforts in female empowerment. The Duchess of Sussex’s official biography even features a quote from her 2015 United Nations speech in which she exclaimed, “I am proud to be a woman and a feminist.”

So, why can Meghan Markle discuss this particular political interest and Kate Middleton can’t? It most likely has to do with her position in the royal family.

Kate Middleton is the future Queen Consort

Unlike Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton will one day be Queen (consort) of England. Because of that, the Duchess of Cambridge must follow stricter rules — especially when it comes to politics.

The royal family is notoriously hush-hush when it comes to politically charged subjects — which is why we never hear Queen Elizabeth II discuss certain topics that other world leaders (like presidents and prime ministers) touch on. And, although Prince Charles is an advocate for sustainability and conscientious of climate change, he plans to remain politically neutral once he ascends the throne and becomes King of England. Because Kate Middleton is married to a future king, she likely has to follow suit with certain royal standards.

However, that’s not to say that Kate Middleton doesn’t agree with her sister-in-law’s views. Many of the Duchess of Cambridge’s royal engagements and interest evolve around her interests in lifting other women up and offering support when needed. So, while she might not say it flat out like Meghan Markle, she certainly shows it.

Appealing to the public

The royal family has made certain changes to their structure that suggest they support gender equality and advocate for women’s rights (after all, their monarch is a woman). In fact, they recently changed a stuffy old succession rule that now allows Princess Charlotte to keep her place in line to the British throne, despite having a younger brother. But, they have to be smart and strategic about their efforts, as it is in their best interest to stay as neutral as possible.

That’s likely why the crown allows Meghan Markle (and Prince Harry, who also claims to be a feminist) to speak about certain subjects. Since she and Prince Harry will most-likely never ascend the throne, they have more freedom to be outspoken about their interests and keep the royal family relevant in more modern-day topics like women’s rights.

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