Meghan Markle Finally Gets to Speak Her Mind Without Royal Backlash

Meghan Duchess of Sussex is speaking out.

The 38-year-old has been staying out of the public eye while she and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, adjust to life in Los Angeles with their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. Aside from an announcement about a new charitable foundation and a social media post in honor of Archie’s birthday, the family of three has been keeping a low profile.

But now Meghan is speaking her mind about the murder of George Floyd by police. Keep reading to find out what Meghan said and why she wouldn’t have been able to make such a speech if she were still a senior royal. 

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry step back as senior royals

Meghan Markle on 'Good Morning America'
Meghan Markle on Good Morning America | ABC News/Frame Grab via Getty Images

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In January 2020, Meghan and Harry shared the news they intended to step back as senior members of the royal family. The move came after the couple (and Archie) took a break from the royal spotlight over the holiday season. 

Prior to that, Meghan and Harry opened up about what they’d been going through in the documentary Harry and Meghan: An African Journey. The Duchess of Sussex shared she was “not OK” amidst her experience in the royal spotlight and Harry said he and his brother, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge are “on different paths.”  

Harry and Meghan spent the first few months of 2020 transitioning out of their senior royal roles until they officially stepped down at the end of March 2020. Giving up their HRH (His/Her Royal Highness) titles among other things, the couple still has to follow a certain set of rules.

The British royal family stays away from politics

As the monarch, Queen Elizabeth II is expected to be impartial. She doesn’t vote in elections because it’s considered unconstitutional for her to do so. 

“As Head of State, the Queen has to remain strictly neutral with respect to political matters, unable to vote or stand for election,” the royal family’s official website says. 

Queen Elizabeth II and Meghan Markle in 2018
Queen Elizabeth II and Meghan Markle in 2018 | Neil Mockford/GC Images

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As representatives of the queen, royals also shy away from voting or anything political. They make it a point not to make comments about political issues or appear to play favorites with elected officials or candidates for office. That’s why Meghan, who has previously voiced her opinions on political matters, refrained from doing so as a senior member of the royal family. 

Meghan Markle’s graduation address about George Floyd

Now that Meghan and Harry are no longer senior royals, they don’t have to be so limited with what they can and can’t say. Enter Meghan’s address to graduating seniors at her alma mater, L.A.’s Immaculate Heart High School.

Via a video call, she shared her thoughts on Floyd’s murder admitting she’d been “really nervous” to say he wrong thing. She went on to talk about her personal experience witnessing riots in L.A. and told the graduates, “I know you know that black lives matter.”

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The stunning speech proved to be remarkable because just a few months ago, Meghan probably wouldn’t have been able to make the same comments because of her standing in the royal family. Had she said the same speech as a senior royal, she would’ve received backlash for not remaining impartial. 

That’s not the only statement she’s made about Black Lives Matter

Royals can’t make obvious political statements but they can show their support in other, more subtle ways. Now, Meghan’s able to be more obvious and outspoken with her views.

On June 1, 2020, the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust posted to Twitter about Black Lives Matter. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are the president and vice-president of the organization.

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With the tweet and Meghan’s subsequent speech, it’s clear royals are getting more politically active. With the restrictions of senior royals no more, it seems we’ll be hearing more from Meghan (and Harry).