Meghan Markle under fire over Duchess of Sussex title use in support of political campaign

Meghan Markle used Sussex title to lobby US senators

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Meghan Markle has been accused of taking advantage of the “centuries of reputational credibility” behind her royal title Duchess of Sussex as she continues to use it whilst engaging in a new political campaign. It has emerged that the 40-year-old former actress has been cold-calling Republican Senators to advocate for a national paid leave policy, and introducing herself with the formal title. GB News host Colin Brazier commented that Meghan clearly understands “corporate imaging” as she and Prince Harry establish themselves as public figures in the United States.

Mr Brazier told his evening show viewers: “Well, Meghan Markle has played a few roles in her life but this time she was actually playing herself, calling to lobby unpaid for a political cause.

“Now the idea that Meghan Markle could be cold-calling senior American politicians out of the blue will strike some people as odd, but there’s nothing wrong about it if she can persuade someone who has the private phone numbers of senior politicians to share them with her then fair enough. It’s the sort of thing journalists do all the time.

“What’s arguably improper about this is that opening line – we all get cold calls from people trying to flog us with something we don’t want, they often try and capture our interests with a clever one-liner.

“But only one person in the world gets to deploy that hum-dinger of an opening gambit ‘Hi, it’s the Duchess of Sussex’. 

“Behind those few syllables lies centuries of reputational credibility, and this is a woman who understands the power of corporate imaging. She and her husband after all have signed up to help a bank with its branding.”

Following the couple’s decision to step down from the Royal Family, they were told to renounce their HRH status as part of their Megxit deal but were permitted to keep their Sussex titles. 

Speaking of her phone conversation with Meghan, Senator Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia told Politico: “I’m in my car. I’m driving. It says caller ID blocked. Honestly … I thought it was Sen. Manchin. His calls come in blocked. And she goes ‘Sen. Capito?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ She said, ‘This is Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.”

The duchess was calling to lobby for a national parental paid leave policy, following the letter she penned to the US Congress two weeks ago. 

Meghan Markle urges lawmakers to pass paid family leave

In a 1,000 word document addressed to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Republican Majority leader Chuck Schumer, Meghan said it was a “national right” to have a paid leave program that was accessible “without stigma or penalty”. 

She had reflected on her own childhood and said that she had felt “lucky” to eat at the $4.99 salad bar at Sizzler, as she was aware of the sacrifices her parents had to make. 

In an impassioned plea, she said that “no family should have to choose between earning a living and having the freedom to take care of their child.”

The US is currently one of the only developed nations that do not offer a parental paid leave program, and only 7% of low-wage workers are even guaranteed a single day sickness paid leave.

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Following the phone calls, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand revealed to Politico that she was the one who gave the phone numbers to the Duchess, adding: “She’s going to call some others, so I let them know in advance.

“She wants to be part of a working group to work on paid leave long term and she’s going to be. Whether this comes to fruition now or later, she’ll be part of a group of women that hopefully will work on paid leave together.”

The duchess also called the Republican Senator of Maine, Susan Collins, who said that whilst she was “happy” to discuss the matter with Meghan, she was “more interested” in consulting the people of Maine. 

Both Prince Harry and Meghan have championed a number of causes since moving to the US, which has included vaccine equity and the unemployment rates of women due to the pandemic. 

Their non-profit foundation Archewell is promising to tackle issues around climate change, mental health and gender equality, whilst the couple have announced a number of partnerships with brands such as Ethic, a sustainable investment bank. 

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