Meghan Markle makes royal history by voting in US election

Kristine Tarbert
·Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

Meghan Markle has made royal history after it was confirmed she will vote in the US presidential election.

The Duchess of Sussex and husband Prince Harry had already broken royal protocol by campaigning to encourage people in the US to vote and now a source close to Meghan confirmed she “is voting in this election”.

SEPTEMBER 16th 2020: Meghan Markle and other high profile celebrities are boycotting Instagram in protest against parent company Facebook's handling of misinformation and hate. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-178/STAR MAX/IPx 2018 7/11/18 Meghan The Duchess of Sussex visits Croke Park - the home of Ireland's largest sporting organization - the Gaelic Athletic Association. (Dublin, Ireland)
Meghan has broken royal protocol by voting in the US election. Photo: AP

Meghan has thrown herself into campaigning since returning to her home state of California earlier this year.

She and Harry, who cannot vote in the US, have made multiple public statements encouraging Americans to vote, which has drawn some criticism on both sides of the Atlantic.

Members of the British Royal Family are not explicitly banned from voting, but avoid doing so to ensure political neutrality.

However the Queen has previously spoken about voting, encouraging Welsh voters to engage with democracy during a year of particularly low turnout in the Assembly elections.

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex(L) arrives at the British High Commissioner residency in Johannesburg where she  will meet with Graca Machel, widow of former South African president Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg, on October 2, 2019. - Prince Harry recalled the hounding of his late mother Diana to denounce media treatment of his wife Meghan Markle, as the couple launched legal action against a British tabloid for invasion of privacy. (Photo by Michele Spatari / AFP) (Photo by MICHELE SPATARI/AFP via Getty Images)
Meghan has been vocal about voting since her return to the US. Photo: Getty

Prince Harry and Meghan moved to California, where Meghan grew up, in March. She quickly got involved in encouraging people to vote, though she was careful not to directly endorse any particular candidate.

In September, at the Time 100 event, Harry broke his silence on American politics, saying: “This election I’m not going to be able to vote here in the US.

“Many of you may not know that I haven’t been able to vote in the UK my entire life.

“As we approach this November it’s vital we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity.”

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The prince also did not name a specific candidate or party, in his comments.

Meghan, 39, had previously called Donald Trump, the current president and Republican candidate, “divisive” and “misogynistic”, before she married Harry.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 09: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attend the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 at Westminster Abbey on March 9, 2020 in London, England. The Commonwealth represents 2.4 billion people and 54 countries, working in collaboration towards shared economic, environmental, social and democratic goals. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Harry and Meghan moved to California in March after leaving their royal duties. (Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Harry and Meghan’s comments were badly received in the UK, with various polls showing a majority of respondents thought they should be stripped of their royal titles.

A YouGov poll of more than 3,000 adults in Britain found more than a quarter of people said they should keep their titles, while 25% did not know, and nearly half said they should lose them.

A Tatler poll released in September found 68% agreed Harry and Meghan should have their titles as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex taken from them after stepping down as working royals and moving to the US.

Though the pair never named a candidate they backed, many argued their status as former royals in the UK means they should not weigh into the election in any capacity, and that some of the statements seemed to swing towards the Democrats.

As a member of the royal family, Harry has never voted in the UK as royals are required to remain politically neutral. He is not a citizen of the US and, therefore, won’t be casting a vote this election either.

Many members of the Belgian royal family can and do vote, with only the reigning King and Queen exempt from casting a ballot.

Additional reporting by Rebecca Taylor.

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