Meghan spoke about being inspired by Me Too and Times Up, social movements against sexual abuse and sexual harassment, in early 2018, after being welcomed as the fourth patron of the Royal Foundation. Meghan’s mention of these movements was perfectly fitting with her past charitable work, focused on female empowerment and gender equality.
However, one royal biographer noted, the fact that Times Up’s representatives were pushing for legislation in the US Congress linked the movement to politics – a realm from which senior members of the Royal Family are required to stay away.
Royal expert Robert Lacey wrote in his upcoming book Battle of Brothers: “It was announced that Meghan would become a fourth trustee, and she expressed the hope that the foundation might extend its support to the women’s empowerment movement that was developing in the US from the recent Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandals.”
Mr Lacey recalled Meghan’s mention of Me Too and Times Up at the first Royal Foundation Forum, where the Cambridges and the Sussexes set out their charitable visions for the future.
Mr Lacey continued: “Everybody nodded approvingly. Yet no one – neither on the stage, nor in the audience, nor even in the attentive and critical press pack – appeared to realise quite how revolutionary was this suggestion that the new recruit was making.
“Created in America only the previous month and linked to #MeToo, #TimesUp was a $13 million legal defence fund seeking legislation to discipline and punish companies that tolerated sexual harassment.
“Legislation meant politics – and in royal terms politics was simply taboo.
“It was a total no-no for the British Royal Family to endorse any cause, no matter how virtuous, that could be seen to take one political side against another.”
Meghan had shown an interest in politics years before joining the Royal Family by marriage.
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Ahead of Donald Trump’s election in 2016, the then-Suits star had branded him “divisive” and “misogynist”.
Meghan and Harry eventually stepped down as senior royals in March this year, gaining more freedom to speak about causes senior royals are normally required not to comment on.
In August, the Duchess of Sussex clearly suggested her intention to vote in the upcoming US election.
Issuing a statement to Marie Claire magazine, which asked her why she would vote on November 3, the Duchess said: “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.
“One of my favourite quotes, and one that my husband and I have referred to often, is from Kate Sheppard, a leader in the suffragist movement in New Zealand, who said, ‘Do not think your single vote does not matter much.
“‘The rain that refreshes the parched ground is made up of single drops’. That is why I vote.”
Meghan has spoken alone about voter registration and how important she deems the upcoming US vote in a series of virtual summits she attended over the summer.
But in September she was also joined by Prince Harry in her plea to cast a ballot in the “most important election of our lifetime”.
Speaking in a clip recorded for the ABC’s Time 100 special, the Duke said he has never voted in his life but he considered important to stay away from hate and misinformation online ahead of the election.
Harry, as a senior royal, would not have been barred by the law from voting in the general or local elections.
However, royal protocol dictates all members of the Royal Family, and not just the Queen, remain as politically neutral as possible.