Meghan Markle may have broken royal protocol this week when she made a “political statement” during an appearance this week.
At a panel discussion for The Royal Foundation with Prince Harry, Kate Middleton and Prince William on Monday, Markle spoke out about women’s empowerment and the “Me Too” movement.
“You will hear people saying they are helping women find their voices,” Markle said, according to W magazine. “I fundamentally disagree with that because women don’t need to find their voices; they need to be empowered to use it and people need to be urged to listen.”
It is considered highly unorthodox or a no-no for a member of the royal family to share an opinion on a political subject — but that’s not to say people haven’t done so — and Markle still has not married into the British royal house.
The Queen, for example, remains neutral on political topics. To ensure she does this, she has a policy of never disclosing what she discusses with the U.K. prime minister during their weekly meeting, and the prime minister does follows suit.
The issue of royals having political opinions, however, has definitely popped up throughout history.
Edward VIII’s engagement to Wallis Simpson caused a constitutional crisis in 1936. Since Simpson was divorced, the marriage would have come in conflict with Edward VIII’s status as head of the Church of England. At the time, the Church disapproved of remarriage following divorce if a former spouse was still alive.
Instead of igniting the chaos in which his marriage would have prompted the U.K. government to resign, Edward VIII opted to abdicate rather than destroy the status he was supposed to maintain as a politically neutral monarch.
Prince Philip has prompted outrage numerous times for his numerous gaffes and comments that many have deemed racist and sexist, many of which have also been politically sensitive.
Prince Charles has caused controversy on numerous occasions by expressing political opinions – most famously with the so-called “black spider memos.” These are letters written by the Prince of Wales to British government ministers and politicians over many years, and they’re controversial because since Charles will one day be King, some argue this destroys his political neutrality.
But there are those who say the idea members of the royal family shouldn’t hold political opinions is outdated and should be changed, in the same way it has modernized its policies on divorce since Edward VIII’s abdication.
So, should royals be allowed to express political opinions? Let us know by voting in the poll above.