Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, made a rare and personal political statement on Wednesday as she wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer advocating for paid family leave.
‘I’m not an elected official, and I’m not a politician,’ Markle opened. ‘I’m writing to you at this deeply important time – as a mom – to advocate for paid leave.’
The duchess went on to detail her humble beginnings. ‘I grew up on the $4.99 salad bar at Sizzler,’ she said. ‘I knew how hard my parents worked to afford this because even at five bucks, eating out was something special, and I felt lucky.’
‘I started working (at the local frozen yogurt shop) at the age of 13. I waited tables, babysat, and piecemealed jobs together to cover odds and ends. I worked all my life and saved when and where I could—but even that was a luxury—because usually it was about making ends meet and having enough to pay my rent and put gas in my car.’
‘I expect many of your constituents have their own version of that story,’ she continued, before bashing the American economic system.
‘Many of our economic systems are past their expiration date, and as you well know, too many Americans are forced to shortchange themselves when it comes to what matters to them.’
The royal then recognized that she had not struggled in the same way many new parents who are not offered paid leave do.
‘In June, my husband and I welcomed our second child. Like any parents, we were overjoyed. Like many parents, we were overwhelmed. Like fewer parents, we weren’t confronted with the harsh reality of either spending those first few critical months with our baby or going back to work.’
Markle, pictured above with Prince Harry and her first born Archie, made a rare political statement on Wednesday
The duchess went on to detail her humble beginnings. ‘I grew up on the $4.99 salad bar at Sizzler,’ she said
A slice of happy family life: Sitting next to grandmother Jeanette, 12-year-old Meghan tucks into a cake at her cousin Donovan’s birthday party in 1993
Bart Simpson fan: Meghan on her 11th birthday with mum Doria in 1992, seen in adorable pictures kept by her uncle Joseph Johnson
She acknowledged ‘how politically charged things can — and have — become,’ but said that the issue ‘isn’t about Right or Left, it’s about right or wrong.’
Tucked into the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation plan is a national paid leave program that would offer 12 weeks to new parents, but as Democrats work to trim down the package to fit to a price tag Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., would approve of, but Biden informed Democrats that he would have to trim that number down to four weeks.
Progressives pushed back, with 15 Senate Democrats led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand writing to Schumer and Pelosi backing a more robust paid family and medical leave program.
The paid leave debate opened back up this week after it was revealed that Sec. Pete Buttigieg had been on paid leave after the birth of his twin newborns since mid-August.
Some on the right noted his absence in the midst of a supply chain crisis and rampant inflation, while the White House defended him, arguing that all Americans should be entitled to paid leave at the birth of a child.
Markle and her husband Prince Harry left as working members of the royal family in January 2020 and took up residence in Montecito, Calif.
Prince Harry and Markle have indicated that they are still considering whether their daughter Lilibet will be christened in Britain or America, after royal sources claimed the duke and duchess were likely to opt for an Episcopal ceremony in California instead.
Insiders had insisted that Lilibet’s christening at Windsor Castle was ‘highly unlikely’ and that the Sussexes were planning to have their four-month-old – born in Santa Barbara on June 4 and named after the Queen – baptised at the Episcopal Church of the US.
The claims, first made to the Telegraph, raised questions about whether the Queen, now 95, would ever get to meet her great-granddaughter in person. It had previously been suggested that Harry and Meghan – who dramatically quit their roles as working royals last year to become financially independent – would christen Lilibet Diana at Windsor Castle in front of the monarch.
Conducting the ceremony in the United States will mean that Lilibet will not be considered a ‘member’ of the Church of England automatically. However, the young royal could later join a Church of England congregation if she came to the UK.
Though Meghan – a multi-millionaire former actress who lives with her husband and children in a $14million LA mansion – attended a Catholic high school, she was baptised and confirmed into the CoE in a private ceremony conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.