Meghan Markle is making royal history.
The Duchess of Sussex will reportedly vote today in the US presidential election, making her the first member of the Royal Family to exercise her right to vote. (Remember, even though she’s no longer a senior royal, Markle is still a member of the Royal Family.)
A source close to Markle confirmed to Newsweek that “the duchess is voting” although they didn’t say whether she will cast her ballot today or whether she participated in advance voting.
Markle’s husband, Prince Harry, cannot vote in this election as he is not an American citizen (Markle was born in California), and it’s also standard for members of the Royal Family to abstain from the voting process in Britain and remain politically neutral.
In September, the Duke of Sussex urged Americans to vote during a Time100 TV special. “This election I’m not going to be able to vote here in the U.S., but many of you may not know I haven’t been able to vote in the U.K. my entire life.
“As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity.”
WATCH: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry speak out on the importance of voting. Story continues below.
Markle also chimed in on the importance of voting in this election, noting the historical significance of the race between President Donald Trump and his democratic opponent, former vice-president Joe Biden.
“Every four years we are told the same thing, that this is the most important election of our lifetime,” the duchess said. “But this one is. When we vote, our values are put into action and our voices are heard. Your voice is a reminder that you matter, because you do and you deserve to be heard.”
Buckingham Palace distanced itself from the duke and duchess’ comments, with a spokesperson saying, “The duke is not a working member of the Royal Family and any comments he makes are in a personal capacity.”
In an earlier conversation Markle had with famous activist and feminist Gloria Steinem, the two women spoke at length about Black representation in politics and women’s rights. Steinem later told Access Hollywood that Markle “came home to vote,” and added they both cold-called voters.
While Markle didn’t explicitly endorse a candidate, she mentioned she was “excited” to potentially see Joe Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, become vice-president.
“You know, for me, being biracial growing up — whether it was a doll or a person in office, you need to see someone who looks like you in some capacity. As many of us believe, you can only be what you can see,” Markle told Steinem. “And in the absence of that, how can you aspire to something greater than what you see in your own world?”
The two also touched on voter suppression, an issue that’s come up at length during this election cycle — critics have recently accused Trump and his legal team of encouraging a widespread attempt to to suppress voters and the Texas Supreme Court on Sunday denied a Republican-led petition to toss nearly 127,000 ballots cast at drive-thru voting places.
Markle noted that historically, people of colour have been intimidated while waiting in line to cast their vote. “And then you think, ‘You know, it’s not worth it.’ You decide to step out of line and relinquish your right to vote,” she said. “That’s bad enough, but then there’s a ripple effect because whoever is in the back of the line says, ‘Whatever they did to them, I don’t want that to happen to me.’ That, I think, is so frightening.”
The duchess’ comments seemed to ruffle Trump’s feathers comb-over — in September, a reporter told the president the duke and duchess “essentially encouraged people to vote for Joe Biden.” Trump replied, “I’m not a fan of hers. She probably has heard that. But I wish a lot of luck to Harry because he’s going need need it.”
Best of luck to our American friends!
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