Meghan Markle uses royal title to call Senators, trolls say 'no place in US politics'

'She introduced herself as the Duchess of Sussex,' confirmed Susan Collins, after Markle cold-called Senators to lobby for paid paternity leave


                            Meghan Markle uses royal title to call Senators, trolls say 'no place in US politics'
Meghan Markle speaks onstage during Global Citizen Live, New York on September 25, 2021, in New York City (John Lamparski/Getty Images)
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President Joe Biden is facing an uphill battle from within his own party to pass his massive $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill. On November 4, however, he got some unlikely support from Meghan Markle, but the news quickly turned to how she showed it. It appears the former Dutchess of Sussex has been calling up Senators, using her royal title to lobby the addition of paid parental leave.

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The flagship bill of the Biden Presidency has seen strong opposition from not just the GOP but also Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema. To help drum up support, the President embarked on a nationwide tour, that's made more headlines for his gaffes than his policy. Markle meanwhile, made news earlier this year for her much-publicized Oprah interview, following her and Harry's exit from the Royal family in 2020. 

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With the exit, the couple abandoned their royal titles and benefits and moved instead to the US. Since then, they've embarked on several media projects, including Harry's famous 'The Me You Can't See' series with Oprah on Apple TV Plus. However, it seems Markle was more than happy to use her title when lobbying for Biden's bill, leaving many Senators confused and miffed, to say the least.

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Collins calls encounter 'kind of ironic'

It's long been rumors Markle is considering an entry into US politics, so it is perhaps not very surprising she would lobby for issues close to her - such as paid parental leave. The issue appears to be a deal-breaker ahead of the upcoming vote on the bill, so Markle decided to chip in. She reportedly got in touch with New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who gave her the numbers for GOP Senators Susan Collins and Shelley Moore Capito.

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Markle then dialed up the two women, urging them to get behind the provision. "I'm in my car. I'm driving. It says caller ID blocked. Honestly, I thought it was Senator Manchin," Capito told POLITICO. When she answered, the caller said  "This is Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex." Collins faced a similar encounter, telling the publication, "Much to my surprise, she called me on my private line and she introduced herself as the Duchess of Sussex, which is kind of ironic." She however quickly dismissed the call, adding, "I was happy to talk with her. But I’m more interested in what the people of Maine are telling me about it."

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The calls were revealed by POLITICO's reporter Marianne LeVine in a series of tweets. The calls come weeks after Markle wrote a letter to Democrats on October 20, urging them to get behind the provision. Under Biden's original proposal, new parents would get 12 weeks of leave, which was watered down to just four after opposition. News of her calls quickly spread on social media, and people certainly had a lot to say about Markle's use of titles.

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'Don’t want a Hollywood has-been'

"Meghan Markle needs to understand you can’t have it both ways. Disavow your title and then later use it to try and pressure people to do something for you. Can’t be having it both ways sweet thing," one person tweeted. Another commented, "Last I heard Meghan Markle is American and can call senators all she wants, however, The Duchess of Sussex has no place at all in US politics. The use of her title to sway policy in America is totally uncalled for PERIOD, it's just wrong! IMO."

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Colin Brazier of GBNews tweeted, ""Hi, this is the Duchess of Sussex." If you have to cold call someone, impress them with the force of your argument. Not by trading on the royal title of an institution you and your husband have done so much to undermine." Another commented, "Unreal. She used a British title “earned” by marrying a prince of a country she’s not even a citizen of (and never can be), to lobby her own country’s representatives on their personal cell phones without their permission. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction."

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Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri tweeted, "Royal Reject Meghan Markle is using her former title to lobby Washington and encourage even more Big Government overreach. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a Hollywood has-been telling me how to live my life. Chip in now to help fight back." One person said, "Meghan Markle the American citizen can call senators all day long it’s her right as an American but Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex has no place meddling in US politics. The use of her title to influence policy here in America is WRONG! Whether I agree with her stance or not."

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The paid parental leave was removed entirely from the bill by the US Senate but added back days later by the House of Representatives. The US is currently the only developed nation without a parental leave law, something liberal Democrats are hoping to change. The opposition is not to the policy itself, but its cost. Biden's original 12-week plan would cost the federal government around $225 billion. It's unclear if Markle's lobbying will make much of a difference, given that the GOP is strongly opposed to the entire bill, and not just the parental leave provision. 

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