Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Meghan Calls for Paid Parental Leave in Powerful Letter to Congress

In a powerful and personal letter, the Duchess of Sussex wrote to congress to advocate for paid parental leave for all. "In taking care of your child, you take care of your community, and you take care of your country—because when paid leave is a right, we’re creating a foundation that helps address mental health outcomes, health care costs, and economic strength at the starting line," the Duchess wrote in a piece published on the Paid Leave for All's website.

We've heard Meghan share her concerns on the impact the pandemic has add on women. In spring, Harry and Meghan discussed the issue privately with a storytelling group from MomsRising. In the letter the Duchess notes: "At an alarming rate, millions of women dropped out of the workforce, staying home with their kids as schools and daycares were closed, and looking after loved ones full-time. The working mom or parent is facing the conflict of being present or being paid. The sacrifice of either comes at a great cost." Meghan adds she's not an elected official or a politician, but is writing as "an engaged citizen and a parent". Reflecting on welcoming Lili to their family, she adds: "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. We knew we could take her home, and in that vital (and sacred) stage, devote any and everything to our kids and to our family."

Meghan writes of her own childhood and working hard throughout her life, often to make ends meet: "I grew up on the $4.99 salad bar at Sizzler—it may have cost less back then (to be honest, I can’t remember)—but what I do remember was the feeling: I knew how hard my parents worked to afford this because even at five bucks, eating out was something special, and I felt lucky. And as a Girl Scout, when my troop would go to dinner for a big celebration, it was back to that same salad bar or The Old Spaghetti Factory—because that’s what those families could afford to do too. 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. Perhaps you do too."

People in our country work incredibly hard, and yet the ask is soft: for a level playing field to achieve their version of a common dream—what is fair, and equal, and right. - The Duchess of Sussex

Meghan closed by stressing this isn't a partisan issue, it's about families. "Paid leave should be a national right, rather than a patchwork option limited to those whose employers have policies in place, or those who live in one of the few states where a leave program exists. If we’re going to create a new era of family first policies, let’s make sure that includes a strong paid leave program for every American that’s guaranteed, accessible, and encouraged without stigma or penalty. I know how politically charged things can—and have—become. But this isn’t about Right or Left, it’s about right or wrong. This is about putting families above politics. And for a refreshing change, it’s something we all seem to agree on. At a point when everything feels so divisive, let this be a shared goal that unites us. So, on behalf of my family, Archie and Lili and Harry, I thank you for considering this letter, and on behalf of all families, I ask you to ensure this consequential moment is not lost."

Meghan's letter in full:

Dear Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi,

I’m not an elected official, and I’m not a politician. I am, like many, an engaged citizen and a parent. And because you and your congressional colleagues have a role in shaping family outcomes for generations to come, that’s why I’m writing to you at this deeply important time—as a mom—to advocate for paid leave.

Over the past 20 months, the pandemic has exposed long-existing fault lines in our communities. At an alarming rate, millions of women dropped out of the workforce, staying home with their kids as schools and daycares were closed, and looking after loved ones full-time. The working mom or parent is facing the conflict of being present or being paid. The sacrifice of either comes at a great cost.

For many, this sacrifice goes back further than the past 20 months; it’s 20 or 30 years, even longer—decades of giving time, body, and endless energy not just in the pursuit of the American dream, but simply the dream of stability.

I grew up on the $4.99 salad bar at Sizzler—it may have cost less back then (to be honest, I can’t remember)—but what I do remember was the feeling: I knew how hard my parents worked to afford this because even at five bucks, eating out was something special, and I felt lucky. And as a Girl Scout, when my troop would go to dinner for a big celebration, it was back to that same salad bar or The Old Spaghetti Factory—because that’s what those families could afford to do too. 

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. Perhaps you do too. People in our country work incredibly hard, and yet the ask is soft: for a level playing field to achieve their version of a common dream—what is fair, and equal, and right. 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.

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. We knew we could take her home, and in that vital (and sacred) stage, devote any and everything to our kids and to our family.  We knew that by doing so we wouldn’t have to make impossible choices about childcare, work, and medical care that so many have to make every single day. 

No family should be faced with these decisions. No family should have to choose between earning a living and having the freedom to take care of their child (or a loved one, or themselves, as we would see with a comprehensive paid leave plan). 

In taking care of your child, you take care of your community, and you take care of your country—because when paid leave is a right, we’re creating a foundation that helps address mental health outcomes, health care costs, and economic strength at the starting line. Instead, as it stands now, we spend a fortune as a country paying into symptoms rather than causes.  I understand that with everything going on these days, people might find it easy to be apathetic about what’s happening in Washington, D.C. And then equally, when it feels like your voice doesn’t matter, you tend to use it less often, but with stakes this high none of us can afford to let apathy win. 

I’m writing to you on behalf of millions of American families who are using their voices to say that comprehensive paid leave should not be a place to compromise or negotiate. In fact, most nations already have paid leave policies in place. Estonia, for example, offers over a year and a half of leave to be shared by new parents. Many other countries have robust programs that give months of time for both parents (birth or adoptive) to be home with their child. The United States, in stark contrast, does not federally guarantee any person a single day of paid leave. And fewer than one in four workers has dedicated paid family leave through their employer. I’m sure you agree that if we are to continue to be exceptional, then we can’t be the exception. 

The families you represent need your strong leadership. With paid leave on the cusp of becoming a national reality, I trust you will meet this moment. I know you must hear from your constituents about the choices they are facing every day to make ends meet and care for their families. 

Paid leave should be a national right, rather than a patchwork option limited to those whose employers have policies in place, or those who live in one of the few states where a leave program exists. If we’re going to create a new era of family first policies, let’s make sure that includes a strong paid leave program for every American that’s guaranteed, accessible, and encouraged without stigma or penalty. 

I know how politically charged things can—and have—become. But this isn’t about Right or Left, it’s about right or wrong. This is about putting families above politics. And for a refreshing change, it’s something we all seem to agree on. At a point when everything feels so divisive, let this be a shared goal that unites us.

So, on behalf of my family, Archie and Lili and Harry, I thank you for considering this letter, and on behalf of all families, I ask you to ensure this consequential moment is not lost.

As ever,

Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex

The Duchess has partnered with Paid Leave for All, Marshall Plan for Moms, and Paid Leave US in the effort.


 A number of leading charitable organisations have supported the lettter. 

Omid Scobie reports a representative said Meghan "cares deeply about advocating for families in the US and around the world". In so many parts of the world, including the UK, we are fortunate enough to take maternity leave for granted. It is very much a right -- exactly as it should be. I was shocked to read on Paid Leave for All's website just 21 percent of US workers have access to paid family leave through an employer and only 40 percent have access to short-term disability insurance. One in four mothers return to work within two weeks of giving birth. It's deeply disappointing it's such a politically charged issue, and I think the first and most important step is defusing that view and seeing it as a rights issue first and foremost. I know a number of readers in the US will have firsthand experience of this and the unimaginable strains placed upon parents. I'm looking forward to seeing Meghan's efforts and potential next steps.

If you would like to support the effort, please click here.

62 comments:

  1. The situation in the US is pathetic. I have worked at companies that had excellent childcare facilities, but in general, a mother is expected to return to work quickly. The father is seldom considered. What I see in my area is a plethora of daycares that takes infants and pay "teachers" $10 an hour. Your requirements to work there are that you are at least 18. Period. Imagine how impersonal the care can be with a poorly paid very young person charged with many young children. What I have seen, having lived in the East and now in Texas, is that in many areas of the country, people do not believe in the common good of a society. They believe in "freedom," which means everyone grabbing what they can for themselves. Politics is so partisan now that I doubt people even know why they are voting against something -- all they know is that the two parties must never agree. I actually have very little hope for the US unless people change their attitude about public welfare, public health, education, and civil rights.

    I love hearing from Meghan. I see now that it was a wonderful thing for her to join the RF but it is not necessary for her and Harry to be "spares." It is obvious that the Queen/Charles&Camilla/William&Kate/Sophie&Edward have great PR teams and have really moved into some important and exciting areas. As their children get older, I'm sure we will see even more of W&K and S&E. And I'm realizing why Meghan and Eugenie are friends -- they seem to have a lot in common. Eugenie works hard and has great charity ideas and interests.

    Meghan needs her voice, as do all people.

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  2. I am a firm supporter of Meghan's position here. In fact, I want what she mentions but once: a comprehensive paid leave for family care in the United States. I had to return to work within a month after giving birth by caesarean section because my baby was critically ill and I knew when he finally came home I would need more time off with him, so I had to go back to work before I medically should have because of economics. This was wrong back then and is still wrong today. I'm glad that Meghan sent this letter and that it has been published and spread widely.

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  3. Good for Meghan. I hope that her voice may have an impact on a congress so divided, with one party devoted to keeping the masses poor while funnelling everything to the rich. I admire Meghan's hope that this can actually be accomplished now. I hope that her efforts are not in vain.

    Thank you, Charlotte.

    R

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  4. It's a real ball of energy inspired by our Meghan! As they say, there are people who are born with special abilities or gifts and Meghan has the gift of commitment, the quest to improve our necessary needs ... I remain in admiration and give her all my encouragement and my support. Bravo and I hope that this problem that she puts back on the table will one day find a solution that will destroy all parties.
    Thank you Charlotte for staying alert, sincere and generous.

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  5. I can't believe it that America is lacking behind in this area, God bless Meghan for highlighting this embarrassing and painful situation.

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  6. Paid leave for all should be guaranteed universally. I never understood how it is even possible for the US not to have paid leave, it is truly so unkind and not compassionate to force parents to work immediately after their family is changed (and sometimes their body!) in such a radical way.

    A working person contributes so much to the economy and society during their life that we as a society should agree on helping each other out in particular moments of vulnerability in life (paid sick leave, parental leave, retirement). I think Meghan chose a worthy topic.

    I am not sure if she did so in a particularly good way though. Her letter focuses on her and her child poverty a lot. Which is very sad, but it is not a general reason for which politicians should choose to act in a certain way. I have to say that I have lived in states with paid parental leave and there was child poverty too. And a greater amount of it than I could imagine. These issues are connected,but not directly concludential. I would prefer if the letter had less of Meghan's personal experience with poverty and more general reasoning, like basic human compassion or helping those in need in a community (because they will eventually give back to the community too) etc. I feel like she wanted to share her story but it isn't as relevant to this particular topic as she imagined it to be. It would be better if she for example shared the paid leave they have as employers in Archewell. The principles and the ideas behind their paid leave policy. Some of the feedback of their employees who benefited from paid leave in Archewell. How it helps their employees' mental health. This kind of stories would seem to me as more relevant and appropriate for the letter than Meghan's experience that happened 30 years ago and that was caused by many more reasons than not having universal paid leave.

    I believe that Meghan and Harry should act in their civil names in the US by now, especially when lobbing politically. I obviously know that they are a part of the royal family and that they do bear their titles rightfully. But when acting in their private capacity, without knowledge or coordination of the institution, in a country that doesn't even have nobility titles, it looks rather odd when they still use their titles very heavily. As an example, when working in their private capacity, Beatrice and Eugenie use their civil names. Meghan and Harry have by now enough gravity on their own and they don't need to use their dukedom to push their ideas furher or make them more prominent/more visible. They stand for equality and progress and IMO it would also be more fitting for them to do so with lesser/no use of their titles of nobility/royalty.

    I hope my comment is not seen as derogatory towards anyone - it is partly critical for sure but I hope I articulated some good reasons for being critical. I applaud any work towards having universal paid leave though. I think installing it would be a sign of us being strongly developped, deeply human and compassionate society.

    Ella

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    1. I agree with you re: the titles, Ella. -op

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    2. Her message about the cause is good news. Otherwise, all the mixed feeling I have about the letter, and the title in the letter, is well articulated by you - Ella.

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    3. Duke and Duchess of Sussex are their legal names which they are entitled to. Meghan is an American citizen with 2 children as American citizens. She and her family now reside and work in America.
      She has every right as a private American citizen to use her legally married name to advocate on what ever cause she chooses to.

      If a man who is the Queen's son can not talk to the FBI with very serious allegations against him and still keep his title and be protected by the monarchy, then Harry and Meghan are fine.

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    4. Why? She is a Princess as long as she is married to Harry. Her titles were given by the Queen the same way parents give babies names. What if she or someone else gave her the title Empress would that make a difference? We have been pulverized by calls for "stripping the titles". It should be a non-issue.

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    5. I thought about this and am in favor of Harry and Meghan using their titles. They are still part of the institution or they would not be the grandson of the Queen and his wife. Princess Eugenie has several charities in which she does excellent work and she can use her title. I imagine they have found the titles to help them in work and charity ventures. There is no reason to not use their titles -- they have done nothing wrong and deserve to remind people that they are still part of the RF. Part of the narrative is that they are in disgrace and no longer part of the family!

      I'm sure Pelosi and Schumer receive a lot of mail, but what makes the news is when it's from the Duchess of Sussex.

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    6. I think you provided thoughtful reflections. I, too, felt like there was no need to use British titles and that signing Meghan Markle would have been very appropriate. Her title carries no weight when casting a vote, and we would recognize who she is without it.

      I do agree it is an important topic, and our leaders have to carefully consider how they spend our taxes, allocate funding and make laws.
      Sue

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    7. Everything is political these days. From covid, vaccination mandate, face mask mandate, to Meghan eating avocados, wearing pants, closing car door, advocating for better family leave policy, championing fair and equitable pay for women and access to quality education and child care for working family. All political. Free thoughts. Political. Time for the Salamander. Better call the firemen. (Fahrenheit 451)

      Ella made a great point though about the conflicting aspect of bearing a noble or royal title while championing equality and progress. It’s certainly tickles the mind since it leads directly to the question how can a monarchy be part of a progressive society that is working toward a fairer and more equitable place for its people. The whole monarchical set up is the opposite of meritocracy and democracy. It’s about hereditary birthright. Not who is most qualified. The Queen sits at the apex of society and her citizens are called subjects. The Queen and her firstborn are given special privileges to carve out special laws and exemptions from laws that apply to the rest of the realm. Exemption from complying with renewable energy change even though the Queen is one of the largest landowners in the country. Is this fair? Why even have the House of Lords? That’s an outdated and undemocratic institution. The lords aren’t elected. Some are hereditary peers. Others are are appointed by political parties and it’s all about connection and pay to play. How can this be considered progress or equitable?

      Once again, great discussion on this blog.



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    8. Your first two paragraphs are great!

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    9. I partly agree Ella.
      I don't care so much about the title aspect. While I think they shouldn't do it when directing messages into the political sphere or earning money, everyone knows they are neither representing the BRF nor the UK in any capacity. So if the US politicians and public don't have a problem neither do I.
      What I do care about is that she kind of missed the mark in her arguments. She should have stopped talking about herself after remarking on her and Harry's experiences as parents. Her childhood experience doesn't help the arguement and it also doesn't really fit the childhood she portayed on her old blog and Instagram. I have followed her for some years prior to her relationship with Harry and I wonder how she can bring both versions together? I also don't understand what her parents financial struggle have to do with her problems to fill up HER car or pay HER rent?
      It is great she gave the topic another booster as it is already in the political discussion (it has been very prominent in the last weeks) but I also doubt that her letter, this late in the process, will have any significance. I also don't think her letter classifies as lobbying. She is publicly supporting a cause that should have been worked out years ago.
      I would have loved if she had rather used the occasion (paid leave being on the discussion table) and remarked on the issue of paid sick leave- which is especially important for parents too as children that are building up an immune system are just prone to get sick reguarly and need supervision and care. You cannot just leave your two year old alone at home no matter if they are really sick or just have a bad cold (and you don't want them to infect everyone else at daycare).
      No matter what- I hope a good solution will be found to ease the situation of parents in the US.

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    10. I find the precedent about all of this confusing. Before getting married Beatrice and Eugenie both used the surname York in their work. Which is based on their father’s dukedom and title. Neither used Mountbatten-Windsor, though some royals do when a “non royal” name is needed. Would Harry and Meghan’s non titled surname be Sussex in that case? Or Mountbatten-Windsor? Their children have Mountbatten-Windsor as surnames. It’s very confusing. I do sort of agree on using titles in the US tho. I don’t think they’re any confusion that they’re not representing the Queen or Royal family..I just don’t think Americans care about or understand the intricacies of titles, so why add them to the conversation? Most American titles are solely related to job. Mr and Madam (president Vice President justice ambassador etc) and occasionally very formal invites or degrees might use “honorable” but always based on the job or credential. Hereditary or aristocratic titles just don’t really mean anything.

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    11. Very on point Ella👌🏻

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    12. Many Americans care about titles. It turns out so do Eastern Europeans, Middle Easterners and Asians too. That’s why a lot of cash and favors change hands for the title of “lord” and dinners with the royals. It’s why Downton Abbey and The Crown are so successful. If you look at marketing, it’s aimed at Americans traditionally and during modern pre-pandemic time, Asian tourism.

      Anglo-Americans have a love affair for glitzy and old world things. The success of Masterpiece Theater, the sales of kilt/tartans and family coat of arms (lol), and genealogy services are early proof. The fascination doesn’t mean Americans want a monarchy for their country. This world entertains and is better than any reality show or factionalized one. Other European monarchies are well loved and serve a more titular presence with a much smaller and less fussy footprint. I suspect there’s a bit of envy with all the pomp England does so well along with a big relief from the daily tabloid scrutiny.

      The UK uses the monarchy to sell itself and to influence. It’s called soft power. With an aging Queen and changing times, that soft power is losing its edge. The marketing now is how to transition the focus toward the future King and future Prince of Wales while still preserving the popularity of the present Queen. Expect much more full court roll out. Palace insiders are already repositioning themselves as the popular Queen faces her own eventual mortality.

      The Sussexes’ initial popularity did them in. There’s only one apex in a monarchy. Transitional period is the most dangerous time to be noticed. Be popular, but not too popular. Harry in his bubble failed to factor this in. He was so far down the succession line, it shouldn’t have mattered till he married a dynamic, biracial American and the money rolled in. Contrived controversies and targeted hate sell easily and well with the divisive Brexit roll out. The Palace is a very political place, full of intrigue and factions. That’s why people are fascinated. It’s a myth that the monarchy is apolitical. The people who run the Palace play politics and are close to politicians and their backers, top-tier civil servants, and the media. There’s a fair bit of revolving door here. These relationships go back generational and are personal as well as business ones.

      The Sussexes, with or without their titles, will always have a part in this real life drama. With an American Meghan and now her children, the plot includes Americans and they aren’t going away. (Just like the ghost of Diana didn’t go away) Some may want to sever this tie and hope people forget. Others aren’t so sure as Americans bring cash, innovations, and a loyal following. People rubberneck for a reason. Marketing 101.

      Having the next Earthshot Prize takes place in America should be your big clue. There are reasons behind this move. Watch for some serious drama ahead. - media watcher

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    13. Duke and Duchess title is their wedding gift from the monarch. Be it as it may, much had changed since that title was gifted to them. It is not about the couple using it, but when and where to use it. She is addressing the letter as a mom and an engaged citizen to leaders of one party of congress. It is a very important US and global issue addressed also with a mix of her life's background. To state her parents worked hard while there is even at present an on going plea from the father, is only a reminder of the father ( TM) vs daughter ( MM) conflict. The intention of the letter is sent as any US citizen entitled to send a letter to any congressperson. They know who she is, and could have signed it, Meghan - Archwell Foundation. Since most likely the idea is from an independent citizen w/o an affiliation, who may, or may not want to use her last name, does she still go by Meghan Markle? President Biden's paid 12 weeks request, is most likely reduced to four weeks pay leave. Highest income bracket tax will apply if 12 weeks pay leave; regardless, a critical basic human need, and definitely political ( some body has to pay for it) addressed to US legislators by an individual could have been signed just by her name with Archwell letterhead. "you are enough yourself " Meghan. They are not practicing royals either; It is kind of confusing when used at the wrong time and place.

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    14. Wow, Meghan having a title really gets people riled up. I remember how some people hated that Harry married her and hated when the Queen bestowed the titles on these two when they were still working royals. Why is it that Meghan gets accused for behaving improperly for doing similar things other members of the British royals, including non working royals, do all the time? I am tired of this double standard.

      I find it interesting that people go out of their way to judge things “political” when it’s actually a right and duty of good citizenship. The attempt to apply the word “political” as a bad act is curious. I pay tax and the tax goes to fund roads, social programs, schools, political offices, healthcare. Is that a political act then? Paying taxes and voting are duties as a citizen. Things are so divisive and ugly that exercising one’s rights to speak up, to advocate and to vote are all considered dangerous if a person doesn’t toe the right party line. That’s how tenuous our democracy is these days.

      Supporting paid family leave is now a political act? How about insisting on clean water and safe food & medicine? Is that political too? This is the stuff of failed society and failed nation.

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    15. Many of you are making great points. I am a bit surprised that nobody is talking about 20 weeks of paid leave in Archewell, truly. As another commenter noted, what does paid parental leave have to do with unmarried Meghan with no children putting gas in her car? On the other hand it has everything to do with married mom of 2 employer Meghan having given this right to her employees.

      But the debate shifted towards titles and so I'm only going to react shortly and mostly to Allison in US.
      Allison, you mention that Pelosi and Schumer get a lot of mail and that they pay more attention to it when it is from a Duchess. That was probably meant well for Meghan but IMO you are doing her no favor saying this. Basically you are insinuating that without a title given to her upon her marriage, she wouldn't be important/interesting enough for having her mail read? I think Meghan has enough gravity herself to be heard. She has had it before she even became a Duchess probably - in her home in the US at least. She is in a position where she doesn't need any titles to be heard.

      If anything, I don't understand why American officials should be concerned about British nobility's opinion. And if Meghan says she is just writing as an engaged american mom, then IMO she should do so without her noble title. There are plenty possibilities: Wales (Harry used this surname in the Army), Sussex (Cambridges' kids use "Cambridge" for school, Bea/Eugenie used York as a surname for private activities before marrying to their new names), Mountbatten-Windsor (that is what I believe is in their passports). Markle or Meghan - Archewell foundation as suggested by someone here would do, too.

      (Just a side note - Meghan used Duchess of Sussex in England but for example she used Scottish title Countess of Dumbarton in Scotland, and for Wales she used a Welsh title - even in the UK the titles are only used in certain places where they are "valid", but none of them are legally "valid" for the US. The US has no nobility).

      I believe that we all know now that Meghan is too progressive and vocal for being a working member of RF and vice versa, RF is too traditional, stiff and privileged to accommodate Meghan's humanitarian & career goals. Sadly, these two just aren't a match. Meghan has repeatedly and clearly expressed her dislike for the institution and its system. Yet she continues to heavily use title that implies her affiliation to the institution.

      No doubt Meghan is part of the family - RF. She bears her titles rightfully and obviously these titles are very valuable in the UK, even though they don't technically even exist in the US. For the rest of her life, everybody is going to always be aware that she is THE princess Meghan, even if her letter isn't signed "duchess" and sent from "the office of duke and duchess". (I have certainly missed the fact that they do have an office now and I thought they operated under the umbrella of Archewell office).
      Ella

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    16. I think Meghan wrote the letter as an "engaged" citizen, not the co-founder of Archwell.

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    17. Ella your second to last paragraph is just tabloid conjecture. They left due to harassment. And Harry owns that decision as much as she does. Not incompatible humanitarian and career goals. Everyone keeps spinning this narrative that Meghan dreamt too big for the royal family or something. She never said that. She’s always said she was excited to learn the ropes and get to work. She did not count on harassment (often racially motivated) and a lack of protection and consistent response from the institution and specifically its personnel (hr, press, access to support etc). And neither did Harry. Also please point out where Meghan has made her dislike for the institution clearly known. I think she has spoken repeatedly with fondness for the Queen and the symbolism and role of the royal family. She (AND HARRY) were clearly in a situation that led to an uncomfortable dynamic and interpersonal conflicts within the family. But I absolutely do not agree she has “repeatedly and clearly expressed her dislike for the institution”. If you have quotes from Meghan supporting this assertion please share them. If not please stop repeating daily Mail insinuations.

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    18. Waouh.
      Bravo for your comment. It's very clean and instructive.
      Meghan is a very obsession for the tabloïds

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  7. 25% of American women has to go back to work within 2 weeks after giving birth?? How do they even do that, physically and emotionally? Such a 'rich' country and still such legislation, I can't understand. I'm really glad Meghan addresses this. I really hope her letter helps to makes a change.

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  8. Dear Charlotte,
    Thank you for putting a spotlight on Meghan’s activism on behalf of all families. As she eloquently stated, she and Harry were able to bring their newborn home in June and spend precious months with her, but few in the US have that option. Good on Meghan for highlighting this terrible disparity. She’s an amazing wordsmith and activist for those without a voice.
    Renee

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  9. Thank you Meghan. I remember having my first child and I spent my entire 10 week maternity leave being a nervous wreck about putting my son in childcare. Eventually I just quit. I was raised in Canada and then they had a 12 month leave (now 18 months I believe). I’ve never understood why Americans are okay with this lack of leave. It’s this weird “we don’t want to pay for others leave” type mentality.

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    1. Indeed, Joanne K. Well said. Some of the Nordic countries and Iceland have up to 3 years of parental leave which can be shared by both parents. The US standards are pathetic by comparison.

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  10. Excellent letter and long overdue cause for change. Great post, thank you Charlotte. -op

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  11. Anonymous21 October 2021 at 14:41,all I see when addressing Eugene and Beatrice is Her Royal Highness/princess which is the approved title by the royal family while that of Harry is Prince/duke of Sussex which is the approved title...... Thats his official name. Meghan letter is formal . the content of the letter highlight the danger of not having money to spend when a family is denied of such, also her privileged position...... That's a very engaged letter.

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  12. Meghan’s letter resonates with me. My family went through hard times when my dad lost his job due to a spinal injury and my mom had to go back to work full time. I was the oldest and reluctantly became my siblings caretaker. We went from a middle class family to one on the cusp. We had huge medical bills and money was always an issue. It was a major stressor and the source of many family conflicts. When my mom became the primary bread winner, she went to work sick because she ran out of vacation hours. She used all her time off to care for us when we were sick and when my dad had multiple surgeries. The experience affected us profoundly as children and remained with us adults.

    Did you know it wasn’t until 2011 that Connecticut was the first state to require private employers to provide sick leave? In 2021, only 13 states and DC require it. Thirteen states. That’s how backward things are in the US.

    Meghan advocating for paid parental leave is no more political than Kate championing early childhood study and services. I am happy to see these two women positioning themselves to act forcefully in matters that affect the health and well being of people. We can all join in these related endeavors. Treat workers with respect and pay them a living wage with proper benefits. There’s nothing political about that. People who oppose this are the ones who made it political. For workers, what’s the alternative? —allow ourselves to be abused and essentially become de facto slaves? I don’t think so.

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  13. I'm really quite shocked and disgusted that some people are criticizing this letter. Someone even called for the Sussexes to be stripped of their titles for "interfering in American politics". In fact, in the US, everyone has the right to call for and support legislation publicly, and that includes public figures. That doesn't represent "interfering in politics" but rather a fundamental freedom. The Duchess has not taken British citizenship, and her children are US citizens. Her husband is a legal resident. Like all other citizens and legal residents, except those bound by the Hatch Act because they work in certain types of government positions, the Sussexes are free to comment publicly upon any legislation, any social issue, that concerns them and with which our politicians may be wrestling. The tradition, the custom in the UK, that royals should not speak out on such matters, does not apply here. In the US, the Sussexes are just as free to comment on any subject as most of the rest of us are.

    And I fail to understand why it's just fine for the Cambridges to speak out on, say, urgent environmental concerns, which will inevitably involve legislation and government regulation, and NOT for the Sussexes to do so on the subject of paid parental leave.

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    1. The Cambridges are still in their own official capacity and advocating from the same place they have the title. M&H using the title is not the problem, it is about when and where to use it. It is their gift unless the monarch reverses that or the people of Sussex revolt it.

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    2. They agreed not to use the HRH style in any commercial context. This is not one. Moreover, the use of the titles is not what many people are criticizing. They seem to think that the Sussexes had no right to comment on this issue at all, whatever names they used. That is ridiculous. Of course they had that right.

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    3. @Anon15: The titles cannot be talen away just like that. It would be a lenghty process involving mostly laywers and the UK government. And the BRF has shown to seemingly have no problem with H&M use their titels. The people of Sussex have no voice in that. It is also not as if they personally have any benifits or hardships by this. The title is in name only and has no real connection to Sussex anymore but a historical context. If the people living in the regions of said dukedoms could decide, I guess we would see lots of dukedoms disappear.
      C.

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  14. This subject is more relevant than Meghan's title and content of her letter. I hope a nice discussion on the subject matter will take place on this blog. The ever aware and well focused Charlotte had posted the link to a site purposefully.

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    1. Some people are still stuck on Meghan having a title though and want her stripped of the duchess title.

      I find most comments here support paid family leave and relate to the topic personally:)

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    2. You are right. Absolutely. Meghan is their obsession. It's pathetic.

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  15. The standard of what kind of activities is political seems quite fluid depending on who does it. Why is it important that the royal family should not be political? The obvious answer is as the reigning monarch she represents all the people and under UK constitution monarchy and the royal family are bounded by laws like the rest of us. The Queen has very limited power by design in a democratic country. There are supposedly precedents that the royal family must follow. And yet…..on record….

    The Queen has used her office to intervene in legislations that would affect her and her family. The interference includes rewriting laws which allow her to keep her wealth wrapped in secrecy. Other examples are exemptions which allow her from following laws that would reduce the family’s carbon footprint to meet Britain net zero goals. The Queen also sought and got the rights to collect royalties from future wind farms being built on coastal seabeds around the UK. The royal family have made many public speeches on combating climate change by advocating switch to renewables and conserve our forest and wetlands. All laudable goals except for the part where the BRF gets to collect special royalties AND is exempted from following the laws which apply to everyone else.

    These are a few examples where the Queen (and Charles with the Cornwall Duchy) has benefited personally by the use of her title.

    This abuse of power is a far graver problem than the controversy about whether advocating for paid parental leave or early childhood services is political or not. -media watcher

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    1. Very true. It is also only the monarch that has to be impartial - publicly. The rest is actually free to vote and speak out. They choose not to. And yes, they have overstepped and gotton well deserved backlash over it. Meghan supporting parental leave is fine, even for the current traditional way of the BRF. People getting their knickers in a twist about that really need a dose of reality.
      I think her support is great, even though I wonder why she waited till the topic was already this far on the agenda. It would have been even more important straight after birth, when both made it public they will go on parental leave. They are so very lucky to be in that position in the US, so supporting other parents to have the same options is in any way a good thing. Her letter is just a bit late in the process. And it is not well argumented in big parts. That is my personal criticism but the sentiment itself is great.
      C.

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    2. Yes the royals can’t be political thing has always been a bit of an illusion deployed to protect certain narratives. I remember many questions about the Duchess of Cambridge not wearing black to the Baftas when many women were in support of the Me Too movement. And she was protected from controversy with a very basic “royals aren’t political” defense that I for one thought rang very hollow at the time. I was unaware that the harassment and assault of women was political. Just this week the Duchess of Cornwall gave an incredibly dynamic speech on this very issue. So now it’s not political? Everything the royals do is political. All of their causes right down to Catherines seemingly neutral focus on early childhood require political will and resources. It may be a measure more American to directly correspond with congress as Meghan has, but she’s not representing the royal family in any way AND I don’t think it’s actually that far off from what the working royals do. If they’re not engaging with politicians and government for their causes from early childhood to the environment to women’s rights then it’s all sort of appearance theater isn’t it.

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    3. Absolutely..I agree ����

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  16. I stumbled across this commentary and thought it was interesting. The writer is "loyal to Queen Elizabeth." https://newspotng.com/meghan-markle-letter-to-pelosi-and-schumer-backing-paid-leave-exposes-a-class-divide/

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  17. Honestly my favorite thing about Meghan is that she's self-made in a space - that of royalty - where that is so very rare (and I'm not trying to take anything away from anyone, you don't choose what you're born into and really I think being born into money and privilege is an amazing gift). It is so beautiful to read about her very relatable experiences and I think nothing is more important than having someone who gets it 'cause they've lived it all have a seat at the table because no one will fight as hard and advocate for those who don't have a voice or a big platform as someone who's been there and understands the struggle. I'm proud of Meghan and I very much hope this letter makes a difference.

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  18. Every excuse is good to attack Meghan Markle. Now she's guilty of signing an extemely uncontroversial letter with her own name because yes, Meghan Duchess of Sussex is simply her legal married name. As everyone in the royal fandom knows just like us commoner women become [Our First Name]+[Our Husband's Last Name] upon marriage, royal women become [Their First Name]+[The female version of their Husband's title] after they get married. Also if you go to the paidleaveforall website her actual signature just says "Meghan" so there you have it...hope that makes you feel better...

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    1. Good comment .

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    2. Anon 21:56, I agree with you.
      Meghan’s letter is impactful. It takes time to compose such a thoughtful letter. If anyone feels a different letter needs to be written, then do so. Nit-picking Meghan’s letter and her name is ridiculous.
      Renee

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    3. Very well said Anon15 - completely agree.

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  19. When the subject matter cannot be turned into something controversial they resort to the evergeen let's attack her for having a title as in when all else fails...we can fall back on that. And don't even get me stated o some white Britons...it's like they feel offended when Meghan owns her American nationality and pride and fights for a better more fair and equal America, they go "how dare she ignore us? Is she talking about strictly American issues? Let's attack her for having a British title!", nevermind that that's actually just her married name. It's not Meghan's fault if when you marry into the royal family you get your husband's titles instead of your husband's last name, how about they change that rule?!

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    1. To be frank- if you think from a "Western World" view point, than yes, it is soleley a US issue. Almost all others have some sort general solution. Some fantastic, some lacking but most do something.
      That is not to say she should stay silent. Not at all. But their engagement has been actually extemly US focused. Which is fine, but let's not pretend it is something else.

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    2. I am actually very glad she stays US focused. She is a US citizen, it is her right and privilege to tackle issues in her country. What I can't stand are celebrities preaching their western values to the rest of the world. Mend your country first before you pretend to improve others.

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    3. The British tabloids are the ones who are making this more than it is. - reader

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  20. A title + empty headed person = no impact. In this century people place more value on those that brings something valuable to the table not the TITLE. MEGHAN IS WHAT SHE IS TODAY BECAUSE OF HER YEARS OF HARDWORK SINCE AGE 11.... each time she speak or write all I see is a dedicated woman using her her husband official name like every other married woman

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  21. This is the reason for doing the needful and not keeping quite , volvo is on board ... https://twitter.com/volvocars/status/1452901638348451848?s=19

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  22. The worst thing the royals can do PR wise is to strip Meghan and Harry of their titles over made up controversies drummed up by right wing media outlets and their readers. The same media that championed Brexit with their xenophobia and lies.

    Instead of the criminal, rapist foreigner, we get the “actress” and the “American” as if these words are dirty and unbecoming. Remember the “outta Compton” headlines. The way “actress” is used in this context is with negative sexual connotation. Black readers know exactly what I am talking about it. It’s as if a woman’s vagina is a seductive, man-killing shark. (Black) Women are frequently objectified and it’s beyond tragic that women should do this to other women.
    -media watcher

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    1. The BRF won't do such a thing. In fact they just can't. And they have not shown any sign that they wish to so if they could. That is why I don't get why we have to address all those calls for stripping them of their titel all the time. Only the UK goverment can do this- they are very much busy with way more important things, and rightly so. There are also only two precendet cases and in both cases a real war and High Treason charges were involved. People can call for stripping those titles as much as they want, it is just not happening, because even if anyone that could wanted to, there is no legal case to do so. Giving those calls attention is only fueling the flame.
      What is very probably happening is the general reform about how titles will be given out in the BRF in the future. That is long ovedue and the UK public has called for reducing the number of working (full or part time) royals for decades. The number will quickly drop from the current 13 (9 full time and 4 part time) to 6, than 4 and finally 2-3 (5 if they are lucky but thats still like 20 years away at best). In the end, only the children of the direct heirs will get titles, and they can choose of they want to be working royals or not (still no half in half out options though)- Their children are out. So Archie and Lili have no professional future in the BRF, just a private one as they are obviously family. Same will be true for respective children of Charlotte and Louis. That is exactly what most of the other Monarchies do and the BRF will follow suit. I also think that after a divorce the titles of the spouse will be not granted anymore.

      So there is no real controversey. Their titels regarding the Dukedom will stay as they are. There will be no new titles and styles given out for years (till one of the Cambridge children marries). And the UK will get the smaller RF they are asking for decades.
      C.

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    2. Thank you C for shedding light on a topic that really shouldn't gain any more traction. Good information and well said.

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  23. @ media watcher,
    I agree with you 1000%! Much of the “controversy” around Meghan and Harry was indeed created by right wing media and their followers.
    And, yes, Black women are objectified. Tragically.
    Renee

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  24. Thank you Charlotte! Wonderful post as usual! I’ve seen a lot of comments about motive/title, but I want to focus on the positive. I think that it’s a very kind and beautiful thing, the letter. We can be distracted by a title or how she could’ve written it or any of the usual speculations, but behind all of that triviality, what’s plainly clear to me is a woman who cares about other women, strangers or not, privileged and those who aren’t, but just genuinely wants good for all of these women and families. A truly beautiful quality. As women we share many common experiences especially when it comes to birth and our postpartum journey and it’s so nice when any of us, privileged or not, can advocate for each other. Our time with our little ones is so precious and completely irreplaceable, and that’s really what this all is about. :)

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  25. Thanks Olive for your good comment. It's dispassionate and positivity.

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  26. One thing that came out of this report was that many anti Meghan accounts have locked their accounts or deleted them. Twitter has deleted more accounts since their initial findings.

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Welcome to Mad About Meghan! We do so look forward to reading your thoughts. Constructive, fair debate is always encouraged. Hateful, derogatory terms and insults are not welcome here. This space focuses on Harry and Meghan, not any other member of the Royal family. It's not the place to discuss politics either. Thank you for reading, we look forward to your comments :)