Palace aides are telling Meghan Markle not to use her royal title for political lobbying after it emerged that she personally called members of the U.S. Congress to petition for paid parental leave.
According to The Times, Buckingham Palace courtiers have expressed unease following reports that she introduced herself as the Duchess of Sussex when she cold-called two Republican Senators on their private line. She had called to lobby for parental leave, which is said to be a controversial policy in the United States.
Constitutionally, members of the royal family are obliged to be politically neutral and "above politics." Senior royal sources have reportedly also claimed that Meghan Markle is "using her title out of context" and that the palace has since insisted that family members should have "no say in American politics."
One palace aide called the former "Suits" star's intervention as "outrageous" while another reminded her that "as a member of the royal family if you use the title, it means you steer clear of those kinds of things."
"Otherwise you're using the title out of context and people will question your motive. Campaigning is important, but there's a difference between campaigning on 'issues' like the environment and mental health, and aligning yourself with policies," the palace courtier said adding that Meghan Markle "doesn't have the right to have a more powerful voice [on the issue] than any other mother in America" and that "she should not be playing in politics."
The 40-year old called Republican Senators Susan Collins from Maine and Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia. Both senators were surprised to hear from her. Collins was happy to talk with her but said she is "more interested in what people from Maine" have to say about paid leave. Meanwhile, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said the mum-of-two hopes to be part of a "working group to work on paid leave long term."
It is said she called the senators "in her personal capacity as an engaged citizen." Prior to cold-calling them, Meghan Markle wrote members of the U.S. Congress a letter petitioning for paid parental leave. She also used her royal title Duchess of Sussex to introduce herself.