Outrage as Meghan Markle set to keep using royal title ‘because she can’, expert says

Meghan Markle is facing a fresh storm for wading into politics with an open letter on parental leave.

US Congressman Jason Smith has previously said both the Duke and Duchess of Sussex should be stripped of their titles unless they cease their 'serious breach of political neutrality'.

It followed comments by the couple which were interpreted as a call to vote Donald Trump out of office last year – including urging voters to 'reject hate speech'.

Now a letter penned by Meghan on the sacrifices of working parents has reignited the conversation, with Smith calling her "attempts at appealing to working class families…laughable".

"Ms. Markle's latest interference in US politics reignites the question in my mind as to why the Royal Family does not simply strip her and Harry officially of their titles, particularly since she insists on sending this under the pretence of being the Duchess of Sussex," he said.

But constitutional expert Iain MacMarthanne says "in effect, there is nothing to strip from her".

Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, moved to the US last year and have since bought an £11million mansion in California. US-born Meghan is entitled to vote in the election, but Harry is not.

Meghan, who openly criticised Mr Trump before she met Harry, appeared on online forums with close Democrat links, leading the President to lambast her.

And last week, Meghan penned a powerful letter calling for paid leave for all new parents in America.

She sent it to Senate Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, acknowledging she is "not an elected official" or politician, but wanted to speak "as a mom" on the issue.

She also wrote about the sacrifices working parents have to make "not just in pursuit of the American Dream, but simply the dream of stability".

The letter was on headed paper that read it was from The Office of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Despite uproar among Republicans, constitutional expert Iain MacMarthanne says the couple can't be stripped of their titles and conventions such as these are there to be tested.

He said: "Like all conventions, there is much flexibility as to what is, and what is not, acceptable territory to become involved in, and the further away any royal is from succeeding to the crown the greater the latitude given.

"There has become a fashion of late that anyone who oversteps a subjective mark, and who holds a title, should be stripped of it. Easier said than done.

"In the instance of the Duchess of Sussex no laws have been broken, conventions are there to be tested, but above all else, suggestions that the Duchess could be stripped of her title is to assume it was given to her.

"This is not the case. The Duchess holds her styles and titles as a courtesy, derived from her husband. In effect, there is nothing to strip from her."

In the highly personal letter, Meghan drew on her own experiences as a child and recalled how going to eat out would be a special occasion as she could only do it thanks to her parents' hard work.

She wrote: "I grew up on the $4.99 (£3.62) 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 for 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."

Meanwhile, she also spoke of her and Prince Harry feeling "overwhelmed" following the birth of their daughter Lilibet in June.

She said in the letter: "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."

Mr Smith argued that even though they made their comments as private citizens, the fact they still use their titles conveys the impression the statements came from the Royal Family and gives their words additional weight with voters.

Although the Queen would be unlikely to ever strip the couple of their titles, she has stopped them from using their HRHs – His or Her Royal Highness – in connection with their business activities.

Royal insiders have repeatedly expressed concerns they are stepping perilously close to crossing the line of political neutrality expected of royals at home and abroad.

Buckingham Palace has already distanced itself from Harry's remarks, saying: "The duke is not a working member of the Royal Family."

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