Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wrapped their first tour abroad as a married couple yesterday after two days in Ireland. Apparently they flew home in time to watch most of the World Cup semi-final between England and Croatia. It did not come home. Are we blaming Justin Timberlake?
As we’ve seen, much of the focus around Royal Meghan has been about protocol – whether she wears hosiery, whether she crosses her legs properly, what side of the goddamn car she gets into. Now there’s a new protocol story making headlines. The Daily Beast noted yesterday that at the British ambassador’s reception the other night, the recent Irish referendum to Repeal the 8th came up:
An Irish politician said in a tweet that Markle told her she was ‘pleased’ with the result of the recent referendum to legalize abortion, while a well-known Yes campaigner and feminist journalist also tweeted that she had chatted to Markle about the campaign to repeal the 8th Amendment of the Irish constitution which forbade abortion, and strongly implied that Meghan agreed with her pro-choice views.
Great to chat with Meghan Markle, Duchess Of Sussex, about Repeal and the importance of her feminist activism. So important to have people in her position championing women’s rights. Total sounder! pic.twitter.com/Vjdquo45CP— Una Mullally (@UnaMullally) July 10, 2018
Catherine Noone, a senator for the the ruling Fine Gael party who was closely associated with the successful Yes campaign, also said she spoke to Meghan at the garden party held last night at the British ambassador’s residence in Dublin on Tuesday, where Harry and Meghan are on their first foreign tour as a married couple.
The senator tweeted: “The Duchess and I had a chat about the recent referendum result—she watched with interest and was pleased to see the result.”
That tweet has since been deleted. And now there’s some angsting about whether or not Royal Meghan was offside for “getting political” because royals are not supposed to publicise their political views. First of all, she made her position clear on reproductive rights well before she met Prince Harry and she’s also made clear that women must have a voice, particularly where protecting their rights are concerned. As for the “getting political” thing…
Did she? Did she really get political?
One of the most effective strategies that anti-abortionists have deployed has been to politicise abortion and reproductive rights. Reproductive rights is human rights. It’s not politics. But it’s become politics because they’ve been able to propagandise that fallacy – and it’s worked. It’s a successful tactic any time anyone or group is actively working to maintain the status quo, to protect systems both social and political that advantage some over others; historically the “others” are always women and marginalised minorities. Fundamentally though, human rights, and therefore reproductive rights, should not be up for debate, not a political issue.
In my mind then, on the question of whether or not Royal Meghan “got political”? Nope. And I love her for NOT getting political. I love her for not seeing it as a political issue. It’s so f-cking exciting to know that she is still out there, the way she was before she became Royal Meghan, using her platform to advocate for equality and respect.
Will she get “spoken to” about it? Probably. Probably she’ll be told to shut it down. Perhaps even pressured to shut it down. If that’s the case, it will be interesting how she responds. Like, sure, she’ll give you the hosiery and change the way she sits, those are the small battles that may not be worth her energy. Will we see her pushing back and protecting the issues that ARE worth her energy? I really, really hope so.