Rep. Jason Smith, a Republican congressman from Missouri, wrote a letter to the British Royal Family through the UK ambassador to the United States, Dame Karen Pierce, where he accused Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, of interfering in the US elections.
His letter is coming on the heels of comments Harry and Meghan granted to ABC and Time Magazine as part of a collaborative special to mark the National Voter Registration Day. The pair had in their comments called on American voters to “reject hate speech, misinformation, and online negativity”. Smith said their statement means they were campaigning against President Donald Trump, which goes against the rules of political neutrality expected from members of the British Royal Family.
“These actions represent a serious breach of the British Royal Family’s policy of political neutrality and inappropriate interference by one of our closest allies,” Smith’s letter read in part.
Smith then called on the Royal Family to implore the pair to desist from actions or comments that can be interpreted as undue political interference since they still retain the titles, or risk having to be stripped of all titles, styles, and privileges which they currently enjoy.
“Every four years we are told the same thing, that this is the most important election of our lifetime, but this one is,” Meghan had said.
“As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation, and online negativity,” Prince Harry noted as well.
Smith’s letter attracted some backlash from notable personalities and from Twitter users since the letter was published on the micro-blogging site.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat from Illinois, lent his voice on the trending letter. He tweeted, “According to this letter, urging people to exercise their right to vote and to ‘reject hate speech, misinformation, and online negativity’ is campaigning against the president? I guess this is one way to try to get a cameo on The Crown.”
Since moving to the United States in March, as part of the deal they struck with the Royal Family to step back from royal duties to allow for more privacy, the couple has been vocal about the upcoming US elections, urging voters to vote for the right candidates. Yet, the couple has not publicly endorsed a candidate for the elections.
In spite of this, senior officials from the Royal Family still consider the comments made by Harry and Meghan as violations of rules guiding the actions of members of the Royal Family. However, Buckingham Palace set the record straight last month to reporters.
“We would not comment,” the Palace had said. “The Duke is not a working member of the Royal Family, and any comments he makes are made in a personal capacity.”