In a rare move, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry broke royal protocol with an election video shading President Donald Trump. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex recorded a video message in honor of National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, September 22. The video was aired in an ABC special announcing Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of 2020.
“Every four years we are told the same thing: that this is the most important election of our lifetime. But this one is,” Meghan said in the video as she and Harry sat on a bench in the backyard of their new home in the Montecito area of Santa Barbara, California. “When we vote, our values are put into action and our voices are heard. Your voice is a reminder that you matter, because you do and you deserve to be heard.”
Harry, who is not a United States citizen, explained that he can’t vote on Election Day on November 3. He has also never voted in the United Kingdom, as members of the British royal family are expected to be politically neutral. That said, Harry did use the video to remind voters to reject “hate speech, misinformation and online negativity” as the upcoming presidential election between Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden comes closer.
“When the bad outweighs the good, for many, whether we realize it or not, it erodes our ability to have compassion and our ability to put ourself in someone else’s shoes,” Harry said. “Because when one person buys into negativity online, the effects are felt exponentially. It’s time to not only reflect, but act.”
In an interview with Access Hollywood, Gloria Steinem also revealed that Meghan “cold-called voters” recently to encourage them to vote in the upcoming election. “She has a kind of stereotype hanging over her head, which is ‘princess.’ The whole idea of ‘princess’ is a problem,” Steinem said. “Meg is herself, smart, authentic, funny, political. She came home to vote.”
Meghan and Harry’s break of royal protocol to remind voters of the U.S. presidential election comes after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their decision to step down as senior members of the British royal family in January. “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” Harry and Meghan wrote on their Instagram at the time. “We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.”