Meghan Markle Was the First Modern Royal to Vote In a U.S. Election

She's been vocal about the importance of voting well before stepping into royal life.

Ever since officially stepping down from their royal duties earlier this year, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have also largely stayed out of the spotlight as public figures—that is, unless, they’re using their platform to speak out about topics that are important to them, such as structural racism, feminism, cyberbullying, mental health, and, of course, voting. Markle casting her vote in the 2020 presidential election holds some pretty powerful significance, because she just became the first modern royal to vote in a U.S. election.

Sources close to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex told USA Today and People that Markle was, in fact, planning to vote in this year’s presidential race, though it’s unclear if she voted by mail or in-person, either on Election Day or during early voting.

That makes her the first royal in recent history to do so—as USA Today reported, only one other member of the royal family could have possibly voted, all the way back in 1937. King Edward VIII abdicated the throne after he married an American socialite named Wallis Simpson, and though she remained an American citizen, it’s unclear if she herself voted in any elections throughout her life as a royal.

As for Markle, she has been open about the importance of using your voice by casting a ballot. In August, she told Marie Claire that she knows “what it’s like to have a voice, and also what it’s like to feel voiceless.”

She continued, “I also know that so many men and women have put their lives on the line for us to be heard. And that opportunity, that fundamental right, is in our ability to exercise our right to vote and to make all of our voices heard.”

“One of my favorite quotes, and one that my husband and I have referred to often, is from Kate Sheppard, a leader in the suffragist movement in New Zealand, who said, ‘Do not think your single vote does not matter much. The rain that refreshes the parched ground is made up of single drops,’” Marke said. “That is why I vote.”

Though she didn’t explicitly endorse a candidate, in 2016, she did support Hillary Clinton. In a pre-royal appearance on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, she said, “Of course Trump is divisive—think about female voters alone. I think it was in 2012, the Republican Party lost the female vote by 12 points. That’s a huge number and as misogynistic as Trump is—and so vocal about it—that’s a huge chunk of it.”

She added, “You’re not just voting for a woman if it’s Hillary, just because she’s a woman, but certainly, because Trump has made it easy to see that you don’t really want that kind of world that he’s painting.”

Since Prince Harry is not a resident of the U.S., he was unable to vote, but in a joint appearance with his wife on Time magazine’s TIME100 TV special in September, he said, “As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation, and online negativity.”

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