One thing that separates us mere mortals from the royals is that we’re allowed to talk about politics, which lets us gawk at fiery Facebook posts from our high school classmates and attend all the marches we want. Per protocol, members of the royal family are barred from speaking about politics in public. But Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, is taking the F-word to the masses while on tour with her husband, Prince Harry, in her most politically-charged statement as a royal yet.
“Women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness,” said Markle at the 125th anniversary of women receiving the right to vote in New Zealand. She also reminded us that New Zealand set the tone for women’s suffrage throughout the world: “The achievements of the women of New Zealand who campaigned for their right to vote, and were the first in the world to achieve it, are universally admired.”
The Duchess also expounded on the greater implications of voter equality, saying, “Women’s suffrage is not simply about the right to vote for women” — and specifically pointed to those who exist within the margins. “[It is] also about what that represents: the basic and fundamental human right of all people, including those members of society who have been marginalized whether for reasons of race, gender, ethnicity, or orientation, to be able to participate in the choices for their future and their community.”
It’s worth noting that women’s suffrage — and, more broadly, equal and fair representation for all in government — shouldn’t be a political issue. But even now, in 2018, the right to vote is under attack all over the world. In the United States, key protections in the the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were gutted by the conservative-leaning Supreme Court in 2013. Today, the state of Georgia is at the centre of a greater conversation about voter suppression among communities of colour.
Markle’s words are a reminder that speaking out about equality and fairness, whether taboo or not, are crucial in these times — and we hope that Kensington Palace is as proud of their woke duchess as we are. You can watch her speech below.
"Bravo New Zealand for championing the right of women to vote 125 years ago." — The Duchess of Sussex, as she and The Duke joined PM @JacindaArdern and @GovGeneralNZ Dame Patsy Reddy to celebrate the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage in New Zealand. #RoyalVisitNZ pic.twitter.com/zpFhyPiE8r— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) October 28, 2018