Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, broke royal protocol on Tuesday evening when she implied support for the outcome of Ireland's historic abortion referendum.
This is according to Fine Gael Sen. Catherine Noone, who met Markle during a garden party at the UK ambassador’s home in Dublin. After talking with Markle, the senator wrote on Twitter that the duchess seemed to be in favour of how the historic vote will pave the way for abortion to be legal in Ireland.
"The Duchess and I had a chat about the recent referendum result — she watched with interest and was pleased to see the result," the first tweet read, according to The Irish Times. The senator followed up with a clarification on a second tweet: “I should say she seemed pleased — she was interested and very measured, not political at all.”
Both tweets were eventually deleted.
In May, nearly 70% of Irish constituents voted to repeal a constitutional clause called the Eighth Amendment, which led to the creation of one of the world's worst anti-abortion regimes by giving a foetus the same rights as a woman. The outcome was hailed across around the world as a victory for women's rights.
Una Mullally, a writer and supporter of the Repeal the 8th campaign, also attended the party and chatted with Markle about the vote. She wrote on Twitter: "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!"
The tweets have gotten Markle in hot water, since technically as a royal she shouldn't be talking about politics. Since the 17th century, the royal family has refrained from expressing their political opinions in public even though it's not an actual law dictating they remain silent. Instead, it's a matter of making life easier for whoever is at the throne, since the monarch's constitutional role is to represent everyone in the nation.
That being said, Markle's support for reproductive rights shouldn't come as a surprise given her feminist cred. Her official royal biography highlights her "lifelong commitment" to women's rights; she's championed the need of ending the stigma around menstruation as an important component of gender equality; and her wedding vows didn't include a pledge to "obey" Prince Harry.