“I always stood up for what was right”: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex responds to backlash over her political activism

She called paid parental leave a "humanitarian issue".
Loading the player...

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex has made a bold appearance for The New York Times DealBook Online Summit, where she has defended her recent political moves.

Dressed in a black blouse, wide leg trousers and her signature black suede pumps, the royal kept her outfit understated as she sat down to speak for the event.

She also wore a Remembrance Day poppy, which was pinned to her chest.

Joining host Andrew Ross Sorkin, Founder of DealBook The New York Times, and Mellody Hobson, Co-C.E.O. and President of Ariel Investments, Meghan spoke about how women can reach economic and professional parity.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex spoke at The New York Times DealBook Online Summit.

(The New York Times)

“There’s nothing wrong with talking about a woman’s success or her ambition or her financial prowess,” she told them both.

The royal also addressed the backlash over her recent pushes for paid parental leave in the US, including a bold open letter and phonecalls to US senators.

Acknowledging that the royal family generally remain neutral on political issues, Meghan stated: “Paid leave, from my standpoint, is just a humanitarian issue.”

She added that the issue is not “red or blue”, a reference to the US Democratic and Republican parties.

With two children at home – Archie, two, and Lilibet, five months – Meghan said that she was keenly aware of how new parenthood can put a strain on families.

“To come back and now be a mother of two and to see that the U.S. is one of only six countries in the entire world that doesn’t offer any form of national paid leave just didn’t make sense,” the duchess said.

“We can all agree that people need support certainly when they’ve just had a child.”

Since leaving the royal family in March 2020, she and husband Prince Harry have faced criticism for getting involved in US politics.

Loading the player...

From speaking up during the 2020 US presidential election, to their more recent appearance at the Global Citizen Vax Live concert, the pair have been slammed for being more vocal about political causes.

However, Meghan told Sorkin that she’s been proactive about these issues since long before she ever married into the royal family.

“Even before I had any sort of privilege in my life — when my life and my lifestyle were very, very different — I always stood up for what was right,” she said.

When she first joined the monarchy, Meghan was labelled a “breath of fresh air” and praised as one of the most progressive royals to date.

Meghan with Andrew Ross Sorkin, Founder of DealBook The New York Times, and Mellody Hobson, Co-C.E.O. and President of Ariel Investments.

(The New York Times)

Though she and Harry have since stepped down from their roles as senior royals, the couple have continued to use their considerable status to support causes they believe in.

For Meghan, that has been women’s rights issues and paid parental leave, while Harry has been vocal about mental health.

Both made speaking appearances this week in the US, with Harry set to attend a military event in New York tomorrow.

Related stories

Unwind and relax with your favourite magazine!

Huge savings plus FREE home delivery