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British Royal Family

Duchess Meghan pens impassioned open letter calling for paid parental leave in the US

The Duchess of Sussex also shared some candid details about her childhood.

By Alex Lilly
Duchess Meghan has always been a vocal advocate for equality and just four months after giving birth herself, has penned an impassioned letter calling for paid parental leave in the US.
Addressed to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer, the Duchess of Sussex wrote for her own perspective as a mum and highlighted how she and husband Prince Harry were fortunate enough to take paid parental leave after welcoming their second child, Lilibet.
The Duchess of Sussex wrote as a mum to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer. (Misan Harriman)
"Like any parents, we were overjoyed. Like many parents, we were overwhelmed. Like fewer parents, we weren't confronted with the harsh reality of either spending those first few critical months with our baby or going back to work," she wrote.
"We knew we could take her home, and in that vital (and sacred) stage, devote any and everything to our kids and to our family. We knew that by doing so we wouldn't have to make impossible choices about childcare, work, and medical care that so many have to make every single day."
Meghan, who is also mum to two-year-old Archie, then highlighted: "No family should be faced with these decisions. No family should have to choose between earning a living and having the freedom to take care of their child (or a loved one, or themselves, as we would see with a comprehensive paid leave plan)."
"No family should have to choose between earning a living and having the freedom to take care of their child (or a loved one, or themselves, as we would see with a comprehensive paid leave plan)." (Getty)
The Duchess of Sussex also shared rare details of her childhood and her working parents Doria Ragland and Thomas Markle, including how she "grew up" on the $4.99 salad at US chain restaurant Sizzler.
"I knew how hard my parents worked to afford this because even at five bucks, eating out was something special, and I felt lucky," she recalled, before reflecting on her years working at the local frozen yogurt shop where she started working at age 13.
"I waited tables, babysat, and piecemealed jobs together to cover odds and ends. I worked all my life and saved when and where I could—but even that was a luxury—because usually it was about making ends meet and having enough to pay my rent and put gas in my car."
WATCH BELOW: Meghan Markle standing up to sexism as an 11 year old. Post continues after video...
Duchess Meghan finished her letter by touching on how "politically charged" things can and have become, but that paid parental leave should be a national right regardless.
"I know how politically charged things can—and have—become. But this isn't about Right or Left, it's about right or wrong," she wrote.
"This is about putting families above politics. And for a refreshing change, it's something we all seem to agree on. At a point when everything feels so divisive, let this be a shared goal that unites us."
"So, on behalf of my family, Archie and Lili and Harry, I thank you for considering this letter, and on behalf of all families, I ask you to ensure this consequential moment is not lost."
The US is one of the world's few countries that does not federally guarantee any person a single day of paid leave. In Australia, eligible employees who are the primary carer of a newborn or newly adopted child get up to 18 weeks' paid parental leave.

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