In a letter sent to British Ambassador to the U.S. Karen Pierce, Smith – a member of Republican House leadership – argued that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s comments on the upcoming elections are inappropriate, noting the royal family traditionally does not weigh in on political matters.
Since moving to the United States, the couple has taken an active role in encouraging voters to get involved, releasing a video urging individuals to “reject hate speech” and “misinformation” in September and calling it the “most important election of our lifetime.”
“As you know, the British Royal Family has long observed a policy of strict neutrality in regard to political matters. I am therefore concerned by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s recent comments regarding the United States Presidential Election, especially given international conversations surrounding foreign interference in our elections and the Duke’s status as a guest of the United States,” Smith wrote.
Prince Harry and Megan Markle are using foreign titles to campaign against President Trump and interfere with our election. Today, I asked the British Government to put a stop to it.
See my full letter below⬇️ pic.twitter.com/64BdQjYBnG
– Rep. Jason Smith (@RepJasonSmith) October 9, 2020
Prince Harry and Markle no longer use the titles His or Her Royal Highness after they announced they were stepping back from their official roles. They are not working on behalf of Queen Elizabeth, and they still retain the titles of duke and duchess.
The couple has not publicly endorsed a candidate in the 2020 elections.
Smith acknowledged that the prince and Markle do not use their formal titles, but requested that the queen strip the couple of their titles of duke and duchess. He alleged that allowing them to continue to weigh in matters pertaining to the U.S. election would equate to foreign interference.
“It is my view the titles and privileges they retain by permission of Her Majesty the Queen, given with the advice and consent of her government, prevent the Duke and Duchess from separating comments made in a personal capacity from their official position within the British Royal Family,” he continued.
“Therefore, by allowing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to retain their titles, and these political comments to continue, the British Government is effectively condoning interference in the 2020 United States Presidential Election from officials at the highest level of the British establishment.”
Smith called for Pierce to relay the message to the queen, who holds the ability to grant and revoke official titles.
The news comes as concerns about foreign election interference continue in Washington. William Evanina, the director of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center, issued a statement in the summer saying that Russia “is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment.'”
He also said that Iran and China are trying to interfere with the presidential election. However, they reportedly favor Democratic nominee Joe Biden.