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How Michelle Obama ‘influenced’ Meghan and Harry’s bombshell decision to leave royals

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Meghan and Mrs Obama, the former First Lady, both made emotional pleas to the US electorate last week, asking them to vote in the upcoming presidential election. While Mrs Obama has been at the forefront of politics for years, Meghan was criticised for taking such a stance. Some commentators saw it as a contradiction of the political neutrality expected of all senior royals.

Still, the Sussexes are said to be spending more time in similar circles as the Obamas, as both holiday with George and Amal Clooney and share Serena Williams as a mutual friend.

Meghan and Harry have also signed up to the same high-profile public speaking agency as the Obamas since moving to the US.

Mrs Obama and Meghan are said to have established the foundations of a strong friendship, too — with a few royal watchers thinking the ex-White House stalmart has become a mentor to the Duchess of Sussex.

The two women were first introduced at the Southbank Centre, in December 2018.

Mrs Obama has implied she understood Meghan’s unique role in the public eye by saying: “Like me, Meghan probably never dreamt she’d have a life like this and the pressure you feel can sometimes feel like a lot.”

Journalist Susannah Butter explained back in January: “Meghan has long admired Michelle — the former First Lady’s experience resonates with her.

“They have both questioned the scrutiny that their husband’s jobs bring and are trying to use their platforms to carve out progressive roles in the world.

“It is Michelle who has given Meghan confidence and a blueprint as she and Prince Harry make their historic break from the Royal Family.”

She even noted in the Evening Standard that the “M&M alliance” could be the “making of Meghan”.

Indeed, both women have pushed back against their husbands being in historic establishments.

Mrs Obama once said: “I didn’t think it was a great idea for Barack to run for office; he would be required to be away from home and he was too earnest, too full of valiant plans to be a politician… there were better ways for a good person to have an impact.”

Meghan also explained back in October last year that she thought the “British sensibility of a stiff upper lip” — which is considered one of the defining features of the stoic monarchy — was “damaging”.

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She said that burying emotions is “probably really damaging”, which critics saw as a technique to hit out at the royal institution, just as Mrs Obama suggested being inside the White House could drain her husband.

Like Mrs Obama, Meghan and Harry have sought to create “an impact” away from the restrictions of key institutions.

The Sussexes have already given a number of speeches through virtual platforms on climate change, women’s rights and racism since leaving the royal fold.

Mrs Obama has previously revealed what advice she gives to her two daughters which extends to Meghan, too.

She suggests not “checking the boxes you are supposed to check” but trusting your intuition instead to find your place in the world.

Indeed, this echoes the very same sentiment Meghan and Harry expressed when they said they wanted to “carve out” a new role for themselves back in January.

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