Europe

Meghan could be barred from US Presidency by 211-year-old constitutional amendment

Meghan Markle 'wanting to get into politics' says Eborn

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A 211-year-old constitutional amendment, which was introduced in order to stop Napoleon’s nephew from ever seeking power, could be used to halt any political ambitions that may be held by the Duchess. The 1810 tweak to the constitution is called the Titles of Nobility Amendment and states that anyone who “accepts, claims, receives or retains a title of nobility bestowed by a foreign power” may not hold federal office.

While the amendment was sent out to the individual state legislatures – only 12 of the required 14 state legislatures voted in favour of it.

However, the amendment was never thrown out and has remained on the table for more than two centuries.

Speaking to the Telegraph, constitutional experts said that the previous 12 votes are likely to still count, meaning that only 26 further states’ approval would be needed for the amendment to pass.

The introduction of the amendment followed the marriage of Napoleon Bonaparte’s younger brother Jérôme to American socialite Elizabeth “Betsy” Patterson.

This caused speculation that their son might run for office and that the US would be subsumed into the French empire.

Meanwhile, US Constitutional Expert Mark Tushnet told Express.co.uk that keeping her titles could be politically “damaging” for the Duchess, should she decide to run for office.

The Harvard professor said: “As a practical matter, though, she’d have to renounce her titles to run.

“Politically it would be quite damaging, I think, for her to retain the titles.

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“Opponents will seize on anything, and this will be a hook to say ‘well she’s not really a true American.’”

This comes amid increasing speculation about whether or not the 40-year-old royal may run for US office in the future, after she penned an overtly political letter to Congress, lobbying them for paid leave.

In her letter, she wrote: “Over the past 20 months, the pandemic has exposed long-existing fault lines in our communities.

“At an alarming rate, millions of women dropped out of the workforce, staying home with their kids as schools and daycares were closed, and looking after loved ones full-time.

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“The working mom or parent is facing the conflict of being present or being paid. The sacrifice of either comes at a great cost.

“Paid leave should be a national right, rather than a patchwork option limited to those whose employers have policies in place, or those who live in one of the few states where a leave program exists.

“If we’re going to create a new era of family first policies, let’s make sure that includes a strong paid leave program for every American that’s guaranteed, accessible, and encouraged without stigma or penalty.”

However, defending her decision to engage with the issue, Meghan described it as “humanitarian”, rather than political.

Speaking to the New York Times’ Dealbook, she said: “Look, there’s certainly a precedent among my husband’s family and the Royal Family of not having any involvement in politics

“I mean paid leave, from my standpoint, is just a humanitarian issue.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were allowed to keep their titles after they stepped back from royal duties and moved to California at the start of last year.

However, there have been calls for the couple to be stripped of their titles, following media appearances and engagement with what people perceive to be political issues.

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