Meghan Markle's letter to Congress recalls financial struggle growing up

Meghan Markle's letter to Congress addresses the struggle faced by many parents in the US—including her own

Meghan Markle's letter to Congress addresses the struggle faced by many parents in the US—including her own
(Image credit: Getty)

Meghan Markle's letter to Congress seeks to highlight the plight faced by many parents in the US. The plight in question—unpaid leave for parents—is an issue the Duchess can identify with as she reveals humble upbringing.

Meghan Markle's letter to Congress, "as a mom," advocates for paid leave for parents. The proud mom-of-two previously revealed that Archie sees her as a superhero, and her open letter is in support of all the other superhero parents in the US.

The Duchess of Sussex highlighted the devastating blow of the pandemic—especially to those who were already struggling to get by, flagging the, "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," said Meghan. "The working mom or parent is facing the conflict of being present or being paid. The sacrifice of either comes at a great cost."

The Duchess went on to acknowledge that countless Americans saw their career crumble, as they were forced to take a step back. She then went on to describe the financial struggles she grew up with.

"I grew up on the $4.99 salad bar at Sizzler," she said. "It may have cost less back then (to be honest, I can’t remember)—but what I do remember was the feeling: I knew how hard my parents worked to afford this because even at five bucks, eating out was something special, and I felt lucky." 

Meghan, who's a rarity in the royal family as she had a career before joining it, discussed her working life which began at the age of 13. Despite her family's tough time making ends meet, she acknowledges her privilege that they just about managed.

Although it's been said that Prince Harry is a 'better man because of Meghan Markle and her 'charisma,' some might say that it's parenthood that's made them both. Sharing her story but yet again, checking her privilege, she opened up about the birth of Lilibet Diana. Not all are born the same and Meghan Markle’s daughter will inherit this luxurious piece of jewelry, as well as a small fortune and a life of privilege—alongside her big brother Archie.

Sagely, sharing her experience she said, "In June, my husband and I welcomed our second child. 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."

The Duchess continued, "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."

Professing that, "No family should be faced with these decisions," to choose between earning a living and being able to care for a child or loved one in need, Meghan added that the cumulative costs are innumerable in the long run.

Making comparison to the many developed countries in which paid leave is a right, philanthropic Meghan, whose recent generous donation was labeled as ‘lifesaving’, asserted, "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."

"This isn’t about Right or Left, it’s about right or wrong," she added. "This is about putting families above politics."

The Duchess then ended the letter, "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."

Aoife Hanna
Junior News Editor

Aoife is an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly woman&home's junior news editor and a contributing writer at Bustle, her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica and EVOKE.

Her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.