Meghan Markle has made no secret of her liberal politics or her desire to promote the fortunes of the Democratic Party, perhaps promoting her own in the process.
The Duchess of Sussex was certainly prepared to risk controversy when, during the 2020 presidential race, she seemed to suggest that American voters should back Biden over Trump.
With the 2024 campaign now gathering momentum, Meghan and her political interests are coming under increased scrutiny amid speculation that she could run for office herself.
Speculation she has done little to dampen.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend a prestigious awards event hosted by an offshoot of the Kennedys, America’s most famous Democratic family.
Prince Harry with the then First Lady, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden in 2015. The Prince was there to promote the Invictus Games, which were held in Florida the following year.
The Duchess of Sussex in action while creating podcasts. Spotify has confirmed that it will not renew its Archetypes series
It was revealed this week by dailymail.com that, with Harry, he tried to hitch a ride with President Joe Biden and his wife on Air Force One as they returned from Queen Elizabeth’s funeral in September. The claim has not been denied so far.
Glen Owen, political editor for The Mail on Sunday, had previously reported that Meghan has been “networking among senior Democrats with a view to building campaign and fundraising teams for a US presidential nod.”
It’s not yet clear when such a tilt might occur, but the Duchess of Sussex hasn’t sat idly by, and rumors of her political ambitions persist.
Here we look at what that ‘network’ has entailed, and at some of the top Democrats the Duchess has been courting to date as she weighs a possible run for office.
Gavin Newsom, Governor of California
California Governor Gavin Newsom and his wife Jennifer greet supporters on election night in 2018. It was reported that he took part in a video call with Meghan and Harry at a time when he was choosing a new senator for the state.
Gavin Newsom Prepares to Sign Gun Control Legislation in 2022
In early 2021, The Sun obtained a memo suggesting that Meghan and Harry had participated in a one-hour virtual meeting. with Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom just two weeks away from the 2020 US presidential election.
The timing is interesting as Newsom had been facing calls to line up a woman of color to replace California Sen. Kamala Harris if, as it turned out to be the case, Ms. Harris were elected vice president.
The choice of his replacement would have been within Newsom’s gift and he ultimately chose California’s first Latino senator, Alex Padillo.
Is that a role that Meghan might have wanted for herself?
Newsom, 55, has refused to discuss the content of the meeting, but a senior political source in Westminster told Mail Royals that the virtual meeting had ended with the words: ‘I’m not going to make you a Senator.’
It is not known if Newsom has known the Sussexes since then.
The Obamas, former president and first lady
Mehgan Markle, while still an actress, seems delighted to meet President Obama at the White House
Jill Biden, Prince Harry and Michelle Obama prepare to attend the 2013 event honoring wounded servicemen
Prince Harry interviews former President Obama as part of his guest edition of the Today show, broadcast in December 2017
The first people of color to occupy the White House, Barack and Michelle Obama, seem like the obvious figures to court.
Although they are no longer in office, they remain influential both in the Democrats and in national life.
There has certainly been contact.
In 2017, Prince Harry interviewed Barack Obama for BBC Radio 4’s Today show and the two men are believed to have hit it off. He also got to know the Obamas through his work with wounded military personnel.
During the 2020 presidential campaign, Meghan turned to an organization co-founded by Michelle Obama to encourage voter turnout: the When All Women Vote Couch Party.
The Sussexes also hired staff with suitable political connections, including their spokesperson Miranda Barbot, who had worked on President Obama’s re-election campaign.
Katie McCormick Lelyveld, a one-time consultant to the Sussexes charity Archewell, was previously a spokesperson for Michelle Obama.
Even so, there is no evidence of a particularly close relationship between the Sussexes and the Obamas.
And when South Park lampooned the Sussexes’ “Worldwide Privacy Tour,” the cartoonists hinted at something quite different, slipping in a barely visible description of their “Meghan” persona as an “annoying First Lady.”
When Harry and Meghan did not attend Barack Obama’s 60th birthday party at his Martha’s Vineyard vacation home in 2021, there was speculation that they had not, in fact, been invited.
President Joe and Dr. Jill Biden
Jill Biden greets Harry at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill greet Stansted as they prepare to fly home after Queen Elizabeth’s funeral in September.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden disembark from Air Force One in 2021 en route to meet Queen Elizabeth
Prince Harry meets Joe Biden at the 2017 Invictus Games. Harry established ties to both the Bidens and the Obamas through his support for wounded servicemen.
Dailymail.com has revealed that the Sussexes asked to fly back from Queen Elizabeth’s funeral aboard Air Force One.
The request was reportedly rejected.
It has also been claimed that First Lady Dr Jill Biden had been asked to attend Prince Harry’s 2022 Invictus Games but declined the invitation, reportedly amid concerns that her presence might have been seen as difficult for the Royal Family.
Dr. Biden has attended the games on previous occasions and it has been suggested that she would have liked to do so this year as well, but had been advised to stay away.
Harry and Meghan might well have expected to meet the Bidens in the days leading up to Queen Elizabeth’s funeral in September.
However, the Sussexes were not invited to an important reception at Buckingham Palace for world leaders and foreign royals. It is said that they were surprised.
However, Harry got to know Bill and Joe Biden, like the Obamas, through his work with wounded servicemen and the Invictus games.
He also ‘met’ Dr. Biden when she helped him host a Zoom event for wounded warrior athletes in September 2021.
The two had planned to attend that year’s Invictus games together, but with the pandemic still raging, the event turned into an online meeting.
Harry and Dr. Biden showered each other with praise, with Dr. Biden thanking the Duke for dedicating himself to “lifting up service members around the world.”
The Kennedys – families of John F and Robert F Kennedy
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex speak at the Ripple of Hope Gala at the New York Hilton in December 2022
When Prince William joined the family of former President John F Kennedy for last year’s Earthshot awards ceremony (Earthshot is William’s environmental sustainability charity), the Sussexes seemed to have an immediate response.
He came to a different branch of the Kennedy clan.
As William headed to Boston and the JFK Library, run by the descendants of the assassinated former president, Harry and Meghan received a rival offer from the rival Kennedys: the Ripple of Hope gala in New York.
It is run by the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Foundation, created by the assassinated younger brother of the JFK family and attorney general, Bobby Kennedy.
The foundation even gave Meghan an award for taking “a heroic stand against racism.”
It will not have escaped Meghan’s attention that Robert F. Kennedy Jr, an environmental lawyer, vaccine skeptic and son of Bobby Kennedy, has now joined the race for the Democratic nomination.