Duchess of Sussex lobbies US Democrats for paid parental leave

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
The Duchess of Sussex, pictured with son Archie and the Duke, argued parents should not be forced to ‘choose between earning a living and having the freedom to take care of their child’ - Shutterstock
The Duchess of Sussex, pictured with son Archie and the Duke, argued parents should not be forced to ‘choose between earning a living and having the freedom to take care of their child’ - Shutterstock

The Duchess of Sussex has written to US Democrats to demand paid leave for new parents, in her most significant political lobbying to date.

The Duchess, who said she was writing as a “mom”, argued mothers and fathers should not be forced to “choose between earning a living and having the freedom to take care of their child”.

Detailing her own upbringing, she said she “grew up on the $4.99 salad bar” and went on to work an array of entry-level jobs through the necessity of “making ends meet and having enough to pay my rent and put gas in my car”.

‘This is about putting families above politics’

Writing in a 1,010-word letter on headed notepaper to Chuck Schumer, the US senator, and Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of US House of Representatives, the Duchess joined the Paid Leave For All campaign, saying: "With stakes this high none of us can afford to let apathy win.”

The Duchess put forward her arguments in a letter to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer - Sauk Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
The Duchess put forward her arguments in a letter to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer - Sauk Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

“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.

“I know how politically charged things can, and have, become. But this isn’t about Right or Left, it’s about right or wrong. This is about putting families above politics.”

Comparing current US policies – which do not guarantee any paid leave – unfavourably with other nations, the Duchess did not mention the UK’s more comprehensive parental leave policies despite having her first child, Archie, in England.

Of her American homeland, she said: “I’m sure you agree that if we are to continue to be exceptional, then we can’t be the exception.”

The Duchess outlined her own family circumstances, in which she and the Duke of Sussex did not have to worry about their finances after the birth of their second child, Lilibet.

However, she said, she remembers feeling “lucky” to eat out with her parents for $4.99 and considered it a “luxury” to be able to save after starting work in a frozen yoghurt shop aged 13.

“I expect many of your constituents have their own version of that story,” she told the politicians. “Perhaps you do too.

"People in our country work incredibly hard, and yet the ask is soft: for a level playing field to achieve their version of a common dream—what is fair, and equal, and right.”

She added: “The families you represent need your strong leadership. With paid leave on the cusp of becoming a national reality, I trust you will meet this moment. I know you must hear from your constituents about the choices they are facing every day to make ends meet and care for their families.”

The Duchess, who described herself as “an engaged citizen and a parent”, previously urged Americans to use their vote ahead of last year’s presidential election, and lobbied for vaccine equity.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting