Could Meghan Markle be US President despite being a member of the royal family?

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3-min read

She’s recently spoken out about the US elections - but could Meghan Markle one day take the ultimate next step and run for the top job of President?

That’s the question sparked by one betting company, which has revealed the Duchess of Sussex gets more bets placed on her running for executive power in 2024 than Michelle Obama and George Clooney.

Meghan, 39, has been campaigning to encourage people, and women in particular, to use their vote in the forthcoming US Presidential Election. She has, however, been careful not to align herself to a particular party.

Despite this, her campaigning comments have prompted a flurry of bets that she could run in 2024, with betting firm Ladbrokes placing the likelihood of her doing so at 100/1.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 12: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex delivers a speech as she launches the Smart Works capsule collection on September 12, 2019 in London, England. Created in September 2013 Smart Works exists to help unemployed women regain the confidence they need to succeed at job interviews and return to employment. (Photo by Mark Large - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Meghan Markle, making a speech in London in September 2019, could become US president. (Getty Images)

So how would this sit with Meghan’s role as a high-profile member of the royal family.

Typically, senior royals do not vote, nor voice political opinions which would support one particular party over another in order that they remain neutral.

Although they are not formally banned Meghan herself recently revealed her husband, Prince Harry, has “never been able to vote”.

Read more: Meghan Markle says she's proud of Prince Harry for setting 'beautiful' feminist example to son Archie

One biographer, Lady Colin Campbell, has claimed she has been told Meghan wants to run for president one day, though The Daily Telegraph has said the duchess’s recent campaigning should not be seen as “a warm-up for the Democrat cause”.

But how would this sit with her role as a royal?

Professor Robert Hazell, from the Constitution Unit at UCL, told Yahoo UK: “Meghan Markle is a US citizen by birth. Legally and constitutionally, there is nothing to prevent her from being a candidate for the US Presidency.

“Nor could the British royal family stand in her way. They have no power to do so; nor would they want to obstruct her; especially if she appeared to be a popular candidate with a chance of winning.”

Anyone wanting to run to be US president must be a “natural born citizen”, at least 35 years old, and have been a resident in the US for 14 years.

At 39, Meghan already fits all of this criteria, but it would be too late for her to enter the ballot in most states this year.

Read more: Meghan Markle tells women: 'If you aren't voting, you're complicit'

Professor Vernon Bogdanor, a research professor at King’s College London, said: “There is no legal provision by which the royal family could prohibit her standing. But of course there could be social pressures.”

Prof Hazell added: “Monarchy has more in common with an elected Presidency than might be supposed.

“In the 20th century 18 referendums were held on the future of the monarchy in nine different European countries. Monarchies survive only with the continuing support of the people; individual monarchs who lose that support tend to lose their thrones.

“This happened most recently with King Juan Carlos of Spain, after opinion polls showed two thirds of Spaniards felt he should abdicate, which he did in 2014.”

Polls over the years have shown the monarchy in the UK continues to be popular.

A YouGov poll in February found only one-fifth of people would get rid of the monarchy in the UK, with support for the institution at 62%.

Meghan has chosen to stay out of backing a specific candidate for this election, but before she married Harry, she called Donald Trump “misogynistic and divisive”.

Her appearances so far have included one with When We All Vote, a non-partisan organisation founded by Michelle Obama, and with Makers US where she spoke to lifetime campaigner Gloria Steinem.

Steinem has previously backed Democratic candidates in presidential elections, including Hillary Clinton.

Meghan also talked about the importance of voting because of “what’s at stake” this year.