Meghan is embroiled in political storm as Irish senator claims she broke protocol and was 'pleased' with the bid to change abortion laws
- Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry in Ireland for first official visit as newlyweds
- Senator Catharine Noone said Meghan 'pleased' with abortion referendum result
- Since the 17th Century, the royal family are banned from sharing political views
The Duchess of Sussex has found herself at the centre of debate over whether she expressed a political opinion on her inaugural foreign visit as a royal.
Meghan, 36, who has always been proud of her feminist principles and made a point of stating them on the Buckingham Palace website after her marriage to Prince Harry, was talking to a female senator in Dublin last night who later tweeted that she had apparently agreed with Ireland’s recent referendum result in favour of legalising abortion.
The politician, Catherine Noone, subsequently deleted the message and claimed it had been a ‘benign chat’ during which she expressed ‘no political opinion’.
Her original tweet said: ‘A pleasure to meet Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex at the British Ambassador's Residence this evening.
Just hours after their two-hour visit, Irish politician Catharine Noone posted to Facebook suggesting Meghan agreed with the country's recent referendum result in favour of legalising abortion
She wrote: ‘The Duchess and I had a chat about the recent referendum result - she watched with interest and was pleased to see the result.’
After the posting received several replies suggesting that Meghan may have broken royal protocol by expressing a political opinion, she replaced it with a simple message saying what a pleasure it had been to meet her.
She later wrote: ‘I clarified - it was a very benign chat, she expressed no political opinion. She was interested and charming.
‘It was misleading so I deleted it.’
By convention, members of the Royal Family should refrain from commenting on politics or involving themselves political issues
The Duchess of Sussex and her husband Prince Harry flew to Dublin yesterday for their first foreign trip as a newlyweds
It is an interesting situation for the former actress who had been politically active from an early age.
Aged just 11, she successfully campaigned to have a washing detergent advert's sexist language changed.
She also said in 2016 she would move to Canada if ‘misogynistic’ Donald Trump was elected US president.
Ireland had one of the most restrictive abortion regimes in the world with the Eighth Amendment prohibiting abortion in all circumstances, except if there was a real and substantial risk to the life of a mother, including by suicide.
Since the 17th Century, members of the British monarchy have been banned from taking a public view on political matters
In May the country voted by more than 66 per cent to overturn the ban following an impassioned public debate.
At the same garden party, held at the residence of the British ambassador to Ireland last night, Meghan also met campaigner Vicky Phelan, a terminally ill mother-of-two who bravely exposed a cervical smear test scandal and threw her weight behind the ‘Yes’ vote, revealed that Meghan has been ‘following her story’ and ‘told her to keep going’.
She said afterwards: ‘Meghan said she knew who I was and that she had been following my story. I thought 'Oh my god that is amazing'. That was a bonus.
‘I knew people knew [my story] elsewhere but you don't think the Royals watch anything like this.... I was amazed I was gobsmacked. I just said 'thank you' - I couldn't believe she knew who I was to be honest. She just said you're doing great work. Keep doing it.’
Since the 17th Century, members of the British monarchy have been banned from taking a public view on political matters.
However that hasn't stopped comments or opinions slipping through the net from time to time.
Three years ago, Prince Charles' so-called 'black spider' memos lobbying government departments revealed the royal's views on a number of subjects.
He wrote to support badger culls and to push alternative medicine on government health policies while campaigning for traditional values to be taught in schools.
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