Harry is facing a furious backlash amid claims of political interference after he urged people in the US to “reject hate speech” and vote in the presidential elections. In a video released last night, he said: “As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity.” Meghan Markle also urged Americans to vote in the “most important election of our lifetime”.
The Duke is not a working member of the Royal Family and any comments are made in a personal capacity
But a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “The Duke is not a working member of the Royal Family and any comments he makes are made in a personal capacity.”
Harry remains sixth in line to the throne despite stepping down as a senior working royal, and members of the royal family traditionally do not vote or become involved in elections or political matters.
Broadcaster Piers Morgan condemned Harry for his remarks, tweeting: “Prince Harry poking his woke nose into the US election & effectively telling Americans to vote against President Trump is completely unacceptable behaviour for a member of the Royal Family.”
Prince Harry has been accused of getting involved with the US election
A source close to Harry insisted the duke was not referring to US President Donald Trump nor any other individual when he made the remarks.
The source said: “The duke was talking about the tone of debate in the run-up to an election which is already quite febrile.
“He is not talking about any candidate or specific campaign.
“He is building on a lot of stuff that he’s said before about online communities, how we engage with each other online, rather than specifically making any political points.”
Prince Harry’s comments were made in a ‘personal capacity’ according to Buckingham Palace
Prince Harry said he had never voted in his life
Harry reminded Americans to be discerning in terms of the content they consume online.
He said: “When the bad outweighs the good, for many, whether we realise it or not, it erodes our ability to have compassion and our ability to put ourself in someone else’s shoes.
“Because when one person buys into negativity online, the effects are felt exponentially. It’s time to not only reflect, but act.”
Mr Trump, who is campaigning for re-election, has often been criticised for using inflammatory language, and in August, Facebook deleted one of his posts for the first time for violating its policy against spreading misinformation about coronavirus.
Twitter began labelling Mr Trump’s tweets with fact checks in May.
The 36-year-old duke said he would not vote in the election as he was not a US citizen and confirmed he had never voted in a UK elections.
British law does not ban royalty from voting but it is considered unconstitutional for them to do so. The Queen, as a constitutional head of state, is politically neutral.
Harry said: “This election, I’m not going to be able to vote here in the US.
“But many of you might not know that I haven’t been able to vote in the UK my entire life.”
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are carving out a new life in the USA
The source declined to comment on whether Harry’s phrase “this election” suggested he would be applying for dual citizenship in the US in order to be able to vote in future elections.
The source said: “They are not working royals. They are private citizens and it’s understandable they want to keep those matters private.”
Harry quit as a senior working royal with Meghan in March in a bid for personal and financial freedom and now lives in the US, but they are still members of the royal family.
The duchess, who mocked then-Republican candidate Mr Trump during a 2016 television appearance, said in the video the November poll was the “most important election of our lifetime”.
Sources close to the couple said the comments were not directed at Donald Trump
She said: “When we vote, our values are put into action and our voices are heard. Your voice is a reminder that you matter, because you do and you deserve to be heard,” she said.
Meghan told lawyer and feminist activist Gloria Steinem last month she was “so excited” to see fellow biracial woman Kamala Harris selected as Democrat Joe Biden’s running mate.
Ms Steinem has said the duchess came home to vote and has been cold-calling people to encourage voter participation.
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As a result of the Time video, one bookmaker now has Meghan at odds of 100/1 to become president of the US in just four years’ time.
Jessica O’Reilly, of Ladbrokes, said: “Since leaving the UK, Meghan hasn’t been shy when it’s come to voicing her political opinions, and a run for president in 2024 certainly isn’t off the table.”
Harry and Meghan were filmed to mark Time 100, a list compiled by the magazine to celebrate the world’s most influential people.