Duchess of Sussex phones US senators to lobby for paid family leave

The Duchess of Sussex personally called US senators on their mobiles to lobby them for paid family leave.

The mother-of-two, who introduced herself as “Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex”, telephoned at least two American senators to press them on the issue.

Campaigners want paid leave to be included in an upcoming US social spending bill, with the Duchess joining in her most significant political lobbying to date.

A spokesman confirmed the Duchess had contacted members of congress in a personal capacity as an “engaged citizen”.

One Republican senator disclosed she had received a call from an unknown number, answering it to find the Duchess on the line.

Meghan ‘part of working group’ …

Kirsten Gilibrand, the Democrat senator for New York, told Politico: “She wants to be part of a working group to work on paid leave long term and she’s going to be.

“Whether this comes to fruition now or later, she’ll be part of a group of women that hopefully will work on paid leave together.”

Ms Gillibrand, who is pushing for paid leave, said she had alerted female senators to the possibility of the Duchess calling.

Shelley Moore Capito, the Republican senator for West Virginia, said she had been driving when she took the call, initially thinking it was a senator colleague.

Susan Collins, Republican senator for Maine, said: “Much to my surprise, she called me on my private line and introduced herself as the Duchess of Sussex.

“I was happy to talk with her, but I’m more interested in what people from Maine are telling me about paid leave.”

… who writes as a ‘mom’

Ms Collins later told The New York Times: “She just weighed in that she thought paid leave was really important, and I told her there were a lot of different approaches, and people were working on it.”

The Duchess has already written an open letter to Chuck Schumer, the US senator, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, demanding paid leave for new parents.

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”.

Writing in a 1,010-word letter on headed notepaper, the Duchess said: “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.”

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