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Meghan Markle has sent an open letter to Congress about parental and sick leave legislation in the US.
The Duchess of Sussex wrote to two senior US figures not as an "elected official….[nor] a politician" but as an "engaged citizen and a parent….and as a mom".
Appealing to the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, Meghan, 40, wrote: "I’m not an elected official, and I’m not a politician. I am, like many, an engaged citizen and a parent.
"And because you and your congressional colleagues have a role in shaping family outcomes for generations to come, that’s why I’m writing to you at this deeply important time – as a mom – to advocate for paid leave."
Meghan went on to discuss her own upbringing, explaining how eating out was a treat and a celebration.
"... I grew up on the $4.99 salad bar at Sizzler – it may have cost less back then (to be honest, I can’t remember) – but what I do remember was the feeling: I knew how hard my parents worked to afford this because even at five bucks, eating out was something special, and I felt lucky," she said.
"And as a Girl Scout, when my troop would go to dinner for a big celebration, it was back to that same salad bar or The Old Spaghetti Factory – because that’s what those families could afford."
The Duchess - mum to Archie and Lilibet - said the pandemic has caused millions of women to drop out of work to look after their children, after schools and nurseries closed due to Covid.
She went on to explain how she had worked from the age of 13.
"I waited tables, babysat, and piecemealed jobs together to cover odds and ends," she said.
"I worked all my life and saved when and where I could – but even that was a luxury – because usually it was about making ends meet and having enough to pay my rent and put gas in my car.
"In June, my husband and I welcomed our second child. Like any parents, we were overjoyed. Like many parents, we were overwhelmed."
Meghan ended the letter by calling for families to be put first, including implementing a 'strong paid leave program for every American'. In the US, there is currently no guarantee for paid sick or maternity/paternity leave.
"I know how politically charged things can – and have – become. But this isn't about right or left, it's about right or wrong," she said.
"This is about putting families above politics. And for a refreshing change, it's something we all seem to agree on. At a point when everything feels so divisive, let this be a shared goal that unites us.
"So, on behalf of my family, Archie and Lili and Harry, I thank you for considering this letter, and on behalf of all families, I ask you to ensure this consequential moment is not lost."
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