The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have called on Americans to make their voices heard by registering to vote in the upcoming US election. On Tuesday, the royal couple made an appearance during a broadcast special unveiling of the 2020 TIME 100, TIME’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people.
From their Santa Barbara home’s backyard, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle congratulated those being named to the TIME 100, before making a plea about the importance of voting.
“We’re just six weeks out from Election Day, and today is National Voter Registration Day,” Meghan said. “Every four years, we are told the same thing, that ‘This is the most important election of our lifetime.’ But this one is. 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.”
Harry, who is not a US citizen, acknowledged that he will not be able to vote this year before noting that he has also never voted in the UK as royals are typically expected to remain politically neutral. He also urged Americans to be mindful of the type of information they consume both on and offline.
“When the bad outweighs the good, for many, whether we realize it or not, it erodes our ability to have compassion and our ability to put ourself in someone else’s shoes,” Harry said. “Because when one person buys into negativity online, the effects are felt exponentially. It’s time to not only reflect, but act. As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation, and online negativity.”
Markle added: “So as we work to re-imagine the world around us, let’s challenge ourselves to build communities of compassion. Seeing our world through the lens of community is so important. Because we need to redraw the lines of how we engage with each other, both online and off.
“It’s time to not only reflect, but act.” This #NationalVoterRegistrationDay, join #Time100 alumni Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, in taking action for the future. pic.twitter.com/JerXHxiZK3
— ABC (@ABCNetwork) September 23, 2020
“What we’re exposed to online seeps into how we engage with each other offline. It can train us to be kind, or it can train us to be cruel.”
The royal couple also recognized the importance of the work that many of this year’s TIME 100 honourees are doing to create a better world.
“Tonight reminds us of how important it is to watch out for each other, to care for each other, and to inspire each other,” Harry said. “We are incredibly proud to join you in this historic moment in time.”
While it goes against protocol for members of the royal family to get involved in politics, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have become increasingly vocal about issues close to them since stepping down from their roles as senior royals earlier this year.
In August, Markle shared a statement with Marie Claire about why she is planning on voting in the 2020 election.
“I know what it’s like to have a voice, and also what it’s like to feel voiceless,” she said.
“I also know that so many men and women have put their lives on the line for us to be heard. And that opportunity, that fundamental right, is in our ability to exercise our right to vote and to make all of our voices heard.”