Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wrote to former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his wife before stepping back from senior royal duties, a new book has revealed.
According to Left Out: The Inside Story of Labour under Corbyn, an excerpt of which appeared in The Sunday Times, Corbyn’s wife Laura Alvarez snuck Meghan a book of poetry by a 17th-century Mexican nun during the Commonwealth service in March.
As Corbyn and Alvarez were leaving behind the Labour leadership, the Sussexes were closing their own chapter in life, and Left Out reports Alvarez slipped a book by Juana Inés de la Cruz to Harry and Meghan during the 9 March service, hoping it would find a kindred spirit.
De la Cruz, who died in 1695, had a broad range of work, according to Britannica, ranging from satire and comedy to scholarly works, as well as cloak-and-dagger plays.
While she gained esteem for her work, she also received disapproval from church officials, one of whom publicly maligned her, forcing her to break with him.
She also wrote in defence of women’s right to knowledge, though in the year before her death she succumbed in some ways to the pressures and cut back on her writings.
Now she is celebrated as a feminist icon, though there has been some debate on how persecuted she was.
Amy Fuller, a lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, wrote of her works: “In reality, each of her volumes was praised by the Inquisition and prefaced with dedicatory letters and poetry from Spanish nobility and clergy celebrating her as an icon of the Spanish Empire. In return, she commended the crown for having saved the indigenous Mexicans from the ignorance of paganism.”
Meghan, 39 and Harry, 35, followed up on the gift with a personally signed thank-you message written to “Jeremy and Laura”.
Corbyn and Alvarez are said to have previously offered private sympathies to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in the light of some of the press reports about them.
Earlier this year a spokesperson for Corbyn said he shared concerns about “racial undertones” in reporting about the Duchess of Sussex.
In January, his spokesperson said: “Jeremy has commented in the past in relation to Prince Harry and Meghan, about press intrusion and its impact on people and their families and, to use Prince Harry's words as well, the 'racial undertones' in relation to how the media has approached Meghan.”
She added Corbyn “understands how press intrusion can have a negative impact on people and their private lives”.
Harry and Meghan are now living in California, where they are working with charities and organisations which are likely to form part of their new non-profit Archewell.
Meghan has attracted some criticism after she urged women to vote in the forthcoming US election, saying “we know what’s at stake”.