Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have promised to make LGBT rights a priority (after the royal wedding next month, of course).
Speaking to young activists at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting last week, Markle said that LGBT issues were about ‘basic human rights’ while Prince Harry was quoted as saying he would be putting LGBT issues at the forefront of his work. Many welcomed the couple's comments and commitment to pursuing such an important cause, and the significance of both Harry and Markle making such a promise at a Commonwealth event while same-sex relations are still considered illegal in 36 out of the 53 Commonwealth member states, didn't go unnoticed.
However, despite their progressive efforts to support the type of social causes that royals, once upon a time, would typically not publicly comment on generally being so well received, former conservative MP Ann Widecombe takes real issue with it.
Writing in her column for the Daily Express, Widecombe said: ‘My doubts [with Meghan Markle] had grown when reports appeared in the press how she and Harry were going to champion the rights of the LGBT community’.
Widecombe went on to explain her ‘doubts’ and claimed that ‘first, royals don’t champion “rights”: they champion plights. That is what Diana did with victims of Aids and landmines and very effective she was too. Rights are the business of politicians and pressure groups and never more so than when they are controversial’.
'Second, what a week for any royal to join in the argument when the Commonwealth conference was in full swing, the position of Prince Charles as its future head was in delicate negotiation and some of its bishops were voicing concern about their countries being pressurised by Theresa May on the issue of LGBT rights. So nought out of 10 for both phraseology and timing.'
Widdecombe has a history of not actively supporting the rights of the LGBT+ community and in her career reportedly opposed legislation such as civil partnerships, gay partners being able to adopt and the Equality Act. While a contestant on the latest season of Celebrity Big Brother, Widdecombe also made comments about how Meghan Markle's 'background' was a real cause for concern.
While Harry and Markle's commitment may have come as a shock to some less-pliable traditionalists, their willingness to be proactive in their royal duties is one of the key reasons why people across the world are excited to see how they may help to push for some much needed societal progress. Next to Widdecombe's backlog of comments, their promise to champion the rights of the LGBT community doesn't sound controversial in the slightest.
MORE: Retracing Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's Relationship Timeline
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle met in London in July 2016.
They were introduced by mutual friend Markus Anderson, who is the director of Soho House.
In October 2016, the Express became the first newspaper to publish news that Prince Harry had a new girlfriend.
On November 8th 2016, Kensington Palace released an unprecedented statement which referring to Markle as Harry's girlfriend for the first time.
In the statement, Prince Harry condemned the 'wave of abuse and harrassment' faced by Markle, saying that he was 'worried about Ms. Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.'
'It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm,' the statement continued.
The couple were papped together for the first time in December 2016, shopping for a Christmas tree in London at the Pines and Needles store.
Later that week, they were seen on London's West End, catching a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
In February, Prince Harry wore a his 'n' hers bracelet on the cover of Town & Country magazine, just weeks after Markle was pictured wearing the same one on Instagram.
In March 2017, Meghan joined Prince Harry in the Caribbean for the wedding of his friend's Tom 'Skippy' Inskip and Lara Hughes-Young.
It was the first time that Markle accompanied Harry to a wedding, marking another milestone occasion for the couple.
The first public event attended by the couple was the polo at Coworth Park in May 2017.
Later in May, Markle attended the party portion of Pippa Middleton's wedding to James Middelton.
Prince Harry was seen driving her to the event after the church ceremony.
The couple made their first official public appearance in September, when Markle attended the opening of Prince Harry's Invictus Games.
Meghan wore a maroon midi dress with a pleated chiffon skirt by one of her favourite Canadian brands Aritzia.
She teamed it with a matching burgundy biker jacket by Mackage.
Although Prince Harry was sat next to First Lady Melania Trump at the event, rather than his girlfriend, she was only seated a few rows behind him.
The couple were photographed together the following day at the wheelchair tennis.
Much was made of Markle's choice of outfit: ripped jeans and a white blouse called 'The Husband'.
The couple 'broke with royal protocol' by holding hands and appearing affectionate while at the Invictus Games.
Prince Harry reportedly spent time with Meghan's mother Doria while at the Games too.
The couple indulged in some PDA at the closing ceremony.
Prince Harry was photographed kissing Meghan.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Meghan referred to Harry as her boyfriend numerous times, saying: 'We're a couple. We're in love. I'm sure there will be a time when we will have to come forward and present ourselves and have stories to tell, but I hope what people understand is that this is our time.'
In late September 2017, it was reported that Meghan had met the Queen, prompting speculation that the relationship was getting serious.
In early November 2017, it was reported that Meghan Markle was leaving Suits after seven series.
In mid-November 2017, bookies suspending betting on an impending royal engagement, as speculation grew that an announcement was about to be made.
On November 27th 2017, Prince Charles announced the engagement of his younger son Prince Harry and Meghan Markle after 15 months of dating.
The couple later appeared at a photocall, with Markle wearing a white dress coat by Canadian brand Line The Label. The website has subsequently crashed.
The engagement ring, by Cleave and Company, was reportedly designed by Prince Harry himself, using two stones that belonged to Princess Diana.
When asked by waiting photographers if the proposal was romantic, Harry joked 'of course!'