Meghan Markle claimed she pays no mind to public ‘flattery or criticism’ about her during a virtual summit on Tuesday afternoon – while also hitting out at the media for ‘misinterpreting’ remarks she has made in order to make them sound more ‘controversial’ or ‘inflammatory’.
Despite insisting that she does not focus on anything said or written about her, Meghan defended herself against past controversies, alleging that any time ‘anything she has said… ends up being inflammatory’, it only comes a result of ‘people’s interpretation of it’. ‘If you listen to what I actually say, it’s not controversial,’ she added.
The 39-year-old’s comments during the Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit came just hours after the Duchess of Sussex lost her latest court battle against the Associated Newspapers, publishers of the Mail on Sunday, to prevent the publication from using an explosive biography written about her private life as evidence in its defense case.
Speaking out: Meghan Markle took part in Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit on Tuesday, when she spoke out about ‘creating humane tech’
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Discussion: During her conversation with Fortune’s senior editor Ellen McGirt, the 39-year-old quoted artist Georgia O’Keeffe to share her thoughts about focusing on ‘criticism and flattery’
The incredibly flattering ‘unauthorized’ biography, Finding Freedom, was published in August and features a host of intimate information about Meghan and Harry from an array of anonymous friends and sources.
Meghan is accused of feeding personal information to the writers of the book – Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand – to ‘set out her own version of events in a way that is favorable to her’, and the latest high court ruling now means Finding Freedom can and will be used as evidence in the Duchess of Sussex’s privacy battle against Associated Newspapers.
Meghan is suing the Mail on Sunday’s publishers for printing in February 2019 extracts of a letter she wrote to her estranged father Thomas Markle. She claimed that it breached her ‘deepest and most private thoughts and feelings,’ and that she had not given permission for the letter to be made public.
During her virtual conversation with senior Fortune editor Ellen McGirt however, Meghan insisted that she does not actually focus on anything written about her – be it negative or positive – turning to a quote from artist Georgia O’Keeffe to express her views about ‘flattery and criticism’.
‘I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free,’ she quoted.
The words – which are among some of the late modern artist’s most famous quotes – are at odds with Meghan and Prince Harry’s ongoing war against the media, which has seen the Duchess of Sussex repeatedly decry the ‘toxicity’ that she believes the couple has faced.
Shortly before sharing the O’Keeffe quote, Meghan once again took the opportunity to lament what she described as the spread of ‘misinformation’ in the media and online, insisting that people have to take it upon themselves to stop ‘contributing to or even clicking on misinformation’ and ‘report’ anything that they believe is wrong to ensure that only ‘the facts are getting out there’.
Meghan, who was speaking from the $14 million Santa Barbara home she shares with husband Prince Harry and their one-year-old son Archie, also hastened to warn that people’s interactions both on- and offline are being negatively impacted by ‘bots and trolls’.
‘It’s like we live in the future when you’re talking about bots and trolls and all of these things,’ Meghan said according to HuffPost.
‘It seems so fantastical, but that’s actually the current state of affairs and that is shaping how we interact with each other online and off — and that’s the piece that’s important.
‘It is not just an isolated experience. It transcends into how you interact with anyone around you and certainly your own relationship with yourself.’
Meghan suggested that the pandemic has provided many people with the opportunity to ‘reset’, describing the global COVID-19 outbreak as a ‘moment of reckoning’ that has spurred ‘a reevaluation of what really matters’.
Focus: Meghan said that she has spent much of the pandemic ‘spending time’ with Prince Harry and ‘watching their little one grow’
Experienced: The Duchess of Sussex has taken part in a number of virtual events throughout the pandemic, and even made an appearance on America’s Got Talent earlier this month
For Meghan, she says her focus has been on husband Prince Harry, 36, and their one-year-old son Archie, explaining that family has been her main priority throughout this time – during which the Sussexes moved out of Tyler Perry’s Beverly Hills mansion and into their own California home.
‘For me, it’s been amazing to spend time with my husband and watch our little one grow and that’s where our attention has been,’ she said.
However, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have also been working on their new charitable venture, the Archewell Foundation.
Although little concrete information about the organization’s work has been made available thus far, Meghan explained that the couple is working to figure out how they can ‘be a part of the change of energy that so many people are craving right now’ both online and offline.
‘Part of our focus with the Archewell Foundation is to just ensure that we are helping foster healthy positive communities ― online and off ― for our collective wellbeing,’ she added.
Meghan’s session for the virtual summit lasted just 15 minutes and was described online as focusing on ways in which we can ‘build – and rebuild – our digital world’.
‘Our experiences online shape our communities offline,’ the Fortune MPW website detailed. ‘How do we build—and rebuild—our digital world? What’s the true price we pay if we don’t?’
While it is unknown if the Duchess received a fee for her appearance, Meghan and Prince Harry signed up with the Harry Walker Agency earlier this year.
At the time, branding experts revealed they could earn as much as $1 million for a speech through HWA, which calls itself the ‘World’s #1 Exclusive Speakers’ Agency’.
Earlier this year, Prince Harry said social media was stoking a ‘crisis of hate,’ and urged companies to rethink their roles in advertising on digital platforms.
In an opinion piece for U.S. business magazine Fast Company headlined ‘Social media is dividing us. Together, we can redesign it,’ Harry said that social media, as it currently stands, is ‘unwell’.
Tidbits: Tickets for the event were reserved for Fortune MPW members, who pay an annual membership fee of $13,500, however the organization shared a few quotes on Twitter
Inspiration: When it came to her thoughts on dealing with public opinions about herself, Meghan turned to a quote about ‘flattery and criticism’ from artist O’Keeffe
‘Quite free’: The quote suggests that Meghan feels comfortable and happy in herself and can, in turn, choose to ignore the things she may read about herself, both positive and negative
The former senior royal said he and his wife, Meghan, have spent the past few weeks working with business leaders and marketing executives on the issue to try and introduce changes.
‘The digital landscape is unwell and companies like yours have the chance to reconsider your role in funding and supporting online platforms that have contributed to, stoked, and created the conditions for a crisis of hate, a crisis of health, and a crisis of truth,’ he wrote.
He called for online communities to be ‘defined more by compassion than hate; by truth instead of misinformation; by equity and inclusiveness instead of injustice and fear-mongering; by free, rather than weaponized, speech.’
The couple were forced to drop the Sussex Royal branding as part of their release from The Firm, starting an Archewell Foundation instead, and are thought to be waiting until after the pandemic to announce any further details on their charity or any new social media accounts they may be launching.
The couple revealed their new charitable foundation Archewell in April, which will incorporate the causes close to their heart, and said the Greek word in the project Arche – meaning source of action – was the inspiration behind the name of their son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.
The couple submitted an application for their non-profit foundation to be called ‘Archeway’ with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on February 28.
The duke and duchess said they were focusing their efforts on the coronavirus pandemic but felt ‘compelled’ to reveal details of the venture.
‘Like you, our focus is on supporting efforts to tackle the global COVID-19 pandemic but faced with this information coming to light, we felt compelled to share the story of how this came to be.
‘Before SussexRoyal, came the idea of Arche – the Greek word meaning source of action.
‘We connected to this concept for the charitable organisation we hoped to build one day, and it became the inspiration for our son’s name. To do something of meaning, to do something that matters.
‘Archewell is a name that combines an ancient word for strength and action, and another that evokes the deep resources we each must draw upon.
‘We look forward to launching Archewell when the time is right.’
Harry and Meghan biography ‘Finding Freedom’ CAN be used as evidence against her in privacy battle with Associated Newspapers, judge rules after court heard she or her friends ‘co-operated’ with authors
- Meghan Markle suing publisher of Mail on Sunday for printing letter to her father
- She claims article in 2019 breached her privacy, copyright and data protection
- Royal says note contained her deepest and most private thoughts and feelings
- Associated Newspapers has sought permission to amend its written defence
- They argue she ‘co-operated with the authors of ‘Finding Freedom’ to put out their version of certain events’
- Today a High Court judge said the newspaper can rely on the royal biography in the ten-day trial starting on January 11
Meghan Markle today lost her court fight to block claims she co-operated with the authors of an explosive book about her private life or allowed her friends to.
The Duchess of Sussex, 39, is accused of feeding personal information to the writers of ‘Finding Freedom,’ to ‘set out her own version of events in a way that is favourable to her.’
The High Court ruling by Judge Francesca Kaye means that the book will now feature as evidence in Meghan’s high stakes privacy battle against Associated Newspapers, the publishers of the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online.
It also means that she could be questioned under oath about her involvement with the book, which tells the story about her life with the Duke of Sussex.
Meghan Markle today lost her court fight to block claims she co-operated with the authors of ‘Finding Freedom’, an explosive book about her private life
The Duchess of Sussex, 39, is accused of feeding personal information to Omid Scobie (left) and Carolyn Durand (right), the writers of ‘Finding Freedom,’ to ‘set out her own version of events in a way that is favourable to her
Meghan launched a legal action against the Mail on Sunday and its publisher after her father Thomas (together when she was a teenager) shared a letter she sent him after her wedding
Meghan is suing the Mail on Sunday for publishing in February 2019 extracts of a letter she wrote to her estranged father Thomas Markle.
She claimed that it breached her ‘deepest and most private thoughts and feelings,’ and that she had not given permission for the letter to be made public.
Meghan denies that she helped with the book
‘Finding Freedom,’ which the newspaper argues she collaborated with the authors on, was published in August, weeks after lawyers for the newspaper had submitted its defence.
Last week in a pre-trial hearing the publishers Associated Newspapers asked the High Court for permission to include her alleged co-operation in ‘Finding Freedom’ as part of their defence when the trial starts on January 11.
The Duchess’s own legal costs are predicted to be £1.8million for the ten-day trial, when she is also expected to give evidence.
Her legal costs for the pre-trial hearing were revealed to be ‘just under’ £140,000 and she was also ordered to pay the newspaper’s costs of £39,000.
Lawyers for the newspaper claimed it was ‘difficult to see’ how Meghan could complain about extracts of her letter to her estranged father being published when she and Harry had helped with ‘Finding Freedom,’ which exposed their private thoughts and feelings.
At the preliminary hearing, Antony White QC said the biography ‘gives every appearance of having been written with their extensive co-operation’.
‘The book contains a great deal of detailed information about [Meghan’s] personal life, including a number of passages referring to her relationship and communications with her father, and a section referring to the letter which is at the heart of this case,’ he added.
Barrister Justin Rushbrooke (pictured left) is now representing Meghan in the High Court after Meghan dropped her lawyer David Sherborne (right)
He argued that the Duchess, either directly or through friends, allowed the bombshell book to use intimate details to paint a ‘favourable’ picture of her life.
Meghan’s lawyer Justin Rushbrooke QC asked for permission to appeal against the ruling allowing the amendments to the Mail on Sunday’s defence.
The barrister said the ‘inherent improbability’ of Meghan having co-operated with the authors of the biography could be demonstrated by ‘simply comparing what the defendant’s own articles said with what the book said about the letter’ to her estranged father.
Judge Francesca Kaye refused permission to appeal against her ruling, but Meghan’s lawyers could still pursue an appeal to the Court of Appeal.
At last week’s preliminary hearing,Meghan’slawyers denied that she co-operated with authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand on the book and that any reference to her letter in it were simply extracts that were actually taken from the Mail on Sunday article.
They also denied that she used her friends to influence press and public opinion.
In a written submission, Mr Rushbrooke QC, said: ‘The claimant and her husband did not collaborate with the authors on the book, nor were they interviewed for it, nor did they provide photographs to the authors for the book.’
Thomas Markle with a baby Meghan Markle. A picture shown in the Channel 5 documentary called Thomas Markle: My Story, that aired earlier this year
Thomas Markle showing souvenirs he keeps on mantlepiece of Harry and Meghan from the wedding he was unable to attend. Father and daughter have not spoken since
He added that neither Meghan nor Harry to spoke to Mr Scobie or Ms Durand, who he said, ‘were not given the impression that the claimant wanted the contents of the letter to be reproduced in the book’.
Mr Rushbrooke will reportedly be representing Meghan for the remainder of the case after she dropped his colleague, David Sherborne.
The High Court ruling also means that Mr Scobie will also be asked to give evidence in the case, after he submitted a statement maintaining that Meghan did not co-operate in the writing of the book.
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