The Duchess of Sussex has taken aim at her critics by suggesting her comments are often misinterpreted as “inflammatory” by people “reacting to things which just haven’t happened”.
Speaking at the Fortune Most Powerful Women virtual summit on Tuesday, Meghan denied making “controversial” statements in the past – though she did not give examples – and added she felt “liberated” from others’ opinions of her.
Using a quote by American artist Georgia O’Keeffe to make her point, she said: “There are always going to be nay-sayers, but at the end of the day I used to have a quote up in my room many many moons ago, and it resonates now perhaps more than ever when you see all the vitriol and noise that can be out in the world.
“It’s by Georgia O’Keeffe – ‘I’ve already settled it for myself, so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.’
“And the moment you are able to be liberated from all these other opinions of what you know to be true, then I think it’s just very easy to just live with peace and live with authenticity. And that is how I choose to move through the world.”
"If you listen to what I actually say, it’s not controversial."
— FORTUNE (@FortuneMagazine) September 29, 2020
She added: “If you look back at anything I’ve said, it’s really interesting, because what often ends up being inflammatory, it seems, is people’s interpretation of it.
“But if you listen to what I actually say, it’s not controversial.
“And actually, some of it is reacting to things which just haven’t happened, which in some ways, I think you just have to have a sense of humour about it even though there is quite a lot of gravity, and there can be a lot of danger in misinterpretation of something that was never there to begin with.”
Meghan has been the target of sustained criticism by public figures like Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan, who in May 2020 admitted he may have “taken things a bit too far”.
Morgan has previously accused her of having “ditched” her own relatives and splitting her husband from the royal family during “Megxit” – a move which has also split opinion among the British public.
Almost half of Britons believe the Duke and Duchess of Sussex should be “stripped” of their royal titles, a recent YouGov poll suggested.
The survey of 3,250 adults found 48% of those questioned believed they should lose their titles, 27% said they should not, and 25% did not know.
Harry and Meghan are now living in America after stepping down as working royals for financial and personal freedom, and have recently signed a lucrative Netflix deal rumoured to be worth more than £100 million.
Meghan is also in the midst of a High Court battle with publisher Associated Newspapers, over articles published in The Mail On Sunday and MailOnline which included extracts from a “private and confidential” letter to her father.
Meghan, who became the first mixed race person to marry a senior royal, also spoke about preparing for her impassioned Black Lives Matter speech at her old high school after the death of George Floyd.
She told the summit: “I was just in tears thinking about it, and I was just explaining to my husband why I thought that it was so heart-breaking, certainly for me being back in Los Angeles and it being so reminiscent to the state of Los Angeles with the riots after the Rodney King beating.
“And so for these girls to be graduating from high school, which should be a very celebratory time, to be plagued with that unrest felt troubling to me.”
“I just spoke from the heart, and that’s probably why it doesn’t look polished and why it doesn’t feel perfect, but that’s also why it’s authentic,” she added.