Meghan Markle says she is 'free' because 'flattery and criticism go down same drain'

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·5 min read
Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex delivers a speech during the Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House in London on March 5, 2020. - The Endeavour Fund helps servicemen and women have the opportunity to rediscover their self-belief and fighting spirit through physical challenges. (Photo by Paul Edwards / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PAUL EDWARDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Meghan giving a speech during the Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House in London on March 5, 2020. (AFP)

Meghan Markle has said she is “quite free” because “flattery and criticism go down the same drain”.

The duchess also called for more reliable news sources during an appearance on Tuesday at Fortune’s ‘Most Powerful Women’ virtual summit.

Meghan, who was speaking just hours after losing the third skirmish in her court battle against the Mail On Sunday and the MailOnline, said: “We have got to all put our stock in something that is true, and we need to have reliable media and news sources that are telling us the truth... when you know something is wrong, report it, talk about it.”

During the session, she spoke with Ellen McGirt, one of Fortune’s senior editors, about “authenticity” and confirmed she had not used notes when making a graduation speech in June at her former high school.

McGirt praised Meghan for the “courage” that it took her to name the people killed by police when she made her speech in the wake of the growing Black Lives Matter movement in the summer.

Responding to a question about how she continues to speak up, Meghan said: “It’s about being authentic. If you look back at anything that I’ve said, it’s really interesting, what ends up being inflammatory is people’s interpretation of it. If you listen to what I actually say it’s not controversial.

“And some of it is reactive to things that just haven’t happened, which is in some ways, you have to have a sense of humour, even though there is quite a bit of gravity and there can be a lot of danger in a misinterpretation of something that was never there to begin with.”

She said a previous graduation speech was pre-recorded, but the tone was “lighter” than she wanted after George Floyd was killed.

Meghan said: “I really struggled about what to say, I didn’t sit down and write anything and I didn’t ask anyone for help with how I should word this, I was in tears thinking about it.

“I was explaining to my husband why I thought it was so heartbreaking. For me to be back in Los Angeles and for it to feel so reminiscent to the state of Los Angeles with the riots after the Rodney King beating.

“For them to be graduating at this time and plagued with that unrest, felt troubling to me.

“I just spoke from the heart. That’s why it doesn’t feel perfect, but that’s also why it’s authentic.”

She added: “If you don’t listen on all the noise out there, and you just focus on living a purpose-driven life and focus on knowing what your own moral compass is, there are always going to be naysayers.

“But I used to have a quote up in my room many moons ago and it resonates now more than ever when you see the vitriol and noise that can be out in the world.

“It’s by Georgia O’Keefe and it’s ‘I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free’.

“The moment you are able to be liberated of all these other opinions of what you know to be true, then I think it’s very easy to live with truth and authenticity and that’s how I choose to move through the world.”

WATCH: Meghan Markle’s heartfelt message about George Floyd

Her comments come after a string of polls have found Britons think she and Prince Harry should be stripped of their royal titles as their US work becomes more political.

The Duchess of Sussex, 39, began speaking up about voting over the summer as the US election drew closer, working with non-partisan organisations to encourage people to go to the polls.

Read more: Harry and Meghan's political statements 'could harm US brand - but might help them internationally'

While Harry, 36, initially did not join those calls, last week he told Americans to “reject hate speech” during a video message to mark the Time 100 list.

A source close to the couple has said they have not made any comments in favour of one candidate or another.

But that has not shielded them from criticism, and many perceive the remarks they have made to indicate they are supportive of Joe Biden, who is running against Donald Trump for the presidency.

WATCH: Harry and Meghan’s political statements are risky in US

Meghan was previously very critical of Trump before she was a member of the Royal Family.

It’s understood social media and issues around online bullying will be a key part of Archewell, the non-profit foundation the duke and duchess plan to launch in the future.

Earlier on Tuesday, Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL), publishers of the Mail On Sunday and the MailOnline, won its bid to change its defence to argue that Meghan and Harry worked with the authors of Finding Freedom, a biography about them that was released in August.

The decision came after one of the authors filed a witness statement denying he spoke to the couple about the book while Meghan’s lawyer said the book contained information that appeared to be based on “creative licence”.