The Duchess of Sussex has thanked Jameela Jamil for “fighting back” on her behalf after the actress criticised the “demonisation” of Meghan in the media.
Jamil – a friend of Meghan’s – said the duchess had faced an “unfathomable amount of shit” amid the “intense unkindness and bigotry and misogyny” of the press.
The duchess, who stepped down as senior working royal in 2020, was exploring the stereotypes and judgments women encounter in the world of activism in the latest episode of her Archetypes podcast.
She told Jamil, “Well, thank you for fighting back”, after the She-Hulk star expressed her concern over Meghan’s experience.
Jamil, who has been an outspoken supporter of the duchess, said: “It’s an unfathomable amount of shit that you take, Meghan. I can’t believe it.
“I fought back on your behalf years before I’d ever met you because I was so outraged by it. I was so outraged with the twisting of this very normal, very kind, very civilised woman.
“That demonisation just shows how afraid they are of you and I’m sure – maybe you can’t keep this in or whatever – but the treatment of you, and I’m so sorry you’ve had to withstand it, it has re-highlighted for us the intense unkindness and bigotry and misogyny of our media.
“And I think and I hope and I feel faith that the tides are changing because so many of us are fighting back.”
Jamil, who starred in hit series The Good Place, also revealed on the Spotify podcast that Meghan often privately contacts women who are having a “very, very hard time” to offer support during their “most lonely and desperate moments”.
She added: “I also just want to thank you, in a way that you know I probably didn’t get to at the time, but during some of my hardest moments where I’m being the most maligned and harmed by the media, and also by the public, you have been such a sobering voice of unwavering support to me.
“And people don’t know that you frequently reach out to women who are having a very, very hard time. Privately, you reach out to us.
“You don’t do it publicly. You don’t come to get any glory, but you privately reach out to us in our most lonely and desperate moments.
“We need more of that in the world. and so I just appreciate you and thank you for that because those are some hairy moments, and I needed that guidance. So thanks, thanks mate.”
Meghan replied: “Yes, absolutely.”
The episode is entitled The Audacity of the Activist and features conversations with Jamil and Iranian-American actress Shohreh Aghdashloo.
Meghan said she had started to notice an “almost default eye roll” when people mention a woman fighting for a cause.
She added: “Almost, ‘Oh, here she goes again’. Or maybe it was more of ‘Stand for something? Why can’t she just sit down and…’ You know the rest.”
Meghan also revealed how “a very influential and inspiring woman”, whom she did not name, urged her not to give up on her activism when she married into the royal family.
In a message Meghan received ahead of her 2018 wedding to the Duke of Sussex, the woman told her: “I know that your life is changing, but please don’t give up your activism. Don’t give up because it means so much to women and girls.”
Meghan added: “And I kept doing the work for women and girls because it matters.”
The duchess also shared her thoughts on the term woke, saying: “I’m saying woke. I fully realised that I am spoon feeding the clickbait.
“But here is why, because woke by definition means, alert to injustice in society, especially racism. Now what’s loaded or wrong with that?”
She added that when you include a woman in the definition “it becomes for many, almost disgusting. Outrageous they would say. But why? What is so scary about a woman having an opinion as strongly as a man does?”
Meghan also highlighted how a UK tabloid first coined the word “suffragette” as a way to “belittle” the votes for women movement.
The newspaper was the Daily Mail in 1906, but Meghan refused to mention the paper by name, calling it a “notorious..um..publication” and saying “I’m not going to elevate them by mentioning it here”.
Meghan sued the current publisher of the Daily Mail, Associated Newspaper Limited (ANL), and won in 2021 after The Mail On Sunday published parts of a “personal and private” letter to her estranged father Thomas Markle.
The Duke of Sussex is also pursuing libel action against ANL over its reporting on his legal case against the Home Office about his security.
Aghdashloo, who starred in the movie House of Sand and Fog and the TV series 24, discussed the recent protests in Iran with the duchess.
The demonstrations followed the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while she was detained by the country’s morality police for allegedly violating Iran’s strict dress code for women.
The duchess said: “Whatever we can do to keep a spotlight on what is happening so that all this sacrifice and all this courage isn’t in vain, that this activism is applauded as opposed to seen as an act of like, ‘Oh gosh, what are these women doing now?’
“No, what these women are doing now is what needs to be done.”
Aghdashloo replied: “Let’s put it this way. It has to win. Within millions of Iranians rising against tyranny. It has to win.”
The actress read a message in Farsi telling the people of Iran the “world has heard your voice” and supports you.