Inside Duchess Meghan’s Archewell Launch and Feelings on ‘Political’ Criticism

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have settled into their new home in Montecito, California and are taking the next step with their Archewell foundation. Now, the landing page on foundation’s website has finally been unveiled to provide users the opportunity to be updated on the couple’s humanitarian work and charitable activities.

A source close to the Sussexes shared with ELLE.com that their Archewell Foundation is already up and running—and has been in motion for some time now: “While Archewell hasn’t already had a formal launch, it is still already all of their work—the structure, the events, the research they’re doing, the people that they’re meeting. All of the effort they are putting in is within that umbrella. Over time, it is going to grow and grow.”

When the foundation was initially announced, the Sussexes said a statement:

Before SussexRoyal, came the idea of ‘Arche’—the Greek word meaning ‘source of action.’ We connected to this concept for the charitable organization 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.

archewell's site
Archewell’s landing page

archewell.com

On Tuesday, The Duke and Duchess curated and led a Time100 Talks series built around the theme “Engineering a Better World,” which is also reflective of Archewell’s overriding goals to combat hate in the online landscape and create change in the areas the Sussexes are so devoted: racial justice, women’s empowerment and gender equity, mental health, and access to education. The Time forum brought together experts and business leaders, including their close friend and entrepreneur, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, who is also the husband of tennis icon Serena Williams.

“What is happening in the online world is affecting the world,” Prince Harry said. “This is a global crisis of hate, a global crisis of misinformation, and a global health crisis.”

Meghan added, “It was only in the past couple of years we both started to connect the dots… all the work I was doing on women’s empowerment or young girls and their sense of self worth, and seeing what the online spaces were doing to that community.”

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Speaking recently to mark World Mental Health Day this month, the Duchess described the “almost unsurvivable” online abuse she endured and being the “most trolled person” on the planet.

“At the moment, the majority of their time and attention is definitely dedicated to the idea of creating, utilizing the online space for better,” a source close to the couple shared with ELLE.com. “They feel that it’s reached a very critical point. And it is a central reason or catalyst in so many of the problems we are facing.” The source added, “They both come at it especially from the place of mental health and personal wellbeing. But they have also seen firsthand the dangers of misinformation online“

It has not been an easy year for the couple, a source very close to Meghan and Harry said. “It’s been quite staggering, everything they’ve been through.” But they couldn’t be more devoted to what they’re trying to achieve with Archewell and are in a great place.

Meghan has been incredibly active since returning to California, from sitting down with feminist icon Gloria Steinem and encouraging people to use their voice and vote in the U.S. election to preparing meals for those desperately suffering as a result of the global pandemic.

Duty and service has always been a public calling for the royal family. And despite stepping back as senior Royals in March, the Sussexes remain committed to using their voice to make a profound difference. They chatted with Malala Yousafzai on International Day of the Girl, highlighting an issue close to Meghan’s heart: education for all regardless of gender and privilege. The Duchess has also spoken out about racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the call for greater racial equality. Just weeks ago, Harry and Meghan encouraged young people to register to vote and participate in the election.

Yet the Duchess faced criticism in the U.K. for those actions, with some calling her comments “political,” when they were no different than the sentiments expressed by numerous public figures, politicians, philanthropists, and humanitarians across both sides of the political spectrum in the United States.

A source close to the Duchess says the constant attacks have been difficult. “She thought she was saying something relatively uncontroversial, which is people should get involved and vote. Then, it gets spun into a whole other thing. There are people, especially in the tabloids, that will use whatever they can to go after this couple. There is no doubt there is an agenda.

“The Duke and Duchess believe in civic action, civic duty, social responsibility, and an element of that is participating in the democratic process, so all they have said is that they encourage people to get involved,” the source continued. “What they’re trying to do with the foundation is link a lot of the issues they believe in and find the connective tissue in all of it and actually find potential solutions.

“It is worrying and frustrating things get distorted so easily and readily on a regular basis. She [Meghan] now feels, [and] admits, as she said the other day, she has to be constantly careful about what she says and stick to what she thinks will not be controversial. Even telling people to get involved in the democratic process should not be a controversial subject.”

What’s not controversial is everything the couple has done. Everything that drives them is for their son Archie, including making the very difficult decision to step back from their royal roles so they could have a bit more privacy.

the duke  duchess of sussex visit south africa
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and their son Archie last September.

Pool/Samir HusseinGetty Images

As Meghan told TIME Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal this week, “We are just trying to embrace all of the quality time we get with our son right now, and to not miss a single moment of his growth and development, which has been really special.”

“In so many ways we are fortunate to be able to have this time to watch him grow, and in the absence of COVID, we would be traveling and working more,” Meghan reflected. “We’d miss a lot of those moments.”

In early January, the couple will need to potentially return to London for Meghan’s case against the Mail on Sunday and Associated Newspapers for breach of privacy. Until then, they are trying to make a difference and create special family moments, a source close to the couple tells ELLE.com. “They are at the point where they’ve got their own home, and they are settling into their new life and their work, focused on Archie’s growing up, and this is a very special time for them.”

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Source: www.elle.com

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