Meghan Markle was spotted leaving an Indianapolis hotel where she spoke on the ‘power of women’ at a $5,000-a-table dinner thrown in her honor last night — hours after police in Britain said there had been credible threats to her life. The Duchess of Sussex, 41, jetted into the Midwest from California to be interviewed on-stage during the event billed ‘The Power of Women: An Evening with Meghan.’
The royal was paid to appear with Rabbi Sandy Sasso, the first woman rabbi ordained by the Reconstructionist Judiasm movement at the event at the Marriot Downtown Hotel in Indianapolis last night. Tickets for the event cost a whopping $500 per head, with any photography or recording on the night banned. She was on stage as William and Kate, the Prince and Princess of Wales, flew into Boston for a three-day visit to the U.S. culminating in the Earthshot Prize awards ceremony on Friday night.
But some shots appear to have leaked on to social media — and appeared to show framed pictures of Meghan on her own, or with Harry, being handed out as gifts to a table of guests. It is not known how much Meghan will have been paid for the appearance, if at all, however PR experts believe she could earn up to £1million ($1.2 million USD) per speech in the U.S.
It came as a British police chief said they had investigated many credible plots against the Duchess of Sussex that threatened her life. Outgoing Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said the threats received against Meghan were ‘very real,’ calling them ‘disgusting.’ He told Channel 4 News there were serious threats emanating from far-Right groups in this country, adding: ‘If you’d seen the stuff that was written and you were receiving it… the kind of rhetoric that’s online… you would feel under threat all of the time.’
When asked if there was a genuine threat to Meghan’s life more than once, Mr Basu replied: ‘Absolutely. We had teams investigating it. People have been prosecuted for those threats.’ The former head of royal protection was asked to characterize the threats that Meghan and Harry received, responding: ‘Well, disgusting. I’ve talked publicly for many years about the threat of extreme Right-wing terrorism in this country.’ The interview was broadcasted yesterday on Mr Basu’s final day in office before he retires. He did not name the cases involved, but his interview appeared to have taken the force by surprise last night.
The Indiana event drew supporters from across the state, and perhaps even further, with one group traveling from Ivy Tech Community College in Lawrenceburg, about 100 miles southeast of Indianapolis. ‘A strong team of @IvyLburgBville women philanthropists traveled to Indianapolis to attend the Power of Women event,’ the school tweeted. ‘Remarkable event this evening!’ The benefit was hosted by the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, a special-interest fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, a registered non-profit.
Prior keynote speakers at Women’s Fund benefits include former first lady Michelle Obama, who drew a crowd of more than 12,000 people at the home arena of the Indiana Pacers in 2018, according to organizers. Attendance figures for Tuesday’s event were not immediately clear, but the largest ballroom at the Indianapolis Marriott has a maximum capacity of 2,500. The Women’s Fund website said that it aims ‘to be the most influential organization creating transformative and sustainable change for women and girls.’
The fund this year gave grants totaling $150,000 to 12 groups engaged in education, mental health, and career mentoring services for women and girls, according to the website. The online description for the event said: ‘Women’s Fund is proud to welcome Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, to Indianapolis.’
‘The Duchess is a mother, feminist, and champion of human rights. She is a lifelong advocate for women and girls, a constant thread she weaves through humanitarian and business ventures. Rabbi Sandy Sasso, an acclaimed writer and community leader, will serve as moderator for the evening. Rabbi Sandy Sasso is the first woman rabbi ordained by the Reconstructionist movement and previously served at Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis. Tables for Power of Women are available for purchase to groups and organizations that support the mission of Women’s Fund.’
The event has been organized by the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana — a non-profit which assists local woman experiencing hardship or disadvantage. The Duchess is following in the footsteps of other celebrities with the appearance.
In 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex joined New York-based Harry Walker Agency, which represents the Obamas and the Clintons. PR expert Mark Borkowski told The Sun the pair will ‘clean up.’ They plan to be available for talks on social issues including racial justice, gender equality, the environment and mental health, according to the LA Times.
‘I’m surprised they haven’t done this sooner. It will be one of the great income generators for them. The speaker’s circuit is a natural safe space for them to plunder,’ he added. Pictured: Supporters at the charity event hosted by the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana.
The Harry Walker Agency has high profile clients, many of whom are friends of the Duke and Duchess, including Prince Harry’s environmentalist friend Jane Goodall and Oprah Winfrey. Others include Meghan’s best friend Serena Williams and the actor Tyler Perry – whose $18million Beverly Hills mansion they lived in upon moving to California.
News of Meghan’s latest appearance emerged as she faced a backlash for saying Deal or No Deal ‘reduced her to a bimbo.’ ‘I ended up quitting the show. I was so much more than what was being objectified on the stage. I didn’t like feeling forced to be all looks. And little substance,’ the Duchess said of her 34-episode stint on the show.
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