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Meghan Markle is an ‘amazing leader’ says ‘Pearl’ director David Furnish


Elton John’s husband David Furnish who will serve as an executive producer Meghan Markle’s new animated Netflix series Pearl has praised the royal for being an ‘amazing’ leader.

In July, The Duchess of Sussex, 39, dropped a major hint that the new series will be based – at least in part – on her own childhood, by naming both the show and its title character Pearl, the origin meaning of her name. 

The mother-of-two announced details of her new project for the streaming giant, revealing that she will both ‘create and produce’ the series, which focuses on a ’12-year-old heroine who finds inspiration in influential women from history’.  

‘She’s a fantastic collaborator, amazing leader,’ said filmmaker David Furnish, 58, at the HELLO! Inspiration Awards. ‘And we’re just very, very excited to be working with, you know, someone is as influential and as supportive as Netflix.’  

David Furnish who will serve as an executive producer Meghan Markle’s new animated Netflix series Pearl has praised the royal for being an ‘amazing’ leader. Pictured, the Duchess of Sussex visiting a school in Harlem on September 24, 2021 in New York

Prince Harry greets Canadian producer David Furnish (2nd L) as British singer-songwriter Elton John (C) speaks with Meghan Markle as they arrive to attend the European premiere of the film The Lion King in London on July 14, 2019

Prince Harry greets Canadian producer David Furnish (2nd L) as British singer-songwriter Elton John (C) speaks with Meghan Markle as they arrive to attend the European premiere of the film The Lion King in London on July 14, 2019

It comes after suggestions that Meghan is also shouldering another major role within the creation of the series – serving as the inspiration for its title character.

Few other details have been released about the series – including which influential female figures will feature, however the choice of name for its young ‘heroine’ offers a fair amount of insight into the kind of character that will be portrayed on screen.

The name Meghan originated in Wales, where it is traditionally spelled Megan, however it originally came from the Greek name Margaret, derived from the word margaritēs, which translates to ‘pearl’ – the moniker given to the leading lady of the Duchess of Sussex’s new animated series.

Meghan is the ‘American pseudo-Irish spelling’ of the Welsh name, according to BabyNames.com, which explains: ‘The name Meghan is primarily a female name of Welsh origin that means Pearl.’

This is not the first time that Meghan has chosen to draw on her own life as the inspiration for her professional projects – something that she did most recently with her debut children’s book The Bench, which was firmly panned by readers on both sides of the Atlantic.

The tome was inspired by a poem that the Duchess wrote for Prince Harry on Father’s Day, and featured several illustrations that appear to depict herself, her husband, and their first-born child Archie. 

David's husband, famed musician Elton, 74, was good friends with Harry's late mother Princess Diana and maintained a close relationship with the Duke after her death in 1997. Pictured, Sir Elton John and David Furnish 'The Lion King' film premiere, London on 14 July 2019

David’s husband, famed musician Elton, 74, was good friends with Harry’s late mother Princess Diana and maintained a close relationship with the Duke after her death in 1997. Pictured, Sir Elton John and David Furnish ‘The Lion King’ film premiere, London on 14 July 2019

As well as serving as the basis for the title character for her new Netflix project, Meghan will also serve as ‘creator and executive producer’ – marking the first time that the former actress and Suits star will work in the position of EP.

The series will ‘weave together fantasy and history’ while focusing ‘on the adventures of a 12-year-old girl’ as she attempts to ‘overcome life’s daily challenges’.

‘Like many girls her age, our heroine Pearl is on a journey of self-discovery as she tries to overcome life’s daily challenges,’ Meghan said in a statement – which referred to her by her royal title, the Duchess of Sussex, despite repeated calls for both her and Harry to drop them after their repeated public criticism of the royal family.

She continued: ‘I’m thrilled that Archewell Productions, partnered with the powerhouse platform of Netflix, and these incredible producers, will together bring you this new animated series, which celebrates extraordinary women throughout history.’

Meghan did not name any of the women who will be spotlighted in the series – however she did add that both she and David are ‘eager to bring this special series to light’, concluding: ‘I am delighted we are able to announce it today.’

The 39-year-old will serve as creator and executive producer of the series, which is named after 12-year-old 'heroine' Pearl - the meaning of the name Meghan

The 39-year-old will serve as creator and executive producer of the series, which is named after 12-year-old ‘heroine’ Pearl – the meaning of the name Meghan

In the past, Meghan has heaped praise on many ‘inspirational’ women – and in 2019 she spotlighted 15 of them on the cover of British Vogue while serving as guest editor of a ‘Forces for Change’ issue, including LGBTQ+ activist Laverne Cox, Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, and teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg.

It is not known whether any of these women will feature in the series – or if Meghan plans to include her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana.

Speaking about his involvement in Pearl, David hinted that he and Meghan have been working on the series for some time now, saying in a statement: ‘I am delighted that we are finally able to announce this exciting animated series.

‘Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex and I are deeply passionate about bringing the inspirational and positive stories of extraordinary women from around the world to a global audience of all ages. The team collaborating on the series are first class, and Netflix are the perfect partner.’

As well as landing Meghan her first executive producer credit, the animated series also marks the first time that she and David will work together in a professional capacity.

David’s husband, famed musician Elton, 74, was good friends with Harry’s late mother Princess Diana and maintained a close relationship with the Duke after her death in 1997.

In 2019, Elton paid for Harry and Meghan to fly via private jet to his multi-million-dollar mansion in the South of France – and he vehemently defended the couple against furious backlash over their decision to travel in a private plane, despite actively advocating for environmental issues.

Elton and David were also among the many celebrity guests invited to attend Harry and Meghan’s wedding in May 2018. 



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