Australian mining tycoon Gina Rinehart is the richest person in Australia and 36th richest person in the world, with a net worth of $17 billion, according to Forbes.
She’s also notoriously press shy (although she’s recently become more outspoken about her radical views on tax policy, climate change, and the minimum wage), and obsessed with controlling her perception in the public eye.
The New Yorker’s William Finnegan has just come out with a huge profile on Rinehart, delving into her dirty family feuds, her latest mining venture, and her relationship with the media. In short, he makes her sound like a ruthless businesswoman who will go to bizarre lengths to ensure things go her way.
The entire profile is definitely worth a read, and you can find it here.
There’s one anecdote in particular that reveals just how far Rinehart will go to preserve her reputation.
As the story goes, in 2011 Rinehart attended a garden party to welcome Queen Elizabeth to Perth, and wore a large, wide-brimmed hat.
Prince Philip asked her why she was on the guest list, and instead of revealing who she was, she humbly responded only that she was a loyal subject, Finnegan writes.
The prince, perhaps at a loss for words, apparently made a comment about her the size or shape of her hat. The two supposedly had a laugh.
Sometime later, a reporter for a magazine owned by the same parent company as the Sydney Morning Herald requested an interview with Rinehart. In addition to a boilerplate rejection, she received the following note, which the reporter believed was written by Rinehart herself, according to Finnegan:
Regarding the recent discussion with HRH at Government House in West Australia, other media who were present reported it was a very happy and relaxed discussion between HRH and Mrs Rinehart. . . . Your publication however chose to make the extraordinary and unbelievable claim that HRH told Mrs Rinehart that her non-pointy hat was pointy and may poke someone’s eye out! Obviously HRH would have seen many hats over the years and would not choose to stop to speak to someone for the purpose of criticising their hat, including a hat worn in honour of his wife, the Queen. This is an insult by the SMH [the Herald] to not only Mrs Rinehart, but importantly HRH.
That’s one heck of a rejection letter.
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