The first instalment of Meghan Markle's much-anticipated Archetypes podcast has been released on Spotify, featuring a discussion with tennis great Serena Williams on societal double standards towards “ambitious” women and how they felt as mothers.
Entitled “The Misconception of Ambition with Serena Williams”, the duchess recounts how her son Archie narrowly escaped a fire in his bedroom where he was supposed to be sleeping during the Sussexes’ tour of South Africa in 2019.
Archie’s nanny at the time, named only as Lauren, had taken the 4-month-old with her downstairs as she went to get a snack when the heater in the nursery caught fire.
“There was no smoke detector. Someone happened to just smell smoke down the hallway, went in, fire extinguished,” said the Duchess. "[Archie] was supposed to be sleeping in there.”
The former Suits star told how they had dropped their young son at the housing unit they were staying in for a sleep straight after arriving on their official tour, before leaving to carry out a visit to the Nyanga township where the duchess delivered a speech.
“There was this moment where I’m standing on a tree stump and I’m giving this speech to women and girls, and we finish the engagement, we get in the car and they say there’s been a fire at the residence. What? There’s been a fire in the baby’s room,” she said.
“We came back. And, of course, as a mother, you go, ‘Oh, my God, what?’ Everyone’s in tears, everyone’s shaken. And what do we have to do? Go out and do another official engagement? I said, ‘This doesn’t make any sense’.”
Prince Harry's cameo
Prince Harry also makes an appearance in the episode, with Meghan saying: “You wanna come say hi? Look who just popped in.”
The duchess and Williams greet Harry with “Hello” in British accents, with Harry telling the 23-time grand slam champion: “I like what you’ve done with your hair. That’s a great vibe.”
Williams replies: “Thank you. Good to see you too as always, I miss you guys.”
The duke responds: “Well come and see us”, with Meghan Markle saying they will make a plan.
As he leaves, the duchess says: “Thanks my love.”
The duchess also talks about how her experience of the way ambition is perceived changed after embarking on her relationship with Prince Harry.
“I don’t remember ever personally feeling the negative connotation behind the word ambitious until I started dating my now husband,” she said.
Serena Williams reveals the prince helped her with the decision to retire from tennis long before it was announced, spending around an hour discussing the issue with her.
Meghan Markle, who quit the monarchy as a senior working royal, says: “I think, you know, I think both of us, or the three of us, really know that sometimes the right decision isn’t the easiest decision.”
“It takes a lot of courage, I think, too, to stop something in many ways than to keep going sometimes,” she tells Williams, in not so thinly veiled allusion to her so-called “Megxit”.