For the first episode of her new podcast, Meghan Markle recently spoke with tennis superstar Serena Williams and what she revealed is one of the most terrifying experiences of parenthood.
The episode is part of a 12-part podcast named Archetypes (cute kid shoutout!), the Duchess of Sussex’s new Spotify podcast that was produced with her and husband, Prince Harry’s, production company, Archewell Audio.
Her down-to-earth style is as evident as ever with the duchess introducing herself as “Meghan” on the show. She describes Archetypes as, “my podcast about the labels and tropes that try to hold women back.”
She says, “Over the course of the next dozen episodes, we’re going to live inside and rip apart the boxes women have been placed into for generations—boxes like diva, crazy, the b-word, slut. Some of these words—these labels—are harsh; they’re abrasive. And I want to get to the bottom of where they come from, why they’ve stuck around for so long, and—importantly—how we can move past them.”
The first episode titled, “The Misconception of Ambition With Serena Williams,” is all about the word “ambition” and how it applies to women.
The two women discuss everything from motherhood to Williams’ decision to retire from professional tennis.
But it’s when Markle goes into detail about a never-before-heard story involving a fire in baby Archie’s nursery that really puts you on the edge of your seat!
The duchess starts by describing how she, Prince Harry and Archie were on a royal tour at the time.
“When we went on our tour to South Africa, we landed with Archie. Archie was, what, 4 and a half months old. And the moment we landed, we had to drop him off at this housing unit that they had had us staying in. He was going to get ready to go down for his nap. We immediately went to an official engagement in this township called Nyanga, and 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.” “What?”
They all get back into the cars, she continues, and head straight to their housing unit.
“We get back [to] our amazing nanny, Lauren, who we had all the way until [we moved to] Canada. Lauren in floods of tears. She was supposed to put Archie down for his nap and she just said, You know what? Let me just go get a snack downstairs. And she was from Zimbabwe and we loved that she would always tie him on her back with a mud cloth, and her instinct was like, Let me just bring him with me before I put him down. In that amount of time that she went downstairs.”
It’s at this time, the duchess describes that the fire started. Talk about good timing!
“The heater in the nursery caught on fire. There was no smoke detector. Someone happened to just smell smoke down the hallway, went in, fire extinguished. [Archie] was supposed to be sleeping in there. And 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 was like, “Can you just tell people what happened?” And so much, I think, optically — the focus ends up being on how it looks instead of how it feels. And part of the humanizing and the breaking through of these labels and these archetypes and these boxes that we’re put into is having some understanding on the human moments behind the scenes that people might not have any awareness of and to give each other a break. Because we did — we had to leave our baby.”
Serena Williams is all of us with her shocked interjections of “Oh my gosh.” But especially when she says that she couldn’t have done what the duchess had to do.
“And even though we were being moved to another place afterwards, we still had to leave him and go do another official engagement.”
“I couldn’t have done that,” Williams says, “I would have said uh-uh.”
As I’m sure all parents can attest to, when something scary or traumatic happens involving your child all you want to do is hold them close and never let them go.
It’s incredibly difficult to come to terms with the fact that your child almost had a near-death experience. But to also not have time to process anything and instead continue to answer to work or other obligations is a lot to handle.
As if we needed another reason to respect and admire Meghan Markle even more, this story, how she had to just keep on with the tour and pretend like nothing happened, plus the fact that she’s never even shared it, all just reiterate all of the reasons why she’s such an outstanding person.
And, it’s moments like these when a celebrity shares a particularly tragic experience where they couldn’t react, or, really, have the space to process, like a normal person would that it shows why sometimes being a celebrity isn’t all that great.