On Wednesday 23 September, the season finale of America’s Got Talent aired on NBC.
One of the participants who had reached the final stage of the competition was Archie Williams, a 59-year-old singer from Louisiana.
Williams, who performed an emotional rendition of Elton John’s “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” for his first audition, was wrongfully convicted of rape when he was 22 years old, spending almost 37 years in prison.
In March 2019, following a 24-year campaign by the Innocence Project and a new analysis of fingerprints at the scene of the crime, Williams was proved innocent and released from jail.
In a clip filmed from her home in Santa Barbara, California, the Duchess of Sussex told Williams that she has felt “moved” by his story, and had supported him every week throughout the competition.
“Hi Archie. I just wanted to let you know that we’ve been so moved by your story, and we have been cheering you on every week, and it’s not just because we’re partial to the name,” Meghan said, in reference to her and Prince Harry’s one-year-old son, who is also called Archie.
“So a very special message to you that I will probably be saying all of my life, but on this night it is specifically for you: Archie, we are proud of you, and we are rooting for you, and we can’t wait to see what you do. We’re in your corner.”
“Thank you,” Williams responded following Meghan’s message.
Poet Brandon Leake was eventually crowned the winner of America’s Got Talent, the first time a spoken word poet has entered and won the competition.
Meghan’s appearance on the show marked the second of two recent televised appearances she has made.
The first of the two took place earlier this week, when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex took part in a Time 100 broadcast special.
Speaking from their home in California, the couple urged Americans to vote in the upcoming presidential election.
“Every four years, we are told the same thing, that 'This is the most important election of our lifetime’. But this one is. When we vote, our values are put into action and our voices are heard,” Meghan said.
“Your voice is a reminder that you matter. Because you do. And you deserve to be heard.”
Prince Harry added: “When one person buys into negativity online, the effects are felt exponentially. It’s time to not only reflect, but act. As we approach this November, it’s vital that we reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity.”