Meghan Markle’s podcast with Spotify has premiered the inaugural episode of her first series with the platform, Archetypes with Meghan, in which the Duchess of Sussex investigates the labels that tend to hold women back, and it's already revealing more secrets from the royals' lives.
The new Spotify podcast in partnership with the Sussexes’ production company Archewell Audio, was billed to be an honest and open conversation, and Markle has already revealed the terrifying moment her son Archie's nursery caught fire in the first episode.
In the first episode, Markle speaks to Serena Williams about what ‘ambition’ means for women and girls, how they both juggle motherhood, and Williams' future evolution away from tennis.
The pair discuss how much of their lives as mothers are behind the scenes, and say that even when things go wrong, they are both expected to ‘perform’ straight after (whether on the tennis court or at royal engagements).
Markle praises Williams' ability to balance her role as a mother and a top-performing tennis player and opens up about her own scary experience that happened when son Archie was just four and a half months old.
Shortly after Archie was born, Markle and husband Prince Harry took their son on an official trip to South Africa.
"The moment we landed, we had to drop him off at this housing unit that they had had us staying in," she explains. "He was going to get ready to go down for his nap."
The royal couple had to go straight to an official engagement in a township called Nyanga, and after meeting the locals and delivering speeches the new parents got in the car and were told about a fire at the residence.
"What?" exclaims Markle. "There's been a fire in the baby's room. What?"
"Our amazing nanny Lauren was in floods of tears," Markle continues. "She was supposed to put Archie down for his nap and she just said, you know what, let me go and get a snack from downstairs."
Fortunately, the nanny took Archie with her, but in the amount of time that she went downstairs, the heater in the nursery caught on fire.
"There was no smoke detector, someone just happened to smell smoke down the hallway so they went in and the fire was extinguished," explains Markle.
"He was meant to be sleeping in there."
Although luckily no one was hurt in the ordeal, the family and people with them were understandably very shaken by the incident.
"Everyone's in tears, everyone is shaking," says Markle. "And what did we have to do? Go out and do another official engagement."
And that’s what they did. The royal couple had to leave their four-month-old son where there had just been a fire.
"The focus ends up being on how it looks instead of how it feels," she adds, explaining that people should have "some understanding of the human moments behind the scenes that people might not have any awareness of, and to give each other a break."
Also in the episode, Markle and Williams discuss the "double standard women face when they are labeled ‘ambitious’ and the ripple effects this has on other aspects of their lives.
Markle talks about her own experience with the word - and Harry's involvement.
"So, I don’t remember ever personally feeling the negative connotation behind the word ambitious until I started dating my now husband," she says. "And um, apparently ambition is, uh… a terrible, terrible thing, for a woman that is – according to some.
"So, since I’ve felt the negativity behind it, it’s really hard to un-feel it. I can’t unsee it, either, in the millions of girls and women who make themselves smaller – so much smaller – on a regular basis."
Throughout the 12-episode series, the duchess will speak to inspiring women across different generations and industries who have conquered tropes in their own lives. The next guest is Mariah Carey.
"This is Archetypes – the podcast where we dissect, explore, and subvert the labels that try to hold women back," she says in the introduction.
"I'll have conversations with women who know all too well how these typecasts shape our narratives. And I'll talk to historians to understand how we even got here in the first place."
Archewell Audio (the audio-first production company started by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) first announced its partnership with Spotify nearly two years ago, followed by the Sussexes' Holiday Special podcast featuring guests such as Elton John and James Corden.
The duchess dropped her royal title for the podcast, to be referred to as simply Meghan in the series’ title. The image for the podcast thumbnail also features the mother-of-two with minimal make-up and a simple white T-shirt vest, suggesting that the series will be a stripped back version of her official presence.
Watch: Harry and Meghan to visit UK in September to attend charity events