Serena Williams shares previously unseen photo with 'dear friend' Meghan Markle

Serena Williams and Meghan Markle. (Getty Images)
Serena Williams is the first guest and friend to appear on Archetypes with Meghan. (Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Serena Williams shared a photo with Meghan Markle on Tuesday to promote her 'dear friend''s new Spotify podcast Archetypes released earlier that day.

The tennis star, 40, who joined the Duchess of Sussex, 41, on her very first episode, posted a previously unseen black and white photo to Instagram, with her four-year-old daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian held closely between the two women.

Markle – who dropped her royal title for the podcast, using just her first name Meghan – can be seen wearing a blue denim shirt dress (sold out) and grey sweater blazer (still available) both from J.Crew, the outfit she wore when supporting Williams at the 2019 US Open tennis tournament.

Meanwhile, Williams is dressed in a Nike sports vest and and joggers, in what looks like a photo taken from the locker room at the event.

Read more: Meghan Markle reveals she and Harry 'had to leave' Archie during South Africa tour following nursery fire

"I loved talking about so many important topics with my dear friend Meghan as her first guest on #archetypes for @spotify! It's out now and worth the listen, especially if you're ambitious."

Fellow celebrity friends expressed their love for the moment, with Paris Hilton commenting with a string of love-heart emojis, Karlie Kloss with clapping hands, and Loren Ridinger with: "Love this."

Fans also flooded the comments with support. "This is great news!!! I love and admire you both," while others wrote, "It was good conversation with two beautiful women. #ambitionisagoodthing", "This reminds me of a brunch conversation between two girlfriends about life, friendship, and motherhood", and "Amazing".

Meghan Markle, Serena Williams and Hannah Davis participate in the DirecTV Beach Bowl at Pier 40 on February 1, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for DirecTV)
Meghan Markle, Serena Williams and Hannah Davis participate in the DirecTV Beach Bowl in New York, February 2014. (Getty Images) (Kevin Mazur via Getty Images)

Williams, who recently announced her retirement from tennis, also posted a link to the episode on her story, with the caption, "Loved sitting down to be the first guest on Meghan's new podcast, #Archetypes. Listen now, only on @spotify."

Archetypes with Meghan, also made in partnership with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's production company Archewell Audio, will "investigate, dissect, and subvert the labels that try to hold women back".

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Archetypes with Meghan has landed on Spotify. (Archewell Audio/Spotify)
Archetypes with Meghan is found on Spotify. (Archewell Audio/Spotify) (Archewell Audio/Spotify)

In Williams' post, the later part of the caption where she encourages people to listen, "especially if you're ambitious", is a nod to one of the conversations the women had in the episode The Misconception of Ambition with Serena Williams. The pair discussed the double standard women face when labelled as 'ambitious' and the effect it has.

Markle also linked this to when she became involved with Prince Harry.

"So, I don’t remember ever personally feeling the negative connotation behind the word 'ambitious' until I started dating my now husband," she said. "And um, apparently ambition is, uh… a terrible, terrible thing, for a woman that is – according to some."

The pair also discussed how they juggle motherhood and Williams' future post-tennis, among other things.

Read more: Serena Williams criticises gender imbalance in sports as she retires from tennis to focus on family: ‘I don’t think it’s fair’

2019 US Open Tennis Tournament- Day Thirteen. Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, Alexis Ohanian, husband of Serena Williams and Oracene Price, mother of Serena Williams react as Adrienne Warren performs 'America the Beautiful' before the Women's Singles Final between Serena Williams of the United States and Bianca Andreescu of Canada on Arthur Ashe Stadium during the 2019 US Open Tennis Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 7th, 2019 in Flushing, Queens, New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
Meghan Markle supporting Serena Williams at the 2019 US Open in New York, with Williams' husband Alexis Ohanian and mother Oracene Price. (Getty Images) (Tim Clayton - Corbis via Getty Images)

Markle also revealed that her and Harry's son Archie's nursery caught on fire while they were on tour in South Africa, shortly after he was born.

"The moment we landed, we had to drop him off at this housing unit that they had had us staying in," she explained. "He was going to get ready to go down for his nap."

It was only as they got in the car after attending an official engagement in the township Nyanga in Cape Town that they were told about the fire at the residence.

"Our amazing nanny Lauren was in floods of tears," recalled Markle. "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."

Read more: Meghan supports Harry as he recalls Diana's relationship with Nelson Mandela during speech

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and their baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe at the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation during their royal tour of South Africa on September 25, 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Archie on tour in South Africa in 2019. (Getty Images) (Pool/Samir Hussein via Getty Images)

Luckily, the nanny took little Archie downstairs with her, while meanwhile, 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," said Markle.

"He was meant to be sleeping in there."

She then discussed how the new parents had to then go out to do another official engagement, leaving Archie again after the frightening incident.

Williams and Markle reportedly first met at a Super Bowl party in 2010, going on to become good friends.

"We were just texting each other this morning, we have known each other for a long time, but we really are relying on each other a lot recently," Williams said of Markle in an interview with Australia's The Project in 2018, when asked about the scrutiny they both seemed to be under.

US tennis player Serena Williams and her husband Alexis Ohanian arrive for the wedding ceremony of Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and US actress Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on May 19, 2018. (Photo by Ian West / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read IAN WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
Serena Williams and husband Alexis Ohanian at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in May 2018. (Getty Images) (IAN WEST via Getty Images)

She also spoke about her attendance at Harry and Meghan's wedding in May that year with her husband Alexis Ohanian. “To have such a monumental moment in England, nonetheless of all the places, I felt like we were literally watching history,” said Williams. “I feel like, in a few years, we are going to look back at that moment, and it’s just going to be so historic. It’s going to be something that people never forget.

"The whole service was really wonderful, and most of all, I just wanted to see my friend be happy. And I think that’s what happened.”

Read more: Why Kate and William are moving to Windsor - despite spending taxpayer millions on Kensington Palace

In 2021, speaking on the Shine Series, Williams also described Markle as "the strongest person I know" following her interview with Oprah Winfrey.

"Meghan is a great person and I think the epitome of strength, the epitome of confidence, the epitome of just selflessness, and the epitome of everything is just her and everything that she's gone through," she told host and chief marketing officer for Stuart Weitzman, Behnaz Ghahramani.

"You can see from the interview that it wasn't easy. But she had so much poise and she still had so much class," she added.

"I just think that she is the strongest person I know. I don't know anyone else that could handle anything on such a global scale the way that she's had to handle things that are just untrue - minute after minute.

"Not even day after day. Just minute after minute, another untrue allegation being thrown at her."

Markle and Harry now live in California with their two children, Archie, three, and Lilibet, one, where they moved to after stepping back as senior working royals at the beginning of 2020.

Watch: Meghan Markle calls new podcast 'unfiltered'