On Tuesday (23 August), the Duchess of Sussex released the first episode of her long-awaited podcast series Archetypes. In the premiere episode of the podcast, Markle was joined by her friend and recently retired tennis star, Serena Williams.
In the episode, titled “The Misconception of Ambition,” Markle touched on motherhood, pregnancy, and the labels and tropes that try to hold women back.
Here’s everything we’ve learned from the first episode of Meghan Markle’s podcast series Archetypes.
Archie’s bedroom caught on fire during Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal tour
Perhaps the most shocking revelation from the first podcast episode was when Markle revealed that her son Archie’s bedroom caught fire while she and her husband Prince Harry were on tour in South Africa.
As Markle and Williams were discussing public appearances amid struggles in their personal lives, the duchess recalled the couple’s visit to Nyanga township in South Africa back in 2019, as part of their royal duties.
“We finish the engagement, we get in the car and they say: there’s been a fire at the residence,” she began.
“[They said] ‘There’s been a fire in the baby’s room,’” Markle continued, before adding: “I can’t believe I’m even talking about this.”
The duchess explained that their nanny was preparing to put Archie in bed for his nap when she decided to bring him with her to get a snack at the last minute. It was then that the heater in the nursery caught on fire, and there was no smoke detector in the room where Archie was supposed to be sleeping. The parents raced back to the residence where their nanny Lauren was in “floods of tears”.
“We came back, and of course, as a mother... everyone’s in tears, everyone’s shaken,” Markle said. “And what did we have to do? Go out and give another official engagement.”
Meghan Markle was ‘under a lot of stress’ during her pregnancies
During the first episode of the Archetypes podcast series, Markle and Williams also discussed their pregnancies. While the tennis pro reflected on how she “loved” being pregnant, Markle admitted that she was under a lot of stress during her first pregnancy.
“I love being a woman and I loved being pregnant. I was one of those,” Williams said.
Meghan replied: “You made pregnancy look so sexy, I just waddled around [laughs]. I was just tired, I was tired. Oh my god.”
“I was the annoying one,” Williams said, adding: “You were the one under a lot of stress.”
Markle announced her first pregnancy in October 2018 and gave birth to son Archie, now three, in May 2019. At the time, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were still senior members of the royal family. In June 2021, the couple welcomed their second child, daughter Lilibet – 18 months after they stepped down from their royal duties.
The media confused Meghan Markle with Serena Williams
As the two friends discussed misleading reports in the media, Markle recalled how a false report once confused her with Williams, claiming the duchess was from Compton, California.
“This morning, I was saying to Harry: ‘Do you remember when they said, ‘Harry’s girl is straight outta Compton?’ I was like, are they talking about Serena?” Markle told Williams, who is from Compton.
“I’m like, I’m not from Compton, I’ve never lived in Compton, my mum’s never lived in Compton but by the way what’s wrong with compton? My girl Serena’s from there.”
The reports had circulated when Prince Harry and Megan Markle announced their engagement in 2017.
Meghan Markle says she ‘didn’t know ambition was a negative word’ until she started dating Prince Harry
Markle also spoke about the consequences of being an ambitious woman during the first podcast episode. Speaking to Williams, Markle explained how meeting her husband, Prince Harry, affected her understanding of ambition.
“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.”
Markle continued: “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.”