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Meghan Markle and Serena Williams recently reflected on the ups and downs of being “ambitious women” on the former’s new podcast, Archetypes.

While discussing their almost decade-long friendship, the two women traded stories about how they’ve had to perform in the public eye despite major and troubling events happening in their private lives. 

As gender in the workplace expert Dr. Laura Kay outlined in the podcast’s first episode, many ambitious women face backlash when they return to work after becoming mothers.

The Duchess of Sussex took the opportunity to share how a previously unpublicized event concerning Archie during a 2019 official royal tour of South Africa affected her. 

“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,” Markle recalled.

“What? ‘There’s been a fire in the baby’s room.’ What?” she continued, remembering how she initially reacted to the news.

The Duchess further explained that Archie — then around four months old — hadn’t been in the room napping although he was supposed to have been. 

Instead, the child’s caretaker decided to bring the young royal with her while she went downstairs to prepare a snack.

It was within that short amount of time away from the room that a heater in the nursery caught on fire. 

“There was no smoke detector. Someone happened to just smell smoke down the hall and went in and fire extinguished… He was supposed to be sleeping in there,” said Markle. “And [me and Harry] came back, and of course as mother you go ‘Oh my gosh, what just [happened]?'” 

“Everyone’s in tears, everyone’s shaken. And what do we have to do? Go out and do another official engagement,” she recalled. “I said, ‘This doesn’t make any sense. Can you just tell people what happened?’… And even though we were being moved to another place afterwards, we still had to leave him and go do another official engagement.”

Elsewhere in the podcast episode, Markle called for “some understanding on the human moments behind the scenes that people might not have any awareness of, and to give each other a break.”


Meghan Markle’s Archetypes Podcast

Markle’s latest project aims to be a series “where we dissect, explore, and subvert the labels that try to hold women back,” according to Deadline.

The debut of Archetypes’ first episode comes around two years after Markle and her husband Prince Harry’s Archwell Audio production company signed a multiyear deal with Spotify.

The project is produced in partnership with Gimlet Media. 

View a trailer for the new podcast below.


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