Shutterstock Meghan Marklea
Meghan Markle tells of a terrifying experience during her royal tour of Africa.
In the debut episode of her podcast archetypes Released on Tuesday, the Duchess of Sussex sat down with longtime friend and tennis champion Serena Williams for a personal talk about ambition. Speaking about their role as mothers, Meghan revealed that during her visit to Africa with Prince Harry in 2019, a fire broke out in the nursery where their son, Archie Harrison, was staying.
“When we went on tour to South Africa, we landed with Archie,” Meghan, 41, began. “Archie was something, four and a half months old. And the moment we landed, we had to drop him off at this housing unit where they’d let us stay.”
“He would get ready to go down for his nap. We immediately went to an official appointment in this congregation called Nyanga, and there was a moment when I was standing on a stump and I gave this speech to women and girls, and we finish the engagement, we get in the car and they say, ‘the house has been on fire.’ What? “There’s been a fire in the baby’s room.” What?”
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Meghan said they ran back to the residence and their “wonderful nanny” Lauren was “in tears”.
“She had to put Archie down for his nap, and she just said, ‘You know what? Just let me get a snack downstairs.’ And she was from Zimbabwe, and we loved that she would always tie it around her, her back with a mud cloth, and her instinct said, ‘Just let me take it before I put it down.’ At the time she went downstairs, the heater in the nursery caught fire. There was no smoke detector. Someone happened to smell smoke in the hallway, went in, the fire was out,” said Meghan.
She added, “He should be sleeping in there.”
Chris Jackson/Getty Images Meghan Marklea
Meghan said everyone was “in tears” and “shocked” by the incident but had to leave for another scheduled appointment.
“I was like, can you just tell people what happened? And so much, I think, optically. The focus is ultimately on how it looks rather than how it feels,” she said. “And part of humanizing and breaking through these labels and these archetypes and these boxes that we’re put in is that we have some understanding of the human moments behind the scenes that people may not be aware of, and to give each other a break. Because we did – we had to leave our baby behind.”
She continued: “And although we were moved to another place after that, we still had to leave him and go on another official assignment.”
Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Serena replied, “I couldn’t have done that. I would have said, ‘Uh-uh.’ “
Meghan then said on the podcast in a voiceover, “These human moments behind the scenes, those below the surface … they are everything. Because if we don’t swim in the shallow end, and instead choose to swim in the deep dive, then we get a more nuanced understanding of each other.”
Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage Prince Harry, Archie and Meghan Markle
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While visiting South Africa, Meghan spoke about the impact the negative tabloid coverage had on her for the documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey.
“Any woman, especially when she’s pregnant, you’re really vulnerable, and so that was a real challenge. And then when you have a newborn, you know. And especially as a woman, it’s a lot,” she said. “So you’re adding this on top of just trying to be a new mom or be a newlywed. It’s uh…yeah. I guess thanks for asking too because not many people have asked if I’m okay, but it’s something very real to experience behind the scenes.”
Archie, now 3, joined his parents for his first official engagement to meet famed anti-apartheid activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe.