During a conversation with Serena Williams on the first episode of her Spotify podcast Archetypes, the duchess of Sussex recalled how her son, who is now three years old, narrowly escaped a fire in his bedroom during one of the royal tours to South Africa in 2019.
Markle said Archie’s nanny, identified only as Lauren, was preparing to put him to bed for a nap, before suddenly deciding to take him with her to get a snack at the last minute.
“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.
“…We get back, our amazing nanny, Lauren… who we’d had all the way until, um, in Canada here… Lauren in floods of tears. She was supposed to put Archie down for his nap and she just said, ‘You know what? Let me just go get a snack downstairs.’”
The duchess revealed that Lauren was from Zimbabwe and she would always tie Archie on her back with mud cloth.
On the day of the fire, Lauren’s “instinct was like, ‘Let me just bring him with me before I put him down.’”
“In that amount of time that she went downstairs… the heater in the nursery caught on fire,” Markle said. “We came back, and of course, as a mother… everyone’s in tears, everyone’s shaken. And what did we have to do? Go out and give another official engagement.”
In the rest of the podcast, for which Markle acted as an executive producer for the first episode, spoke to Williams about the double standards women face when they are labelled “ambitious”.
The pair also discussed the ripple effect this has on the rest of their lives.
The podcast, which launched on Tuesday (23 August), aims to explore the labels and tropes that try to hold women back.