Meghan Markle is opening up about a terrifying experience involving her newborn son during her royal tour of Africa with Prince Harry in 2019.
On the debut episode of her podcast Archetypes released Tuesday (August 23), the Duchess of Sussex sat down with longtime friend and tennis champion Serena Williams for a conversation about ambition. While speaking about their roles as mothers, Meghan revealed that during her visit to South Africa, a fire broke out in the nursery where their four-month-old son, Archie Harrison, was staying.
Meghan, 41, recalled that the moment she and her family landed, they had to drop Archie off at a housing unit where they were staying in Nyanga. After giving a speech to women and girls, Meghan and Harry received the scary news once they got in their car, just two hours later: “‘There’s been a fire at the residence.’ What? ‘There’s been a fire in the baby’s room.’ What? I can’t believe we haven’t talked about this.”
They raced back to the residence and their “amazing nanny” Lauren was “in floods of tears.” Meghan continued, “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.’ And she was from Zimbabwe, and we loved that she would always tie him on her back with a mud cloth, and her 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,” Meghan revealed. “There was no smoke detector. Someone happened to just smell smoke down the hallway went in, fire extinguished. He was supposed to be sleeping in there.”
Markle said everyone was “in tears” and “shaken” by the incident, but they had to leave for another scheduled engagement. “I was like, ‘Can you just tell people what happened?’ And so much, I think optically, the focus ends up being on how it looks instead of how it feels. And part of the humanizing and the breaking through of these labels and these archetypes and these boxes that we’re put into is having some understanding on the human moments behind the scenes that people might not have any awareness of and to give each other a break. Because we did — we had to leave our baby. And even though we were being moved to another place afterwards, we still had to leave him and go do another official engagement.”
Serena sighed and said, “I couldn’t have done that. I would have said, ‘Unh-uh.'”
Meghan then said on the podcast in a voiceover, “These human moments behind the scenes, the ones under the surface, they’re everything. Because when we don’t swim in the shallow end, and instead choose to dive into the deep end, that’s when we gain a more nuanced understanding of each other.”