Biggest takeaways from Meghan Markle's first podcast

Biggest takeaways from Meghan Markle's first podcast
Prince Harry and Meghan Are Recognized with Humanitarian Award

Meghan Markle has finally dropped her hotly anticipated podcast Archetypes on Spotify, which has already reigned in thousands of listeners.

In the series, the Duchess of Sussex will sit down with experts to have "uncensored conversations" to unveil and understand the stereotypes about women and how they play into and shape our culture today.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex partnered with Spotify in 2020 after sharing their love for podcasts – especially during the pandemic. They said Archewell Audio was "committed to producing programming that uplifts and entertains audiences around the world; spotlights diverse perspectives and voices; and builds community through shared experience, narratives and values."

Until Tuesday's (23 August) release of Archetypes, it had only produced a single 2020 holiday special.

During the debut episode, Markle and tennis star Serena Williams delve into 'The Misconception of Ambition' by deconstructing the history of societal stereotypes.

Here's everything we learned from the hour-long episode:

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Ambition is a "dirty, dirty word when it comes to women"

The pair sat down and spoke about the negativity surrounding ambition in women, with Markle saying she doesn't "remember ever personally feeling the negative connotation behind the word 'ambitious'" until she started dating her husband.

"And um, apparently ambition is, uh… a terrible, terrible thing, for a woman that is — according to some. So, since I've felt the negativity behind it, it's really hard to un-feel it," she said.

"I can't unsee it, either, in the millions of girls and women who make themselves smaller — so much smaller — on a regular basis."

Prince Harry crashed the set to compliment Williams' hair

Before the pair launched their candid conversation, Harry made a brief cameo to comment on the tennis star's "great vibe."

"You wanna come say hi? Look who just popped in," Markle said to her husband as she and Williams greeted him with a "hello" in British accents.

He tells Williams: "I like what you've done with your hair! That's a great vibe."

She replies: "Thank you. Good to see you too as always, I miss you guys."

The Duke told Williams to "come and see us", while Markle said they'd make a plan.

The double standards of ambition for men and women

Williams opened up about women being put in "different boxes" when perceived as ambitious.

"You know, if a man is ambitious, am I saying? Am I bringing down society by saying a woman is something different than ambitious? Or what do I think of women that are ambitious?" she said.

"Often women are definitely put in these different boxes when we are ambitious or when we do have goals or when we reach our goals, it's a negative connotation on how we reach the goals."

Archie’s bedroom caught fire during a royal tour

Markle recalled the terrifying moment she discovered her son's bedroom caught fire during a tour in South Africa. After the engagement, the Duke and Duchess were told about a fire in the residence.

"[They said] ‘There's been a fire in the baby's room,’" Markle continued, adding: "I can't believe I'm even talking about this.

"We'd just landed an hour, two hours before. We raced back, and our amazing nanny Lauren, who we'd had all the way from Canada to here, was in floods of tears."

Markle explained how Archie's nanny was about to put him down for a nap but decided to bring the four-and-a-half-month-old to get a snack last minute.

"In that amount of time that she went downstairs, the heater in the nursery caught on fire," she said.

"There was no smoke detector, someone happened to smell smoke down the hallway, went in, fire [was] extinguished. He was supposed to be sleeping in there.

"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."

How men and women are treated differently after having kids

Markle said she "felt" the double standards when she had children – and it was a massive part of Williams' story too.

The tennis star said women who return to work and attempt to perform at the highest level "are violating people's expectations of the most important thing for women to be: to be nurturing, to love children."

She added, "anything that a woman does that could potentially call that into doubt is going to incur backlash."

In comparison, Williams said that men with children often reap the benefits from their workplace by receiving "a boost in their pay."

"People will say, 'well, he's got kids now, we need to help him to support his family, and it benefits them career-wise when they have kids," she said.

Williams "talked with Harry a lot" about her tennis retirement

Markle said she knew her close friend was stepping away from the tennis court before the news broke but wasn't going to "betray her trust."

When it became public knowledge, she phoned Williams to discuss her "monumental decision" to include in her debut podcast episode.

Williams said: "My entire life has been for one purpose, so to kinda not do that anymore – it's exciting, right, I'm really looking forward to it,

"I can't wait to wake up one day and literally never have to worry about performing on such a huge level or competing."

She said she "talked with Harry a lot" about the decision. "He was trying to knock some sense into me," she laughed.

"I also just wanted you to understand what it meant to have your support and for H's support for everything," Williams said. "It's been hard, you've been in the locker rooms when I've been down and debating why I'm doing this, but ultimately, I love what I do."

Williams also confirmed that she still wants to be involved in the tennis world, but just not professionally.

The second episode will follow next week and feature singer Mariah Carey as a guest.

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