Meghan Markle says Archie's room caught fire during Royal tour of South Africa

In the first episode of her long-awaited podcast, Meghan Markle revealed how a fire broke out in the nursery where her son Archie was staying in 2019. Royal Editor Chris Ship reports.

Meghan Markle has revealed her son Archie narrowly escaped a fire in his bedroom, where he was supposed to be sleeping, during the Sussexes’ tour of South Africa in 2019.

The Duchess of Sussex told the story during the first episode of her Spotify podcast, Archetypes, where she spoke with her close friend and tennis superstar Serena Williams.

Meghan said that a heater in Archie's nursery caught fire while his then nanny, named only as Lauren - a Zimbabwean who liked to tie him on her back with a mud cloth - had taken the four and a half month old with her downstairs to get a snack.

“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 just smell smoke down the hallway, went in, fire extinguished. He was supposed to be sleeping in there.”

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The former Suits star told how they had dropped Archie at the housing unit they were staying in for a sleep straight after arriving on their official tour.

Meanwhile, Meghan and her husband the Duke of Sussex left to carry out a visit to the Nyanga township, in Cape Town, where the duchess delivered a speech.

She added: “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. What? There’s been a fire in the baby’s room.

“We came back. And, of course, as a mother, you go, ‘oh, my God, what?’ Everyone’s in tears, everyone’s shaken.

"And what do we have to do? Go out and do another official engagement? I said, ‘this doesn’t make any sense’.”

The duchess described how she wanted to tell people what had happened and stressed the need for more understanding of the “human moments behind the scenes”.

“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,” she said.

Later the same day, the couple had visited Cape Town’s historic District Six neighbourhood, met residents in its Homecoming Centre and heard from people who were forcibly removed to a township during the Apartheid era, with the Sussexes also carrying out an impromptu walkabout.

Meghan and Harry’s controversial African tour took place in the autumn of 2019, just months before they quit as senior working royals.

Entitled The Misconception of Ambition with Serena Williams, Meghan talks with Williams about the double standards women face when they are labelled “ambitious”.

Williams also reveals Harry helped her with her decision to retire from tennis long before it was announced, spending around an hour discussing the issue with her.

Meghan, who stepped away from the monarchy with the Queen’s grandson for a new life in California, says to Williams: “I think, you know, I think both of us, or the three of us, really know that sometimes the right decision isn’t the easiest decision.”

The next Archetypes podcast by Meghan – part of the Sussexes' multimillion-pound deal with Spotify – will feature singer Mariah Carey.