Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have released their new podcast – with 19-month-old Archie stealing the show as he’s heard for the first time in public.
The royal toddler wished listeners a “Happy New Year” during the final seconds of the podcast, as Harry and Meghan could both be heard laughing with their son.
Harry tells him “you can speak into it”. Talking with what appears to be a slight American accent, the royal toddler repeats “Happy” and then copies Meghan after she says “New”.
Archie can then be heard completing the phrase without any further prompting saying “Year” as the trio descends into giggles.
The youngster certainly stole the show, despite the fact the Sussexes were also joined by Sir Elton John, James Corden and a host of famous friends in a Christmas special of their holiday broadcast.
‘We’re glad you’re here’
Opening the show, Harry acknowledged the difficulties of 2020.
“We’re glad you’re here,” he said. “As we all know, it’s been a year. And we really want to honour the compassion and kindness that has helped so many people get through it.”
Meghan chimed in to pay respects to those who’ve experienced loss.
“And at the same time, to honour those who have experienced uncertainty and unthinkable loss,” she said.
“Our thoughts have been with you, especially during this holiday season.”
They took the moment to thank healthcare workers, frontline service workers and “so many others for their sacrifices”.
Meghan, 39, said they asked “a few friends” as well as athletes, artists, and activists to send audio diaries about the last year.
The Duke joked that “you’re on mute” was a “defining phrase” of 2020, and meant they had decided to ask people to record their own messages instead of set up a series of video calls which are sometimes “awkward”.
Harry, 36, encouraged people to grab a “cosy beverage” and said he hoped it brought warmth to listeners.
Alongside Corden and Sir Elton, the couple also invited novellist Matt Haig and tennis star Naomi Osaka, as well as self-help writer Brené Brown to the podcast.
Meghan previously revealed her love of Haig’s work when she edited British Vogue in 2019, as she chose one of his poems for the edition.
They also gave a few moments to one of their new partners, Chef José Andrés, who they will be working with to establish community centres in four places disproportionately affected by “food system challenges”.
And they were joined by Tyler Perry, the Hollywood producer whose home they stayed in when they first arrived in Los Angeles.
The royal couple ended the podcast by playing This Little Light of Mine, which was played at their wedding.
“From us I’ll say no matter what life throws at you guys, trust us when we say, love wins,” Meghan said.
Quoting Martin Luther King Jr, she added: “It was the music that we wanted playing when we started our lives together. Because as we all know, ‘darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that…’”
Fans praised the couple on Twitter after the podcast was released, calling it “pure joy”.
With others calling it “heartwarming” and praising Archie's appearance as “adorable”.
However, it also received negative reactions, with some people saying they would rather “watch concrete”.
“Someone please pass the sick bucket,” one person wrote.
While others were quick to point out how the podcast could be seen as flying in the face of their quest for privacy.
“Great to see you getting the privacy you so craved for before leaving the United Kingdom...,” one person wrote.
“I hope others will join me in respecting the wishes of these people and decide not to invade their privacy by listening to it,” another said.
Harry and Meghan confirmed they had signed a deal with Spotify for exclusive podcasts earlier this month, thought to be worth several million dollars.
However the deal came under fire from some, who criticised Spotify for big contracts with the royals when many artists are reported to make a small sum from their music through the platform.
A YouGov poll of Britons revealed only a small amount of interest in listening to the couple’s podcast.
YouGov polled more than 5,700 adults, with only 2% saying they were very interested, and 5% saying they were fairly interested in the podcasts.
But 77% of people said they were not interested at all.
Reporting by Rebecca Taylor.
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