Archie’s first podcast: Meghan and Harry feature 19-month-old son in star-studded first Spotify episode and coax him into wishing listeners a Happy New Year in his American accent
Couple will produce and host own shows, starting with holiday special today supported by famous friends.
Their son Archie is invited on to the end of the 33-minute show where he says ‘Happy New Year’ in US accent.
Archewell Audio guests include Elton John, James Corden, Stacey Abrams, Brené Brown and Deepak Chopra.
Couple’s £30m ($40m) contract with Spotify seen as step towards their ‘billion-dollar brand’ after Netflix deal.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have featured their 19-month-old son Archie in their first Spotify podcast and got him to say his first four words in public – wishing people a ‘Happy New Year’ in his American accent and saying it was ‘fun’ to speak into a microphone.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex today released their first podcast, calling on famous friends including Sir Elton John, Brené Brown, Deepak Chopra, Stacey Abrams and James Corden to reflect on 2020 and their hopes for 2021 with the couple signing off with the words: ‘Love always wins’.
The couple’s first 33-minute show as part of the deal with the streaming giant worth an estimated £30million ($40million) is a ‘holiday special’ that concludes with the gospel song This Little Light of Mine, which was played at the end of their wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018, before Archie is introduced.
Harry and Meghan, who have fiercely defended Archie’s privacy since his birth in May 2019 and filed a lawsuit this year to fight to protect it, encourage their son to talk into the microphone, with Harry telling him: ‘You can speak into it.’ Meghan also asks: ‘Archie, is it fun?’
Archie then replies: ‘Fun.’ Harry then says: ‘After me, ready? Happy.’ Archie says: ‘Happy.’ Meghan and Harry both then say ‘New’, and Archie says: ‘New Year’ – prompting laughter from both of his parents.
Meghan also quotes Martin Luther King as she tells listeners that: ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that’.
And in an apparent nod to the stormy 2020 the couple have had after quitting as frontline royals and moving to Los Angeles via Vancouver, Meghan says: ‘From us I’ll say no matter what life throws at you guys, trust us when we say, love wins.’
But some social media observers questioned the couple’s decision to feature their son in their multi-million pound podcast, with one saying: ‘I hope others will join me in respecting the wishes of these people and decide not to invade their privacy by listening to it.’
Reacting to the right-on tone of their podcast and its interviews, another added: ‘Someone please pass the sick bucket.’
The Sussexes called on many of their most famous friends to appear on their first Archewell Audio podcast, which they promise will ‘uplift and entertain audiences around the world’. Meghan said they asked people who ‘inspire us’ to appear on the podcast and give ‘their thoughts on what they learned from 2020’.
Sir Elton was a friend of Harry’s mother Diana, Princess of Wales and has regularly supported her son over the years, while Corden was a guest at Harry and Meghan’s wedding and was asked by the duke to perform at the couple’s evening celebration.
Other guests include Democrat activist Stacey Abrams, tennis star Naomi Osaka, American filmmaker and actor Tyler Perry, wellness icon Deepak Chopra and teenage activist Christina Adane from London, who campaigns on food issues.
Experts have called the couple’s Spotify tie-up as another big step towards building what experts believe could become a $1billion business empire in the US after a super-deal with Netflix to make documentaries about their pet projects.
Harry and Meghan began their show by paying tribute to healthcare and frontline workers for their ‘sacrifices’ and remembered those who have lived through ‘uncertainty and unthinkable loss’ during the coronavirus pandemic.
The couple have signed a lucrative deal with Spotify to host and produce podcasts, estimated to be worth up to £30million.
The working partnership comes a few months after the couple signed a Netflix deal, to produce a range of programmes and series, rumoured to be worth more than £100 million.
Harry told listeners: ‘We’re glad you’re here. 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’.
While Meghan added: ‘And at the same time, to honour those who have experienced uncertainty and unthinkable loss. Our thoughts have been with you, especially during this holiday season.’
The duke continued: ‘And in too many instances people weren’t able to be at a loved one’s side or say goodbye as they would have wished’, and his wife said: ‘We also want to thank healthcare workers, frontline service workers, and so many others for their sacrifices.’
Harry said in the podcast: ‘As we come to the end of this year and look to the future… let’s hold onto the lessons we’ve learned about how important it is to take care of one another, and how meaningful our connections are… even when they’re physically impossible.’
The podcast ends with the couple broadcasting the gospel song This Little Light of Mine which was played at the end of their wedding.
Meghan said: ‘From us I’ll say no matter what life throws at you guys, trust us when we say, love wins.’
She added: ‘This Little Light of Mine played at the very end of our wedding… while we were walking down the steps of the church.’
Quoting Martin Luther King she went on to say: ‘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…’
Harry added: ‘The message of this song is one we hold so dearly. It’s about using the power we each have within us to make this world a better place.’
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry signed a lucrative podcast deal with Spotify worth up to £30million two weeks ago as they took another big step towards building what experts believe could become a $1billion business empire in the US.
The couple will produce and host their own shows as part of the newly formed Archewell Audio – starting with the ‘holiday special’.
Archie stole the show an, during the final moments of the broadcast, Harry says, in an apparent reference to the microphone in front of his son, ‘you can speak into it’ while Meghan asks ‘Archie is it fun?’ and her son replies ‘fun’.
It is thought Archie has spent more than a year living in North America, joining his parents when they had an extended break towards the end of 2019 in Canada, before they made the permanent move to California in March.
With his mother and grandmother Doria Ragland, both Americans, it is likely he is picking up their accent which will be reinforced if he attends a local playgroup.
Harry and Meghan had asked their guests who included activists, campaigners and famous friends like James Corden to record audio diaries looking back on the year.
Sir Elton, when asked about his hopes for the future, said: ‘I hope after this awful pandemic has passed, and we can go back to some sort of normality, that we have become better people – and I hope for healing.
‘It’s been an awful time for people. People have lost loved ones, people have lost their businesses, they’ve lost work. It’s been an awful time for people, so I hope that we can heal in 2021.’
The duke and duchess began their show by paying tribute to healthcare and frontline workers for their ‘sacrifices’ and remembered those who have lived through ‘uncertainty and unthinkable loss’ during the coronavirus pandemic.
The couple have signed a lucrative deal with Spotify to host and produce podcasts, estimated to be worth around 25 million US dollars (£18 million) and the development comes a few months after their Netflix deal, rumoured to be worth more than £100 million.
In his audio diary for Meghan and Harry’s podcast Sir Elton John said: ‘Well, we were in the middle of a tour and then Covid started and we came back to England in May, and it was very strange because we were going full pelt, and then all of a sudden, we ground to a halt.
‘I’m 73 years old, and I’m a semi-diabetic so I’m in a risky area there, I have an underlying condition as they say. I’ve seen my immediate family – Zachary, Elijah and David – all the time.
‘But my relatives, who I love, haven’t been able to see much of them at all, and I’ve only stayed connected with them by phone, of course, and by Zoom.’
The singer said as a recovering alcoholic being able to attend virtual AA meetings via video calls has been a ‘lifesaver’.
Other podcast guests, during the 34-minute show, included activist and tennis star Naomi Osaka, American filmmaker and actor Tyler Perry, wellness icon Deepak Chopra and teenage activist Christina Adane, from London – who campaigns on food issues.
Corden, who was a guest at Harry and Meghan’s wedding and was asked by the duke to perform at the couple’s evening celebration, said he has been happy spending extra time during the pandemic with his family.
The actor, who hosts The Late Late Show on the American television network CBS, said: ‘I think what I’ve learned about myself is I really don’t have Fomo (fear of missing out). I’m very happy, staying in I mean. I could lose a day just staring at the corner of a rug. That’s what I’ve realised, and I’ve been ok with that.
‘I think being able to spend so much time with my children, I felt like my relationship with them has changed, being around them more, you know, the five of us in our house has really brought quite a lot of joy to me.’
Before the appearance of Archie, the couple broadcast the gospel song This Little Light Of Mine, which was played at the end of their wedding.
Quoting Martin Luther King, Meghan said ‘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…”
On December 18, Meghan settled a privacy claim against a photo agency without winning a penny. The Duchess had told the High Court a photo of her and her one-year-old son Archie had breached his privacy.
Neither Archie’s face nor any other part of his body could be seen because he was wrapped up and facing away from the lens. Los Angeles agency Splash claimed ‘nothing unlawful happened’ because it is legal to take photographs in public parks in Canada.
The case did not reach trial because the UK arm of Splash is in administration. However the administrators of Splash UK undertook that, should it come out of administration, Splash UK will not take any photographs of the duke and duchess or their son in the future.
Spotify has not revealed what the contract is worth, but the streaming service agreed a £75m ($100m) deal with US comedian Joe Rogan in May. The Mirror reported the Sussexes would be paid £30million – other sources put it closer to £20million.
The Sussexes’ agreement comes just months after the royals agreed a £100million partnership with Netflix and days after Meghan invested in a $28-per-pack oat-milk ‘superlatte’ business later promoted for free by her LA neighbour Oprah Winfrey.
A ‘well placed’ royal source told the Mirror: ‘The initial multi year deal is worth in excess of £30 million with a view to extending the deal within six months.
‘Meghan was the driving force behind the deal. She was incredible in the meetings with executives and had a clear vision of what they as a couple have to offer. Spotify’s whole business plan is to acquire the world’s most talked about celebrities in one place and Harry and Meghan fit the bill entirely. It’s a win win scenario.’
Earlier this year, Michelle Obama launched The Michelle Obama Podcast for an undisclosed fee with Spotify and had her husband Barack on as one of her first guests.
A trailer clip of Archewell Audio was released yesterday, accompanied by a short description which reads: ‘Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, present Archewell Audio. Coming soon to Spotify.’
The slickly-produced and heavily-scripted Spotify trailer featuring the Sussexes opens with Harry saying to his wife: ‘Ladies first’ before his Meghan says: ‘No you say it first because I think it sounds really nice with your accent’.
The Duke of Sussex then says: ‘Archewell Audio’ and they say together: ‘Let’s do it’.
Prince Harry then says: ‘Hi guys, I’m Harry’ before Meghan says: ‘And I’m Meghan’, with both choosing not to use their titles.
Meghan then says: ‘One of the things my husband and I have always talked about is our passion for meeting people and hearing their stories. And no matter what the story they usually offer an understanding of where someone else is coming from. And in some way, remind you of a story about yourself’.
Harry continues: ‘And that is what this story is all about. To bring forward different perspectives and voices that perhaps you haven’t heard before. And find our common ground. Because when that happens change really is possible’.
The Duchess of Sussex says that the podcasts will be about ‘finding kindness and compassion, something we saw in some many places this year’.
She adds: ‘It will underlie everything you here on Archewell Audio – so that’s what we’re up to’.
Their first show will be a ‘holiday special’ this month will ‘feature stories of hope and compassion from inspirational guests in celebration of the new year.’
Harry and Meghan both mimic church bells before saying: ‘We can’t wait to share it with you and will be out later this month’.
Meghan says: ‘We’re talking to some amazing people who will share their memories that have helped shaped this year. As we know this has been a difficult one for everyone’.
Touching on the pandemic Harry says: ‘So many people have suffered so much pain this year, experiencing loss and a huge amount of uncertainty but it feels worth mentioning that 2020 has connected us in ways we could never have imagined. Through endless acts of compassion and kindness’.
Plugging the podcast Harry says: ‘So here’s what you need to do, tap follow right now. Go ahead, go on. Tap, follow and that way you won’t miss out and you’ll be able to hear new shows on Archewell Audio as soon as they drop’.
Finishing the trailer Meghan says: ‘We’re so excited. So follow and listen for free only on Spotify. We’ll meet you back here soon’.
Harry signs off with an American-sounding ‘happy holidays’ while Meghan ends with a British ‘cheers’.
The couple said in a statement today: ‘What we love about podcasting is that it reminds all of us to take a moment and to really listen, to connect to one another without distraction.
‘With the challenges of 2020, there has never been a more important time to do so, because when we hear each other, and hear each other’s stories, we are reminded of how interconnected we all are.’
The Sussexes stopped royal duties in January this year, and have been criticised for using their newly independent status to sign multi-million pound deals while retaining their official titles.
The Sussexes’ agreed a £100million partnership with Netflix.
This was followed by the revelation earlier this week that Meghan had invested in a new range of oat milk vegan ‘superlattes’, which sell for £21 ($28) per pack.
Harry, 36, and former Suits actress Meghan, 39, are also set to earn as much as £770,000 ($1m) for delivering online talks – on condition of an upfront fee and the ability to pick any moderators.
The Duke spoke at a J P Morgan event in Miami earlier this year where he received a reported six-figure sum.
Royal biography Angela Levin has branded Harry ‘disloyal’ for taking money from Netflix when it was ‘ridiculing’ his family in popular series The Crown.
The author Penny Junor warned that the couple would find it ‘very difficult’ to combine being a member of the royal family with pursuing commercial activity, because ‘there are bear traps everywhere’.
‘Inevitably, because of who they are, there will always be a market for them,’ she said. ‘It’s not even because they’re Harry and Megan, it’s because they are HRHs.
‘That adds a huge number of noughts to the end of any deal that they do. That’s not their fault. It just highlights how difficult it is to square up being a member of the royal family but earning a living outside it.’
Harry and Meghan no longer use their HRH styles, but they are still members of the royal family despite stepping back from official duties and retain the titles.
Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s chief content and advertising business officer, said: ‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex may live in California but the power of their voices rests in their status as citizens of the world.
‘That they are embracing the extraordinary capacity of podcasts on Spotify while also seeking to elevate underrepresented voices is a testament to their appreciation for the potential of audio storytelling.’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been embraced by the celebrity circuit after ditching royal duties in March and signed a multi-million-pound deal with Netflix to produce content that provides ‘hope and inspiration’.
One of their latest ventures was a new brand of vegan coffees, which Oprah Winfrey promoted to her 19.2million Instagram followers in a huge favour to her friend.
Ms Markle’s coffee investment is the first since she and Harry emigrated to pursue a private life and seek ‘financial independence’ from the royal family in California – but is still likely to ‘raise eyebrows’ at the palace, experts claim.
The record for an advertising Instagram post was $500,000, paid to Kim Kardashian in 2015, but Mr Borkowski said Oprah’s social media video was ‘a million buck post in free publicity’ at least.
Oprah, America’s biggest TV star worth $2.6bn, described the beverage on Instagram as her ‘new drink of choice’. While its maker, Californian start-up Clevr Blends, claims it brings all kinds of health benefits, is ethical, environmentally friendly and a brand that is ‘dedicated to giving a s**t’.
Its packaging claims it boosts immunity, brain health and digestion while reducing stress and improving focus.
Meghan made her first public appearance since revealing three weeks ago that she suffered a miscarriage in July.
In a video message for US news channel CNN from the gardens of her mansion, she saluted the ‘quiet heroes’ of the coronavirus pandemic, praising key workers and those who volunteer at food banks. Meghan, 39, and Harry, 36, have helped several charities to distribute food in Los Angeles.
Forbes said the duchess intends to invest in more women-led firms as she ‘has made gender equality one of her core causes’.
Clevr Blends has a British CEO, Hannah Mendoza, who co-founded the firm with Roger Coppola, the only man on the team.
In a statement, Meghan, who did not reveal the size of her stake, said it was to support ‘a passionate female entrepreneur who prioritises building community alongside her business’.
She added: ‘I’m proud to invest in Hannah’s commitment to sourcing ethical ingredients and creating a product that I personally love and has a holistic approach to wellness.’
The recent deals will help the Sussexes in their pledge to become ‘financially independent’ from the royal family – following their decision to step back from frontline royal duties in January this year.
The couple have since bought a sprawling nine-bedroom and 16-bathroom mansion in upscale Santa Barbara, known as ‘The Chateau’ for $14.65million, making them neighbours with celebrities including Oprah Winfrey.
The pair are thought to have purchased the sprawling property, which sits on 5.4 acres of land, from a Russian businessman with a $9.5million mortgage after the price was knocked down by more than $10million.
At typical interest rates provided by Bank of America, the couple would have to pay $40,000 a month or $480,000 a year in order to repay the mortgage over 30 years.
Annual property tax is estimated at $68,000 and the costs of security and utilities for the huge mansion will also come with hefty bills.
According to cost-of-living database Numbeo, utility bills for a 900 sq ft home in Santa Barbara County are typically around $200 per month.
Harry and Meghan’s mansion is more than 10 times larger, suggesting a possible bill of at least $2,000 per month or $24,000 per year.
Alongside agreeing to pay back £2.4million for tax-payer funded renovations to Frogmore Cottage, where the pair lived before moving to America, the couple earlier this year agreed to pay for the cost of their security personally.
The security bill could cost them £4million a year.
They also face staff costs.
Christopher Baker, who runs a firm that supplies domestic staff in California, told the Hollywood Reporter in 2015 that a staff for A-list celebrities can cost $200,000 to $300,000 per year, or even more.