It’s fair to speculate that the head honchos at Spotify might be wondering if their company got enough bang for its buck following its reportedly $25 million multi-year deal with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
It’s been 611 days since Spotify announced the agreement. But until today, Meghan and Harry had only managed to produce one thirty-three-minute “holiday special” on their Archewell label in December 2020. You can’t rush royal content, clearly.
Never fear, Meghan has now launched Archetypes — maybe the couple spent a year or so coming up with the brilliant name. Harry has been shoved into the background, naturally, so that Meghan can concentrate on talking about herself — sorry, Cockburn meant to say, “on the labels that try to hold women back.” Labels don’t try to do anything, of course: they are labels. But we should never let common sense get in the way of rich women talking about female empowerment.
The first guest is Serena Williams, but tennis enthusiasts who tune in might be forgiven. The show is in fact all about Meghan, since it takes thirteen minutes for Serena to get a word in edgeways.
Meghan starts by trotting out her favorite story from her childhood. In case you have been lucky enough not hear it, allow Cockburn to sum up: eleven-year-old Meghan was “furious” when she saw a Procter & Gamble commercial that advertised its dishwashing soap solely to women, wrote to the most powerful people she could think of, including then-first lady Hillary Clinton, and managed to get the ad pulled.
Meghan calls the experience an “awakening to the millions of ways, big and small, that our society tries to box women in, to hold women back, to tell women who and what they should and can be.’ Cockburn was reminded of Tom Bower’s latest book, Revenge, which claims that parts of this story were not right — and that Meghan’s claims that Hillary Clinton and Proctor & Gamble wrote letters of reply were “invented by an adoring father.”
Markle added that she has “never lost touch with that reality, and in the last few years, my desire to do something about it has grown. My eleven-year-old voice has also gotten a little more confident — maybe a little louder.” She has a little chuckle in her voice, which isn’t irritating at all.
Prince Harry is allowed to talk, just. He crashes the interview at the beginning like an embarrassing dad trying to get down with the kids, or perhaps an over-enthusiastic bachelor uncle, telling Serena, “I like what you’ve done with your hair! That’s a great vibe.”
Towards the end of what Cockburn should be polite and call an interview, Meghan discusses the importance of level-headed decision making. She says, in reference to Serena’s recent decision to retire from tennis, “I think both of us really know that sometimes the right decision isn’t the easiest decision. It takes a lot of counsel and support to make the choice.” As someone who announced her departure from the British monarchy on Instagram, before discussing with the Queen first, she knows of what she speaks. It’s her truth, remember.
On and on it goes. Cockburn must admit that he struggled to force himself to listen. Sussex fans (apparently there still are plenty) shouldn’t get too excited about the new series. If their last Spotify podcast is anything to go by, this is all they’re going to get.
This article was originally published on The Spectator’s UK website.