The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son Archie has spoken publicly for the first time – with a slight American accent – in the royal couple’s new podcast for Spotify.
The half-hour “Holiday Special” features celebrities, including singer Sir Elton John and TV host James Corden, and other guests reflecting on the past year and “sharing lessons, reflections and hopes for 2021”.
In a surprise twist at the end, the couple’s son Archie wished listeners a happy new year.
“After me. Ready? Happy…” Harry said, coaching the 19-month-old toddler.
“Happy,” Archie repeated.
“New,” the duke and duchess said.
“New… Year,” the toddler replied, giggling.
Among those who featured on the show were activists and campaigners who had been asked by the couple to record audio diaries looking back on the year.
The podcast venture follows a high-profile Netflix deal to become film and TV producers, after announcing they wanted to step away from royal life and become financially independent at the start of 2020.
In the audio show, they pay tribute to those who “have experienced uncertainty and unthinkable loss” during a difficult year, and thank healthcare workers for their sacrifices.
The couple – who have been married for two and a half years and now live in Montecito, California – also expound the value of love, telling their listeners “love wins”.
Harry said: “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.”
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.”
In his audio diary for the podcast, Sir Elton John said: “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 him by phone, of course, and by Zoom.”
He attended his Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on Zoom, calling the technology a “lifesaver”.
Reflecting on 2020, he called it “the worst year I’ve ever known”, saying, “let’s just go onwards and upwards and have the best year in 2021.”
Late-night talk show host and actor James Corden said the pandemic taught him that he’s “very happy staying in” as the pandemic forced him to record from home.
“I could lose a day just staring at the corner of a rug,” he said.
Celebrity chef Jose Andres said he shed tears when he had to close his restaurants – but then decided to repurpose his staff to provide meals for those who need it most, like healthcare workers and the homeless.
The show ends on a romantic note, featuring This Little Light of Mine – the song which was played at the end of their wedding at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in May 2018.
Meghan said: “From us I’ll say no matter what life throws at you guys, trust us when we say, love wins.”
The podcast is Archewell Audio’s first offering in a multi-year partnership with the streaming service, as part of their charitable foundation Archewell.
The royal couple’s “audio-first production company” is expected to deliver a complete series next year.
Harry and Meghan have appeared on a number of different podcasts as guests, including the Teenage Therapy podcast to mark World Mental Health Day, where Meghan described how “in 2019, I was the most trolled person in the entire world”.
And last month Meghan wrote in The New York Times about the experience of losing her second child, in a bid to break down the stigma around talking about miscarriage.