Meghan Markle shares heartache of leaving Archie with nanny moments before fire broke out in his nursery

The Duchess of Sussex opens up on 2019 horror blaze in son Archie's nursery.

Meghan Markle Archie nursery fire
(Image credit: Getty)

Meghan Markle recalls heartache of leaving son Archie with nanny moments before fire broke out in his nursery.

Meghan Markle has opened up on her horror of finding out a fire had broken out in Archie's nursery while she and Prince Harry were on a public engagement.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were visiting the South African township of Nyaga when the freak accident happened back in 2019. 

Meghan shared her horrors for the first time as she spoke to pal Serena Williams on her Spotify podcast Archetypes, in which she previously talked about raising Lilibet.

In the latest instalment, she explains how she felt when she was told "there was a fire in the baby's room" and on racing home, they found their then nanny Lauren in tears.

Meghan said, "The moment we landed, we had to drop [Archie] off at this housing unit that they had had us staying in. He was going to get ready to go down for his nap. 

"We immediately went to an official engagement in this township called Nyanga, and there was this moment where I'm standing on a tree stump and I'm giving this speech to women and girls...

"We finish the engagement, we get in the car and they say 'there's been a fire at the residence. There's been a fire in the baby's room'.

She added, "We get back, and our amazing nanny Lauren is in floods of tears.

"She was supposed to put Archie down for his nap and she just said, You know what? Let me just go get a snack downstairs."

Meghan explained how she 'loved' that the nanny, from Zimbabwe, would always "tie" Archie on her back with a mid cloth, and she continued, "He instinct was like, 'let me just bring him with me before I put him down'. In that amount of time that she went downstairs, the heater in the nursery caught on fire."

And it looks like the nanny's tradition of taking Archie with her is likely to have saved his life.

"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," Meghan recalled.

But at the time Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were still senior working members of the Royal Family, as it happened before they stepped back, and Meghan recalled her pain over having to go back out on another official engagement - despite being in tears and left shaken by the incident.

Meghan continued, "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. Can you just tell people what happened? And I think the focus ends up being on how it looks instead of how it feels.

"And part of the humanising and the breaking through of these labels and these archetypes and these boxes that we’re put into is having some understanding on the human moments behind the scenes that people might not have any awareness of and to give each other a break.

"Because we did– we had to leave our baby."

Prince Harry and Meghan are due to visit the UK next month but it's not yet known whether son Archie, three, and daughter Lilibet, one, will come with them.

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)