Harry and Meghan ditched by Spotify after just one series of Archetypes podcast

Meghan’s podcast about gender inequality ran for 12 episodes from August 2022

Ellie Muir,Andy Gregory
Friday 16 June 2023 12:22 BST
Meghan Markle releases teaser for new podcast Archetypes

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex‘s deal with Spotify has been ditched after just one series of Meghan Markle’s podcast, in an apparent blow to the royals’ hopes of launching careers in the United States.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle signed a lucrative deal with the streaming giant in late 2020 to host and produce podcasts, estimated to be worth around £18m, just months after “stepping back” as senior royals and relocating from the UK to California.

Meghan’s podcast Archetypes ran for 12 episodes from August 2022. But despite winning the top podcast gong at People's Choice Award in Los Angeles just six months ago, it has not been renewed for a second series.

Insiders were cited by the Wall Street Journal as claiming that the couple did not meet the productivity benchmark required to receive the full payout agreed in their 2020 deal.

It comes after reports claimed the Sussexes planned to “stop” making tell-all Netflix documentaries, publishing memoirs and taking part in interviews discussing the royal family because there is “nothing left to say”, as the couple seeks to replace their “era of visibility” with a “year of reconciliation”.

The end of the couple’s partnership was confirmed in a statement from Archewell Audio, the Sussexes’ content creation label, and Spotify.

It read: “Spotify and Archewell Audio have mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series we made together.” The Independent has contacted representatives of the Sussexes for comment.

The podcast saw Meghan speak to celebrities, historians and experts about the history of stereotypes levelled against women. Tennis star Serena Williams, singer Mariah Carey, Paris Hilton, and actors Mindy Kaling and Constance Wu were among the guests who appeared during its first season.

The duke and duchess signed a deal worth an estimated £18m with Spotify in late 2020 (AFP via Getty Images)

The podcast’s premiere saw Meghan reveal to tennis star Serena Williams that her then four-month-old son Archie’s room had caught fire during a royal engagement in South Africa, and discuss having never felt “the negative connotation behind the word ‘ambitious’ until I started dating” Harry.

In the next episode, singer Mariah Carey claimed the duchess “gives us diva moments sometimes” – a remark Meghan said “stopped me in my tracks”, before later reflecting that “she meant diva as a compliment, but I heard it as a dig”.

As Archetypes took home the top prize in LA last year, Meghan wrote on the couple’s Archewell website: “I loved digging my hands into the process, sitting up late at night in bed, working on the writing and creative.

“And I loved digging deep into meaningful conversation with my diverse and inspiring guests, laughing and learning with them.

Harry and Meghan decided to step back from royal duties in 2020 and move to California. It was not long before they started taking part in tell-all interviews and planning to make their first Netflix documentary.

Following their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey back in 2021, the couple went on to release a six-part Netflix docuseries titled Harry & Meghan in January 2023. In the same month, Prince Harry released his revealing, controversial memoir Spare and pursued a press tour giving a series of exclusive interviews to major broadcasters in the UK and US.

“That period of their life is over as there is nothing left to say,” one source told The Sun earlier this month adding that the Netflix and memoir period was the couple’s “era of visibility” and that they “hoped” 2023 would be their “year of reconciliation” with the royal family.

Meghan Markle reveals Archie’s bedroom caught fire during royal tour with Prince Harry

The abrupt end to their Spotify deal comes as Harry faces legal battles on both sides of the Atlantic, with revelations of drug-taking in his memoir Spare sparking a fight between the US government and a conservative group seeking to reveal whether or not he disclosed this past behaviour on his visa application.

That battle had its first hearing on the same day as the duke became the first royal to be cross-examined in a British court since Queen Victoria’s eldest son testified over claims he cheated in a card game in 1891.

Appearing at the High Court last week, the duke underwent nearly eight hours in the witness box as he accused Mirror Group Newspapers of using phone hacking and other unlawful information-gathering tactics to inform a total of 147 articles about him.

While the royal said he would feel “injustice” were he not successful in his claim, the publisher’s lawyer accused him of failing to provide any evidence of being hacked, with no mobile data showing calls to his phone by Mirror Group journalists.

The duke arrived late to the trial after attending his daughter Lilibet’s second birthday, and is thought not to have seen his brother Prince William or father King Charles before leaving again shortly afterwards.

He is reported to have stayed at Frogmore Cottage for what may have been the last time after the couple were asked by the King to vacate their former home just weeks after Spare’s publication.

Additional reporting by PA

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