Meghan Markle Says Her Ambition Was Seen as “a Terrible Thing” While Dating Prince Harry
Meghan Markle’s Spotify podcast series has finally arrived. For the first episode of “Archetypes,” the Duchess of Sussex interviews now-retired tennis icon and close friend Serena Williams about ambition, a quality both women are replete with. Markle begins by sharing how, after viewing the future as “limitless” for most of her life, she learned in her 30s that some perceive ambition as a bad thing. That realisation coincided with when she first became romantically involved with now-husband Prince Harry back in 2016.
“I don’t ever remember personally feeling the negative connotation behind the word ambitious until I started dating my now husband,” she says. “Apparently ambition is a terrible, terrible thing – for a woman, that is – according to some. Since I’ve felt the negativity behind it, it’s really hard to unfeel it. I can’t unsee it either, in the millions of girls and women who make themselves smaller – so much smaller – on a regular basis.” Williams agrees with the sentiment, adding, “Often women are definitely put in these different boxes when we are ambitious or when we do have goals or when we reach our goals, it’s a negative connotation on how we reach the goals.”
“The double standard between how men and women are treated after having kids is so, so real.”
Markle then touches on how ambitious men are seen in a positive light compared to ambitious women – an unfair dichotomy that’s even more heightened when children are in the picture. Markle says she experienced this firsthand after she and Harry welcomed their two kids, Archie and Lilibet. “The double standard between how men and women are treated after having kids is so, so real. I’ve felt it,” she explains.
After delving into balancing their careers with motherhood and Williams’s recent decision to retire from professional tennis, Markle concludes the episode by reiterating the “many judgments” women receive for being driven to dream big and achieve their goals. “[There’s] the misconception that if you’re an ambitious woman, you have an agenda, you must be calculating or selfish or aggressive, or a climber, and that if you’re that fierce or strong or brave, then you somehow deserve whatever gets thrown at you.” These labels couldn’t be farther from reality, and Markle hopes listeners can leave those outdated misconceptions in the past.
“Archetypes” will explore the many stereotypes women are burdened with in pop culture – from “diva” and “crazy” to “b*tch” and “slut” – featuring interviews with celebrities and historians. In an audio teaser released by Spotify, Markle explains, “This is ‘Archetypes,’ the podcast where we dissect, explore, and subvert the labels that try to hold women back.” Upcoming guests include Mariah Carey, Mindy Kaling, and Ziwe.
Prince Harry and Markle opted to step back from their Royal duties in 2020 and subsequently moved to Los Angeles. In a 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, the couple opened up about what led to that decision, claiming lack of support from the Palace and Markle’s struggle with her mental health.