The Duke and Duchess of Sussex released their eagerly anticipated holiday special on Tuesday, nearly two weeks after Spotify announced its multiyear partnership with the couple’s new Archewell Audio production company.
The podcast episode features a star-studded lineup of inspirational figures and Sussex friends, all reflecting on their 2020 experiences through audio diaries.
The couple’s son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, even makes a surprise appearance and says a few words into the microphone. It’s the first time royal fans have ever heard the one-and-a-half year old publicly speak.
“We’re glad you’re here. As we all know, it’s been a year,” Harry says in the beginning of the episode. “And we really want to honour the compassion and kindness that has helped so many people get through it.”
“And, at the same time, to honour those who have experienced uncertainty and unthinkable loss,” Meghan adds. “Our thoughts have been with you, especially during this holiday season.”
For the special holiday episode, the duke explained that the couple asked some of their friends ― and people they admire ― to document their thoughts on what they’ve learned this year and what they’re hopeful for going into 2021.
“We were curious to hear what they’d reflect on when they had a moment to themselves … without navigating the sometimes awkward dance of a video chat,” Harry said. “Meaning, no one having to say ‘you’re on mute’ over and over again — which is probably one of the defining phrases of 2020.”
Special guests include climate and food activist Christina Adane, tennis pro Naomi Osaka, professor and podcast host Brené Brown, Loveland Foundation founder Rachel Cargle, Deepak Chopra, novelist Matt Haig, poet and mental health campaigner Hussain Manawer, George the Poet, and actor and director Tyler Perry.
Stacey Abrams, who Meghan mentioned speaking to over the summer, stops by to chat, along with José Andrés, whose World Central Kitchen recently partnered with the couple’s Archewell Foundation. Sir Elton John and James Corden, longtime friends of the couple, also pop by.
At the end of the episode, the couple introduces a very special guest ― Archie.
“You can speak into it,” the duke says, directing Archie to the microphone.
“Archie, is it fun?” the duchess says, as Archie repeats after her and says, “Fun.”
“After me,” the duke says, “Ready? Happy ...”
“Happy ...” Archie repeats.
“New ... ” the duke and duchess say.
“New ... Year,” Archie finishes, all by himself.
“YAY!” Meghan and Harry exclaim, before the duke signs off with a trademark “BOOM” and laughs, while Archie lets out a little giggle.
Spotify previously revealed a snippet of Harry and Meghan (and their podcast voices!) introducing themselves earlier this month, when their new venture and deal was announced.
“Should we, should we start? Hmm? Ladies first,” the duke says to Meghan at the beginning of the clip. The duchess replies, “No, say it! ’Cause I think it sounds really nice with your accent.”
The duke and duchess released a statement about their choice to partner with Spotify in December on the heels of their megawatt deal with Netflix in September.
“What we love about podcasting is that it reminds all of us to take a moment and to really listen, to connect to one another without distraction,” they said in a joint statement shared with HuffPost at the time.
“With the challenges of 2020, there has never been a more important time to do so, because when we hear each other, and hear each other’s stories, we are reminded of how interconnected we all are,” the two added.
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