There Was a Fire in Archie's Nursery in South Africa, Despite Reports to the Contrary: Source

Why is there so much to unpack here?

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor
(Image credit: Samir Hussein / WireImage for Getty Images)

On her Archetypes podcast premiere last week, Meghan Markle told the shocking story of a fire breaking out in baby Archie's nursery during the Sussexes' tour of South Africa.

Since then, although nobody has flat-out denied that this happened, some royal sources have been trying to downplay the incident.

In a column for Yahoo!, royal expert Omid Scobie wrote, "Two aides have already pushed back on Meghan's 'precise recollection' of events in South Africa—one told a tabloid that it was a smoking heater, not a fire (does it matter?) and another claimed it is 'unfair' to share such stories when the Royal Household cannot comment."

Now, though, one source close to the Sussexes who was present at the time has spoken out about the fire, and it does seem like it was all pretty serious, and definitely upsetting to a new parent.

"The heater burnt. The house didn’t burn, the rooms didn’t burn. I didn’t see the fire itself, but I saw the heater when it came out of the room. The plastic was severely melted," this source told South Africa's The Citizen.

"We were driving in convoy and all of a sudden, the convoy with Meghan broke-away. We followed after… We weren’t sure what was going on," the source continued.

"When we got to the house, the housekeeper called me and showed me the heater that was burnt and told me what had a happened and that the child was not in the room at the time the heater burnt, they smelt it, went up and saw the smoke"

As for how the Duchess of Sussex reacted, the source could tell how "shaken up" she was.

"When we stopped at the residence, I can tell you that she didn’t get out of the car like a lady that normally gets out. She bolted into the house," they explained.

The source also explained that the people who were present that day were advised by British police to keep the incident quiet, which they had done until the duchess herself told the story to her first podcast guest, Serena Williams.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.