Serena Williams Consulted Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Before Deciding to Retire from Tennis

She’ll begin play at the 2022 U.S. Open tomorrow—likely her final tournament of her legendary professional career.

Serena Williams
(Image credit: Getty Images)

One of the many nuggets we learned from the debut episode of Meghan Markle’s new Spotify podcast “Archetypes”? That one of her closest friends, tennis legend Serena Williams, actually consulted the Duke and Duchess of Sussex before deciding to retire from the sport this year.

Williams announced her decision to retire from professional tennis earlier this month, but, before doing so, the 23-time Grand Slam champion spoke with Harry at length about it, per Insider.

“You knew about it for a long time, and I talked with Harry about it a lot as well,” Williams said on “Archetypes.”

“I remember that day you were here at the house,” Markle said. “And I was like, ‘What are you two just chatting about?’ It must’ve been a solid, like, an hour.”

As Insider puts it, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex “of course, are intimately familiar with the challenges of walking away from a role that has defined them.” The couple stepped back as working members of the royal family in January 2020. Williams said Harry “was trying to knock some sense into me” during their conversation.

“The three of us really know that sometimes the right decision isn’t the easiest decision,” Markle said. “It’s the hard decision. And it takes a lot of thought and a lot of counsel and a lot of support to just go ‘uh, uh, uh’ and then just make the choice.”

Williams—who noted her decision was even more difficult because “my whole life has been one thing”—said “the worst place to be is on the fence, as you know. So, it’s like, make a decision: either be in it or be out of it. And I was on the fence for a while because I love what I do.”

Williams, who thanked Markle for being her sounding board, sent the Sussexes a sneak peek of the Vogue article that ultimately announced her decision to retire. “I wanted you to understand what it meant to have your support and for H’s support—for everything,” Williams said.

Williams will begin what is likely her final tournament of her professional career tomorrow, as she plays in the opening round of the 2022 U.S. Open in New York City.

“I’ve been doing this my entire existence,” Williams said on “Archetypes.” “Even before I was born, it was what I was meant to do and what I was supposed to do and what was chosen for me.”

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.