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When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry first stepped down as senior members of the royal family, it quickly became clear that they planned to support themselves and further their humanitarian endeavors by launching a media empire.

The couple signed lucrative deals with Netflix and Spotify, and fans expressed excitement over what they believed would be a deluge of Sussex-related content.

But as years passed with no updates on these projects, there were rumors that Harry and Meghan had over-promised and under-delivered with regard to their media endeavors.

So it was with great excitement and a bit of relief that fans tuned into the first episode of Meghan’s “Archetypes” podcast on Monday.

Meghan Markle launched the debut episode of her Spotify podcast today, And she shared a shocking story about son Archie. (Photo via Instagram)

Titled “The Misconceptions of Ambition,” the 57-minute episode saw Meghan interviewing a close friend of hers — recently retired tennis legend Serena Williams.

But just as importantly, it offered listeners in opportunity to get to know the Duchess without any of the usual media filters.

Sure, you might think you know everything there is to know about the actress-turned-royal-turned-podcast-host.

Meghan’s guest on her first Spotify podcast was none other than Serena Williams! (Photo via Instagram)

But for the most part, our knowledge of Meghan has come from secondhand accounts that are then filtered through media outlets, many of which have some sort of illicit agenda.

Even Meghan’s famously Oprah interview was heavily edited for time and content, as network execs focused on the juiciest tidbits in order to maximize ratings.

Now, for the first time, we’re getting Meghan’s version of Meghan, via a platform that’s entirely created and controlled by the Duchess herself.

Meghan in the studio. (Video via YouTube)

“People should expect the real me in this, and probably the me that they’ve never gotten to know — certainly not in the past few years, where everything is through the lens of the media as opposed to, ‘Hey, it’s me,'” Meghan told viewers.

“I’m just excited to be myself and talk and be unfiltered and…yeah, it’s fun.”

Promoting the episode on Instagram, Serena seemed equally enthusiastic.

Meghan Markle released the first episode of her Archetypes podcast on Monday. And the response from fans was ecstatic. (Photo via Spotify)

“I loved talking about so many important topics with my dear friend Meghan as her first guest on #archetypes for @spotify!” Serena wrote.

“It’s out now and worth the listen, especially if you’re ambitious.”

And indeed, ambition was at the forefront of Meghan and Serena’s minds as they discussed the challenges faced by women who strive for greatness.

Meghan at the Invictus Games
Meghan Markle has long been a target of harsh criticism from the British media. (Photo via Getty)

“I don’t remember ever personally feeling the negative connotation behind the word ‘ambitious’ until I started dating my now-husband,” Meghan revealed.

“Apparently ambition is a terrible, terrible thing, for a woman that is — according to some,” the Duchess continued.

“So, since I’ve felt the negativity behind it, it’s really hard to un-feel 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.”

Meghan Markle with a Very Large Hat
Meghan Markle is wearing quite a hat in this photo. (Photo via Getty)

For the most part, Meghan and Serena focused on the obstacles that they’ve overcome in the professional arena, so the episode was lighter on tabloid-ready drama than some fans might have preferred.

But in one shocking segment, Meghan revealed that her son, Archie, was involved in a house fire when he was just four months old.

She added that she and Harry were expected to continue with their royal tour of South Africa in spite of the near-tragedy.

“We had to leave him and go do another official engagement,” Meghan recalled.

A Royal Family Photo
Best family photo ever? Just look at Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and son Archie in this snapshot. (Photo via Instagram)

“I couldn’t have done that. I would have said, ‘Uh-uh,'” said Serena.

Clearly, Meghan wishes she had done exactly that.

But in the end, she triumphed over her in-laws, and she’s now living life entirely on her terms.

Meghan Markle: A Photograph
Meghan Markle looks on lovingly here, staring at her very hot husband, Prince Harry. (Photo via Instagram)

Of course, haters are gonna hate, and across the British media landscape pundits were quick to bash Meghan’s first foray into podcasting.

Writing for the Telegraph, Celia Walden said the episode was “an interview with this inspirational sporting figure in name only,” adding that Meghan was really “interviewing herself.”

Walden added that Meghan is the sort of host “who hijacks every distressing anecdote with one of their own – only theirs is longer drawn-out, more distressing.”

Meghan Markle Can Prove EVERYTHING She Said About Royal Family Racism
The first episode of Meghan’s podcast was not a hit with everyone. (Photo via CBS)

James Marriott of the London Times was similarly brutal in his appraisal, describing the episode as a “tastefully soundtracked parade of banalities, absurdities and self-aggrandizing Californian platitudes.”

Blasting the episode as “almost entirely preposterous,” Marriott cautioned readers that the episode might make “make you feel you’ve been locked in the relaxation room of a wellness spa with an unusually self-involved yoga instructor.”

Hopefully Meghan won’t worry about trying to win over her harshest critics in her next episode — we’re guessing most made up their minds well before they pressed “play.”