Dear God, is this the level of wisdom the podcast shared? Mostly, no. Sir Elton John, who has been quarantining with his husband David and sons Zachary and Elijah, said that 2020 has been the “worst year I’ve ever known”. That’s something, from a man who once stuck his head in the oven in a bid to get out of an unwanted engagement in the 1970s. “You know I’m a recovering alcoholic, so I have an AA meeting from this house every Sunday,” said John, who added that Zoom meetings during the pandemic, with his friends “for about 30 years, in the programs” has “been a life saver”. Stacey Abrams, an African American “democracy advocate” who has long fought voter suppression in Atlanta, Georgia, said she “gave myself permission to watch all the television I wanted, to read when I should have been working, and to make mistakes. But most of all I gave myself permission to be sad, so I could find joy on the other side.”
So, no cheese, then? We didn’t say that. Meghan and Harry fawned over each other like a couple out of an Archie comic, with Meghan cooing little nuggets like, “So true”, after Harry says pretty much anything. I’m also not sure we needed producer Tyler Perry’s hope that 2021 is “the best year yet”.
What about when Meghan said that, “No matter what life throws at you guys, trust us when we say, love wins”? (Followed by Harry’s pronouncement: “Love always wins”?) Was that a dig at the royal family? They could have been alluding to Meghan’s long-time fight for racial equality, in a year marked by tragic and riotous racial unrest. (She also quotes Dr Martin Luther King: “Because as we all know, darkness can not drive out darkness, only light can do that.”) But this has been a doozy of a year for the couple, with the royal family and the greater Commonwealth sticking the boot in. The Queen stripped Harry of his military appointments, and some of Prince Charles’ aides have alleged that Meghan is a prima donna. Even the Canadians – notoriously polite people, many of them royalists – piled on, with 80,000 of them signing a petition against taxpayers footing the bill for the couple’s security detail, while the Sussexes lived in Canada, earlier this year, before they settled in California.
Does this explain why the Duke and Duchess cute-bombed us with Archie’s first public pronouncement? The jury’s out. But it gives you a toothache, it’s that sweet, especially after Harry prompts Archie to say the word “new”, and the 19-month-old can’t stop laughing, after pronouncing it “nee-eu”. Harry then descends into giggles so buoyant, they sound carbonated.
But, wait, doesn’t Harry blame the press for his mother’s death? He has. The couple also have numerous ongoing lawsuits against the media. But, Meghan wrote a much-lauded opinion piece in The New York Times, in November, in which she pleaded for people to take care of each other, and revealed she suffered a miscarriage in July. And a podcast is an opportunity for the couple to control their story.
Also, maybe it’s a chance to best the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in the social media-off that began with competing Instagram accounts, and has now moved into podcasting? The Duchess of Cambridge might have admitted that she felt anxiety, over how well she mothers her three kids, and that “anyone who doesn’t as a mother is actually lying”, in an interview on the podcast “Happy Mum, Happy Baby”, in February. But the Sussexes have James Corden dropping what might be the most inspiring guidance going into 2021, about how little it can take, to find joy. “I think what I’ve learned about myself is I really don’t have FOMO,” he said, from his spare bedroom in Los Angeles, before chuckling. “I’m very happy, staying in, I mean I could lose a day just staring at the corner of a rug. That’s what I’ve realised. And, I’ve been OK with that.”
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