Royal Worker Sets The Record Straight About Meghan Markle's Hotly Debated Fire Story

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, is speaking her truth — to the delight of some and the dismay of others. Her "Archetypes" podcast encourages listeners to share their own accounts of times when they were pigeonholed as a certain type. In the very first episode of "Archetypes," Markle spoke about an incident in which she and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, were on a tour of South Africa and took their baby son, Archie, along. 

After they'd finished speaking at an engagement, they learned that a small heater fire had broken out in the nursery of the residence in which they were staying. Per People, the nanny had taken Archie out of the room just moments before, but the incident left Markle distraught — and even more so when she found out that she and Harry were still expected to "leave our baby" once again to dash off to another appointment.

Some royals experts were less than moved by Markle's accusation that she had to put her official duties ahead of motherhood. The Daily Mail quoted a source who said that while the incident was "undoubtedly scary ... there was surely no alternative but to continue with the itinerary of their tour. It would have been so disappointing to so many if they had not." Other sources had a different recollection of the fire altogether, saying there had only been a bit of smoke. However, one royal worker has set the record straight. 

A source accused the palace of keeping the fire a secret

A palace source spoke to the South African paper The Citizen about the disputed fire incident. The unnamed source, who was part of the Sussexes' entourage and was in their car convoy at the time, recalls that Meghan Markle "bolted into the house" when she heard the news. The witness added, "When we got to the house, the housekeeper called me and showed me the heater that was burnt and told me what had 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." 

"The plastic was severely melted" on the heater, the source continued, indicating that the appliance did indeed catch fire. But, they said, the British police detail protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex advised against making the incident public. "We decided we are not going to expose this thing," said the insider. "That's why we kept quiet about it back then because we knew we were going to get backlash."

Some South African citizens were quick to bash the Duchess for her claim that she was forced to put her official duties ahead of her child. Per Geo TV, the Dutch epithet "Voetsek Meghan" (Go away, Meghan), became a trending hashtag after her podcast. The Citizen source may help quell that outrage — or perhaps we'll hear more about "Heater Gate" when Meghan returns to social media in the near future.