Carey told the former Suits actress: “You give us diva moments sometimes, Meghan. Don’t even act like…” with an aghast duchess responding and laughing in surprise: “What kind of diva moments do I give you?”
In a voiceover at the end of the second Archetypes episode, released by Spotify on Tuesday, Meghan said the remark left her worried about the “nonsense” Carey might have read about her.
“It was all going swimmingly, I mean really well, until that moment happened, which I don’t know about you but it stopped me in my tracks when she called me a diva,” she said.
Meghan added: “You couldn’t see me, obviously, but I started to sweat a little bit. I started squirming in my chair in this quiet revolt. Like wait. What? No. What? How could you? That’s not true. Why would you say that?
“My mind genuinely was just spinning with what nonsense she must have read or clicked on to make her say that.”
The duchess said Carey was quick to reassure her and that she meant the label as “chic” and “aspirational”.
Meghan said: “She must have felt my nervous laughter and you all would have heard it too and she jumped right in to make sure I was crystal clear.
“When she said diva, she was talking about the way that I dress, the posture of a clothing, a quote unquote fabulousness as she sees it.
“She meant diva as a compliment. I heard it as a dig. Heard it as the word diva as I think of it, but in that moment, as she explained to me, she meant it as chic, as aspirational.”
In the exchange, the pair discussed the concept of a diva, with Meghan saying: “That’s really important for people to remember that there might be this persona, this diva thing we can play into. It’s not something I connect to but for you, it’s been a huge part.”
Carey replies: “You give us diva moments sometimes, Meghan. Don’t even act like…”
Meghan responds with: “What kind of diva moments do I give you?”
Carey laughs, adding: “Don’t act like you… it’s also the visual.”
Meghan replies: “Oh, it’s the look.”
During the 46-minute episode, Meghan said she only began to understand what it is to be treated like a black woman when she started dating the Duke of Sussex.
She says: “I mean, if there’s any time in my life that it’s been more focused on my race, it’s only once I started dating my husband.
“Then I started to understand what it was like to be treated like a black woman, because up until then I had been treated like a mixed woman, and things really shifted.”
The podcast release comes a day after the duchess gave a controversial interview to The Cut in which she said she had made an “active effort” to forgive the royal family, warning “especially knowing that I can say anything”.
She also said she was told there was the same jubilation in South Africa when she married Harry as there was when Nelson Mandela was freed from prison.
Titled The Duality Of Diva With Mariah Carey, the episode explores the “complexities surrounding the ‘diva’” and the negative connotations associated with the word.
Meghan, who quit the working monarchy in 2020, said: “It’s interesting, isn’t it? This idea of power, of a person acquiring power and then needing to be taken down, and how that corresponds to the usage of the word.”
The duchess, in a voiceover, mentions the outlandish diva demands associated with Carey – including reported requests for 20 white kittens and 100 white doves when she turned on the Christmas lights in London – but Meghan does not appear to have questioned the singer on them.
Meghan laughs and says: “Maybe you read about the time that she supposedly requested 20 white kittens and 100 doves in London? I don’t know.”
In the podcast, Carey tells Meghan about her childhood, saying: “I didn’t fit in, it would be more of the black area of town, or then you could be where my mom chose to live, where the more white neighbourhoods (were) and I didn’t fit in anywhere at all.”
Meghan replies: “Yeah. I understand that.”
The duchess adds: “This is part of why when I was putting this conversation together I had to talk to you. Of course I had to talk to you. You were so formative for me. Representation matters so much.”
At one stage, Meghan describes Carey’s Honey music video from 1997 at length, saying it was “Oh, so good” and talks about her “sleek black bodysuit” and “her curls moving in the wind as she’s frolicking with this mystery man and of course, a cute dog”.
The duchess, recalling how she wore platform shoes and butterfly clips in the late 1990s, said she remembered the song Barbie Girl had just been released, and the Spice Girls were the “biggest pop group in the world”.
“Platform shoes are in – I had some of those – and butterfly clips are in, I had even more of those,” she adds.
Meghan’s guest on next week’s episode is actress Mindy Kaling.