The Duchess of Sussex made a special appearance on America’s Got Talent yesterday, in support of contestant Archie Williams. Meghan Markle, whose one year old son with Prince Harry is also called Archie, cheered him on in a video message for the show’s finale - saying that she and the rest of the family were “in your corner.”
Williams’ life story reduced members of the judging panel including Heidi Klum to tears when he auditioned for the show with the Elton John hit Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me. He revealed in his audition that he had been wrongly convicted of aggravated rape and attempted murder at the age of 22 years old.
Williams, who is now 59 years old, spent over 36 years in prison before he was exonerated when fingerprints at the crime scene were matched to a serial rapist.
Meghan, who was introduced by host Terry Crews, said to Williams, “Just wanted to let you know that we've been so moved by your story and we've been cheering you on every week and it's not just because we're partial to the name.”
“So, a very special message to you that I'll probably be saying all of my life, but on this night it's specifically for you: Archie, we are proud of you and are rooting for you, we can't wait to see what you do. We're in your corner, have a good night," she continued.
Williams appeared emotional after the message as he held up his hand and said, “Thank you.”
Williams spent years in a maximum security prison for someone else’s crime and began working with The Innocence Project 12 years into his sentence. After a further 24 years, Williams was exonerated and released in March 2019.
Calling the experience a “nightmare” during his audition, he said, “I knew I was innocent, I didn’t commit a crime. But being a poor Black kid, I didn’t have the economic ability to fight the state of Louisiana.”
Singing was one of the few things that kept him going, he explained to Crews. He said, “Freedom is of the mind. I went to prison, but I never let my mind go to prison. When you’re faced with dark times, what I would do was pray and sing. This is how I got peace.”
Meghan’s message to Williams follows a video that she and her husband Prince Harry filmed for Time 100. In it, Meghan urged Americans to vote in the “most important election of our lifetime” as Prince Harry encouraged others to “reject hate speech.”
A spokesperson for the pair said to the BBC that their comments were not aimed at any politician, but were a “call for decency." President Donald Trump has since said he is "not a fan" of Meghan and wished Prince Harry "la lot of luck."
Members of the Royal Family are typically expected to not involve themselves in political affairs. Prince Harry and Meghan stepped down as senior royals in March this year.