Meghan tells 'America's Got Talent' finalist Archie: 'We're rooting for you'

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3-min read

Watch: Meghan makes surprise appearance on America's Got Talent

Meghan Markle has revealed a supportive message she’ll be sharing with her son, Archie, as she offered her backing to an America’s Got Talent contestant with the same name.

Meghan sent a video message to encourage talent show finalist Archie Williams, whose story has touched the hearts of fans of the show.

Williams was wrongfully imprisoned for 36 years. He was finally freed when DNA evidence was able to prove he was not the perpetrator of the violent crime for which he had been convicted.

The royal revealed she and Prince Harry were moved by Williams’ story and added that they were not just biased because their one-year-old son is also called Archie.

She said: “I just wanted to let you know that we've been so moved by your story, and we have 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 will probably be saying all of my life, but on this night it is specifically for you: Archie, we are proud of you, and we are rooting for you, and we can't wait to see what you do. We're in your corner.”

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Williams was jailed in 1982 after he was convicted of raping and stabbing a woman in her home in Louisiana. He was eventually freed after new DNA evidence found the person who committed the crime.

He was supported by the Innocence Project, a US organisation which works to exonerate people jailed wrongfully through DNA testing.

The Innocence Project explained: “Williams spent 36 years in Louisiana’s Angola prison for a crime he did not commit before he was exonerated last year.

“At just 22 years old, he was wrongly convicted based on flawed evidence and received a mandatory sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole. After almost four decades of pursuing justice, it took analysts mere hours to run fingerprints collected at the crime scene through a national database and find a match to the actual perpetrator of the crime.”

Williams’ appearance on AGT also inspired Simon Cowell to become an ambassador for the Innocence Project.

Cowell said: “Archie’s performance is probably the single most important one in the history of America’s Got Talent. What happened to Archie is tragic.

“While Archie’s voice is extraordinary, unfortunately his experience of being sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit is much more common than most people realise. There are thousands of innocent people in jails and prisons.

“I’m honoured to become an ambassador for the Innocence Project and want to do what I can to help more people like Archie.”

AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- "Semi-Finals" Episode 1519 -- Pictured: Archie Williams -- (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Archie Williams turned to singing and praying while wrongfully imprisoned. (NBCU Photo Bank)

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Singing got Williams through his time in prison. He said: “When I was faced with dark times I would pray and sing. This is how I got peace.”

The message from Meghan is the second video message from the royal this week, as she and Harry also appeared on screens on Tuesday 22 September as part of a Time 100 event.

The couple encouraged Americans to register to vote in the November presidential election, with Meghan dubbing it the most important in a lifetime.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the remarks made by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, because they are no longer working royals.