Meghan, Duchess of Sussex has interrupted her maternity leave absence to thank fans for the success of her new children’s book, The Bench. Markle and her husband Prince Harry have taken some time off work to look after their newborn baby girl Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, but recently announced that the book, based on a poem that Markle wrote for Prince Harry as a Father’s Day gift, made it to the New York Times bestsellers chart.
A new post on the Archewell website reads: “Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex’s debut children’s book, The Bench, is #1 on The New York Times Bestseller list for children’s picture books after being released just last week. Congratulations to everyone involved in the project.”
Following this message, the Duchess penned a grateful statement that says, “While this poem began as a love letter to my husband and son, I’m encouraged to see that its universal themes of love, representation and inclusivity are resonating with communities everywhere,” adding that these core values help create a more compassionate and equitable world. “Equally, to depict another side of masculinity — one grounded in connection, emotion, and softness — is to model a world that so many would like to see for their sons and daughters alike. Thank you for supporting me in this special project,” the Duchess states.
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The book, for which Meghan sought inspiration from the father-son bond that the Duke of Sussex shares with their firstborn two-year-old Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, features many heartwarming references through the mother’s eye and has been described as “a perfect bedtime read” by critics. The 39-year-old Duchess had also sent out copies of her book to friends and family ahead of its publication.
The Bench’s last illustration shows a red-haired man helping a young boy feed chickens while a dark-haired woman cradles a baby in a garden, which seems to closely reflect the Sussex family’s appearance and lifestyle, as revealed in Meghan and Harry’s admitted love for their chickens in a historic episode of Oprah’s mental health series. It also looks like a reference to Lilibet, according to some readers.
Apart from the chickens, the illustration by American artist Christian Robinson also highlights two dogs that resemble the royal couple’s pets: Pula, a black Labrador and Guy, a beagle.