Meghan Markle has many claims to fame, including Suits star, paparazzi victim, the Duchess of Sussex, wife, and mother. But recently, the mom of two added children’s book author to her long list of credits — and her own son is among her book’s biggest fans, perhaps influenced by the fact that he is in it!
“He has a voracious appetite for books. And, constantly, when we read him a book, he goes again, again, again,” Markle told NPR Weekend Edition about 2-year-old son Archie. “But now the fact that he loves The Bench, and we can say, ‘Mommy wrote this for you,’ feels amazing.”
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“As most of us do, you go, what am I going to get them as a gift?” Markle told NPR. “And I thought I just wanted something sentimental and a place for him to have as a bit of a home base with our son.”
That personal gift is now a touching story that other families can relate to as well.
“In this story I’m observing this love between my husband and our son and imagining what it will be as they have more shared moments as our son gets older,” Markle said. “So from scraping a knee to having a heart broken, whatever it is, that they always rest at this bench and have this moment to bond.”
Illustrated by Caldecott Honor recipient Christian Robinson, The Bench captures the evolving and expanding relationship between father and son and showcases a diverse group of fathers and sons, including a pair representing Harry and Archie. There’s also an illustration of a woman in a sun hat in a garden carrying an infant in a sling to represent Markle with daughter Lilibet Diana, born June 4.
“Kids, they just pick up on everything and that was one of the pieces that I think was important for me,” Markle told NPR about all the little details in the book. “I knew our son would notice all those elements. And he loves it. Archie loves the book.”
Markle hopes other readers of The Bench will enjoy searching for all the little Easter eggs and nuggets hidden throughout the book as much as Archie does.
“If people start digging I think you can find sweet little moments that we’ve tucked in there,” she said. “From my favorite flower, even my husband’s mom’s favorite flower, forget-me-nots — we wanted to make sure those were included in there. There’s a lot of special detail and love that went into this book.”
Before you go, check out our gallery of amazing children’s books by Black authors and illustrators.