Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, has revealed the touching story behind her new children’s book, “The Bench,” just in time to celebrate Father’s Day.
Before giving birth to her second child, Lilibet Diana, earlier this month, the former Meghan Markle discussed the inspiration behind the children’s book with NPR Weekend Edition. (The discussion marked the first interview for the duchess since her explosive tell-all with Oprah Winfrey in March.)
It all started two years ago on Father’s Day with a gift to her husband, Prince Harry, one month after the birth of their first child, Archie. "As most of us do, you go, what am I going to get them as a gift?” she said. “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.”
Written on a plaque on the back of the bench, Meghan penned a poem about their future as a family and all of the moments they would be able to share together on the bench itself.
The poem read, "This is your bench/Where life will begin/For you and our son/Our baby, our kin."
The duchess was inspired by watching her husband's relationship with their son through her own eyes, marveling at their budding father-son relationship.
"I often find, and especially in this past year, I think so many of us realized how much happens in the quiet," she said. "It was definitely moments like that, watching them from out of the window and watching (my husband) just, you know, rock him to sleep or carry him or, you know ... those lived experiences, from my observation, are the things that I infused in this poem."
“The Bench,” which was officially released on June 8, showcases the bond between fathers and sons from the point of view of a mother, according to a release by publisher Random House Children's Books. It includes a series of vignettes that perfectly capture the unique bonding experiences between a father and a son. The book was authored by Meghan with illustrations done by artist Christian Robinson.
“Christian layered in beautiful and ethereal watercolor illustrations that capture the warmth, joy, and comfort of the relationship between fathers and sons from all walks of life; this representation was particularly important to me, and Christian and I worked closely to depict this special bond through an inclusive lens,” the duchess said when the book was first announced. "My hope is that 'The Bench' resonates with every family, no matter the makeup, as much as it does with mine."
The duchess also included a touching dedication to the two people in her life who inspired the book.
"For the man and the boy who make my heart go pump-pump," the dedication to Harry and Archie read.
In a statement on the Archewell website, Meghan took a moment to thank readers for their support for her newest project.
“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,” she said. “In many ways, pursuing a more compassionate and equitable world begins with these core values. 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.”
After just a week, "The Bench" is No.1 on the New York Times Bestseller list for children’s picture books.