Corrinne Averiss spoke out after online critics accused Meghan Markle of plagiarizing her work.
On Tuesday, Random House Children’s Book announced that the Duchess of Sussex was releasing her first children’s book titled “The Bench,” which is inspired by the relationship between her husband Prince Harry and their son Archie.
The book, which will be released on June 8, is illustrated by award-winning illustrator Christian Robinson. The former American actress, 39, will narrate the audiobook edition.
Meghan Markle’s first children’s book, ‘The Bench,’ will be released on June 8. (AP)
However, Averiss dismissed the allegations.
“Reading the description and published excerpt of the Duchess’s new book, this is not the same story or the same theme as The Boy on the Bench,” she tweeted. “I don’t see any similarities.”
One viewer previously tweeted, “Before you run out and waste money on the book by Harry’s wife, read ‘The Boy on the Bench’ by Corrinne Averiss and Gabriel Alborozo … The original.”
Others chimed in, insisting that the artwork in “The Bench” seemed similar to “The Boy on the Bench.”
Markle’s book grew out of a poem she wrote for Harry, 36, for their first Father’s Day after Archie’s birth, according to a statement announcing the release. It also features a diverse group of fathers and sons and the moments they share.
‘The Boy on the Bench’ was written by Corrinne Averiss and illustrated by Gabriel Alborozo. (Farshore )
“That poem became this story,” said Markle. “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 Boy on the Bench” is described as a story “about overcoming fears and being yourself.”
“The Bench,” available for pre-order, is now a best-seller.
The book is one of several projects that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have announced since stepping away from royal duties in early 2020. Markle previously narrated the Disney nature film “Elephant” and the couple has a Netflix deal. Their first project for the streaming service focuses on the Invictus Games, a competition for sick and injured military personnel and veterans that was championed by Harry.
Archie turns 2 on Thursday. Markle and Harry are expecting their second child, a girl, later this year.
Robinson wrote and illustrated “Another” and “You Matter,” and won Caldecott and Coretta Scott King honors for his art in “Last Stop on Market Street.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.