8:36 AM PDT, June 20, 2021
Now a children’s book that sits at No. 1 on The New York Times’ best-seller list, the message behind The Bench originated as a special gift and a poem written for her husband for his first Father’s Day, Meghan Markle shared in a new interview.
During an interview with NPR Weekend Edition that aired Sunday, the Duchess of Sussex explained she wanted to get something sentimental for her husband, Prince Harry, to mark Father’s Day 2019, which was celebrated weeks after the couple had their first child, their son Archie.
“As most of us do, you go, what am I going to get them as a gift?” Meghan, 39, 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.”
She got him a bench, which includes on its back a plaque with a poem Meghan wrote for him. “This is your bench,” the poem reads. “Where life will begin/For you and our son/ Our baby, our kin.”
And from that, the inspiration for “The Bench” was found.
Calling the book, a “love story,” Meghan said this past year made it all the more apparent that much of life “happens in the quiet.”
“It was definitely moments like that, watching them from out of the window and watching [Harry] 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,” she said.
“It’s really just about growing with someone and having this deep connection and this trust so that, be at good times or bad, you know that you had this person,” she said.
Ensuring the book was inclusive was important to Meghan, who said she knew as a child what it felt like to not see herself represented in what she consumed.
“Any child or any family hopefully can open this book and see themselves in it, whether that means glasses or freckled or a different body shape or a different ethnicity or religion,” she said.
“The Bench” was released on June 8 in partnership with Random House Children’s Books in the U.S., Tundra Books in Canada and Puffin in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa. It quickly shot to the No. 1 spot on The New York Times’ bestseller list for children’s picture books.
“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. 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. Thank you for supporting me in this special project,” Meghan said in a statement released after the book hit the top spot.