10:24 AM PDT, June 23, 2021
Those who know Meghan Markle might well know that her new beloved children’s book, “The Bench,” which she gave Prince Harry for Father’s Day, isn’t exactly her debut in writing. In fact, the Duchess of Sussex penned another title years before ever meeting the royal family.
When Markle was a student in the eighth grade, while growing up in Los Angeles and attending the Immaculate Heart High School, when she published an illustrated book, “A Face Without Freckles … Is A Night Without Stars.”
The book is about a child who takes pride in her freckles even though “some people think freckles are strange,” a line in the book reads, and it was submitted for copyright in January 1996.
The long-lost text was rediscovered by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, who shared a few pages from the sweet book on her Twitter.
Her latest children’s book, “The Bench,” became a New York Times No. 1 best seller within a week of its release.
Markle explained on NPR that the book was an homage to a gift she got Prince Harry for his first Father’s Day, after the birth of Archie, now 2 years old. “As most of us do, you go, what am I going to get them as a gift? 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,” Markle said.
She had inscribed on the bench’s plaque a short poem: “This is your bench. Where life will begin. For you and our son. Our baby, our kin.”
This year, she had the poem turned into a published children’s book “The Bench,” released shortly after the birth of Liliibet earlier this month and just before Father’s Day this year, with drawings by bestselling illustrator Christian Robinson.
The picture book tells the tale of fathers and sons, and their shared moments while sitting on a bench.
“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,” Markle said in a statement on Archwell, the platform founded by her and Prince Harry. “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.”
She concluded, “Thank you for supporting me in this special project.”