Meghan Markle reveals how her children’s book, The Bench, explores ‘another side of masculinity’ as she gives thanks for its bestseller status

Meghan Markle’s book was inspired by Prince Harry and Archie

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex visits ActionAid during the royal tour of South Africa on October 01, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa
(Image credit: Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty)

Meghan Markle has spoken out during her parental leave following the birth of baby Lilibet to thank fans for their support as her first children’s book, The Bench, becomes a New York Times bestseller.  

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, may be on parental leave after the birth of her and Prince Harry’s baby daughter, Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana, but she's now shared a heartfelt message as she celebrates a huge achievement. Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle “stepped back” as senior members of the Royal Family last year, the couple have gone on to announce a number of new ventures. But it was the news that Meghan would be releasing her first children’s book that caught fans’ attention last month. 

The Duchess of Sussex’s debut children's book, The Bench, is a beautifully illustrated story that started out as a Father’s Day poem for Prince Harry. Drawing on her love for her husband and their son Archie and her insight into their close bond, Meghan expanded the poem into a children's book. The Bench was published on 8th June— and it’s already made quite an impression! 

While Meghan Markle’s The Bench received a disappointing blow after a critic dismissed it as a “self-help” manual, this hasn’t stopped fans from delving into this wonderful tale.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and their baby son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe

(Image credit: Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty)

So much so, that The Bench has now risen to become #1 on The New York Times Bestseller list for children’s picture books just a week after its release. In celebration of The Bench's success, Meghan Markle has spoken out during her parental leave in the form of a heartfelt message on the Sussexes’ Archewell website. 

The post, which proudly reveals The Bench’s bestseller status, goes on to share Meghan’s message, as she revealed the different side of masculinity the book depicts.

“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", Meghan declared.  

“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.”

This powerful message was attributed to Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, on the Archewell website. 

A illustration of a father and son are seen inside a copy of Meghan Markle's book "The Bench" on a display in Europe's largest bookstore Waterstones Piccadilly, on June 08, 2021 in London, England

(Image credit: Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Since The Bench was released, Meghan Markle has formed a new plan to promote wellbeing for families in the US. According to the Archewell site, she will distribute 2,000 copies to libraries, schools and organizations across the country. The story features a diverse group of fathers and sons, capturing precious shared experiences and moments of love between them, as seen through the eyes of a mother.

Now a proud mom-of-two, Meghan Markle was inspired by Prince Harry and Archie’s relationship to write The Bench with its refreshing depiction of “masculinity” and will likely enjoy sharing this story with them and Lilibet, when she is older.

Emma Shacklock
Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with five years experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, GoodToKnow and My Imperfect Life.

Before she joined Future Publishing, Emma graduated from the University of Warwick with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies. After leaving education, she started out her publishing career in the world of books, working as a Publisher for an independent digital publisher specializing in back-list and debut commercial fiction novels. With a huge book list and a passion for bringing the best stories to the broadest audience possible, Emma filled her spare time with reading the latest best-sellers and catching up on hit adaptations.

In 2017 she joined TI Media as a fiction writing coordinator on Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Weekly Fiction as part of the features team. From here, she used her love of books, working to bring short stories to our dedicated readers and began writing for the books pages of Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman&Home, as well as online features ranging from genre round-ups to travel pieces for 

After honing her skills, Emma branched out online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first. When she’s not writing about the next big lifestyle trend, she enjoys cooking, long walks and watching as many crime dramas as she can!