Meghan Markle’s children's book sends ‘coded message’ to the Queen, says royal expert

Meghan Markle's children's book includes a subtle message about Prince Harry, reveals royal expert

Meghan Markle's children's book includes a subtle message about Harry, reveals royal expert
(Image credit: Raymond Tang/Alamy)

Meghan Markle's children's book may send a 'coded message' to the Queen, according to a royal expert. 

Meghan Markle's children's book includes a subtle message to the Queen on Prince Harry's military losses, according to a royal expert. 

The Duchess of Sussex added the title of 'author' to her already impressive resumé this week, following the publication of her first children's book. 

The Bench, which includes watercolor illustrations by Christian Robinson, tells the heartwarming tale of a special bond between a father and his son through the eyes of a mother. 

Inspired by a poem Meghan wrote Prince Harry for Father's Day, the 40-page story features a diverse group of characters, reflecting the modern families of 2021. 

The hype surrounding the book, which is now available to pre-order, has been inflated by the recent coverage of the couple's son's birthday. Royal fans were delighted when the Queen shared a sweet throwback photo of Sussex family in honor of her great-grandson Archie's special day, suggesting the bond is still strong between the distant relatives. 

However, not everybody believes all is fine with the duke and his grandmother. 

While The Bench doesn't officially hit shelves until June 8, a number of royal experts have already shared their take on its teaser shots—and they suspect some underlying conflict. 

Dominique Cimina

(Image credit: Dominique Cimina/Puffin)

One illustration, in particular, has drawn a lot of attention from critics for its connotations with Prince Harry's former military status. The preview shows an army-clad man with a head of ginger hair, who some people believe to be the Duke of Sussex himself. 

The Bench

(Image credit: Dominique Cimina/Puffin )

"Maybe Meghan is sending us a coded message that Harry has still not got over losing his military titles after the Queen stepped in," wrote Ingrid Seward, editor of Majesty magazine. 

In the softly painted image, a red-haired father wearing an army uniform can be seen picking up his young son in their front yard. A large military backpack and a purple ice lolly lie adjacent on the ground, implying the pair dropped everything the moment they saw each other. 

A dark-haired woman, who is presumably the mother, is pictured crying tears of happiness as she watches the sweet reunion from inside the house. 

While the heartwarming illustration will likely resonate with many military families, critics have pointed out that it doesn't accurately reflect Harry and Meghan's parenting experience. 

"Of course it wasn't a reality for Harry, who was in a different relationship when he served in Afghanistan," said Phil Dampier, author of Royally Suited: Harry and Meghan In Their Own Words. 

“Rather Meghan is probably showing how much the army meant to Harry and how upset he is to lose his military titles." 

Harry, who served in the British army for 10 years, was stripped of his military titles last March after he and Meghan withdrew as senior royals. His most known role was that of Captain-General of the Royal Marines, which he held for two years. Reports said that the Queen was in turmoil when deciding if Harry could keep his military titles, a responsibility that was particularly close to his heart. 

“For Harry, who put his life on the line and then founded the highly successful Invictus Games for injured servicemen and women, losing the titles was the bitterest part of ‘Megxit'," Dampier added. 

The Queen has yet to reappoint the titles, but it is speculated that she will assign the position of Captain-General of the Royal Marines to Princess Anne.

The Bench by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, $15.99 | Amazon

Meghan's first children's book The Bench is available to pre-order in hardback now.

Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.