Duchess Meghan opens up about Archie's feelings about her new book and how she hopes it will affect people

By Zach Harper

Archie is already a bookworm!

Duchess Meghan appeared on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday on June 20 to reveal some sweet anecdotes about how her son has responded to The Bench, her and illustrator Christian Robinson's new bestselling children's book. The story is based on a poem about Prince Harry and Archie's relationship and the bench that anchors it, which was Meghan's first Father's Day gift to the Duke of Sussex in 2019.

The Duchess of Sussex spoke with Samantha Balaban on the show in her first interview since Archie became a big brother to sister Lilibet earlier this month, saying the toddler is thrilled his mom wrote a book.

"He loves it!" Meghan told Christian as she opened up about a vignette in the story involving a military family, saying she knew the two-year-old would notice the subtle elements throughout the book.

"Archie loves the book, which is great because he has a voracious appetite for books, and constantly, when we read him a book, he goes 'Again again again,'" she sweetly continued. "But now the fact that he loves The Bench and we can say, 'Mommy wrote this for you!' feels amazing."

The 39-year-old also shared that she and Christian tried to make The Bench deeply relatable to anyone and also extremely personal at the same time. There are several "Easter eggs" hidden throughout the book, she said, one of which pays tribute to Archie's late grandma, Princess Diana.

"I think you can find sweet little moments that we've tucked in there, from my favourite flower – even my husband's mom's favourite flower, forget me nots – we wanted to make sure those were included in there. There's a lot of special detail and love that went into this book."

Part of making the book relatable involved representing as many different people as possible in The Bench's pages, Meghan said. She also pointed out she asked Christian to work with watercolour to give the story a "softness" that she feels sometimes gets lost "when you talk about masculinity and fatherhood."

"We both started to explore, even what diversity means when you look at it through illustration and it's not just black and white," she added. "Growing up, I remember so much how it felt not to see yourself represented. So any child, any family, hopefully, can open this book and see themselves in it, whether that means glasses or freckled or different body shape or different ethnicity or religion – even the military family."

The Bench hit number one on The New York Times Bestseller list for children's books this week, which is a huge achievement for the duchess. In a thank-you message on her and Prince Harry's Archewell Foundation website, Meghan added depicting as many people as possible and showing a different form of masculinity and bond between father and son were important considerations for her and Christian when creating The Bench.

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One of Christian's gorgeous illustrations in The Bench represents Harry, Archie and the Sussexes' dogs Pula and Guy. Photo: © Leon Neal/Getty Images

"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 its communities everywhere," she wrote. "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."

Happy Father's Day to the Sussexes!


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