You’re never too young to enjoy a good book and the Sussex family knows it.
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry love to read to 2-year-old Archie, and he’s a big fan of his mom’s children’s book The Bench, which the Duchess published in June, with her son in mind. An illustrated version of Archie appears in the book, along with little sister 5-month-old Lilibet and the family’s two dogs, Guy and Pula.
In her first appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show this week, Markle explained that Archie fell in love with her story from the moment he opened the book. “On that first page you open and you see our dogs and he goes, ‘That’s Pula! That’s Guy!’” she explained on the episode.
Markle originally wrote the story about the love between dads and their sons as a poem for Prince Harry on Father’s Day, to go along with a bench she got him as a Father’s Day gift. The story contains a series of moments between different fathers and sons on a bench. As a metaphor and as an actual piece of furniture at the Sussex’s California home, the bench is just the setting for all the little moments — scraped knees, tying shoes, sharing juice — that add up to a wonderful relationship as children grow.
It started out as just a sentimental gift for Harry, but after friends saw the early draft of The Bench, Markle knew that the story would resonate with families beyond her own and she decided to publish the children’s book with renowned children’s book illustrator Christian Robinson. The watercolor images depict Archie sitting with his dad on the bench, feeding chickens while his mom and sister garden nearby.
Markle told DeGeneres the book began with her observations of Harry as a dad, explaining that watching him parent “is the most beautiful thing to watch.”
“I made sure that all of those pieces of it, especially the softer side of masculinity, the softer side of fatherhood, were all in there and made sure everyone could see themselves in these pages because I remember as a little girl, you didn’t always see someone that looked like you and I thought that was really important to have everyone story feel like it was unfolding on those pages for them,” she said.
So thanks to his mama, Archie isn’t the only little boy who can see someone who looks like him in a book that celebrates fathers as caregivers.
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