Duchess Meghan honors Prince Harry, shares rare Archie tidbit in first post-Oprah interview

Duchess Meghan of Sussex shared a rare tidbit about her and Prince Harry’s first child, Archie, and paid tribute to the late Princess Diana in her first interview since the royal couple’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March. 

Speaking to NPR in an interview that aired Sunday, Meghan reflected on writing her new children’s book, “The Bench,” inspired by a gift she gave to Harry after they welcomed Archie in 2019. The interview was recorded prior to the birth of the couple’s second child, Lilibet Diana, on June 4.

“Archie loves the book, which is great. He has a voracious appetite for books and constantly when you read him a book goes ‘again, again, again,’ ” Meghan said. “Now the fact that he loves ‘The Bench’ and we can say ‘mommy wrote this for you,’ that feels amazing.” 

Previously: Meghan, Harry welcome second child, named after Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana

Duchess Meghan's new book is inspired by the bond between her husband, Prince Harry, and their son, Archie. (Photo: Handout, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex v)

“The Bench,” released earlier this month, was written by the duchess to honor the relationship between fathers and their sons. “For the man and the boy who make my heart go pump – pump,” Meghan wrote in her dedication. 

It was based on a poem (and an actual bench) the duchess gifted Harry after their first child, Archie, was born in 2019, and it offers vignettes of moments between fathers and sons, inspired by Meghan’s own “lived experiences” seeing Harry play with Archie or “rock him to sleep or carry him.” 

Duchess Meghan's debut children's book "The Bench" looks at the bond between father and son through a mother's eyes. (Photo: Penguin Random House)

“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,” Meghan said.

She continued: “I often find, and especially in this past year, I think so many of us realized how much happens in the quiet. In the story I’m observing this love between my husband and our son and imagining what it will be as they have more shared moments as our son gets older, from scraping a knee to having a heart broken. Whatever it is, that they always reset at this bench and have this moment to bond.”

The book also features images of families from around the world, some based on stories she has heard from others. Illustrator Christian Robinson highlighted a diverse selection of fathers and sons in his paintings.

An inside look at Duchess Meghan's children's book "The Bench." (Photo: Penguin Random House)

“Growing up, I remember so much how it felt to not see yourself represented,” Meghan said. “Any child or any family hopefully can open this book and see themselves in it, whether that means glasses or freckled or a different body shape or a different ethnicity or religion.”

The final two pages of the book feature watercolors that appear to be a nod to Meghan’s own family: A red-headed father and his mini-me son feed chickens, while a mother with dark hair stands in a nearby garden cradling a newborn baby. Of the chickens – which the couple shared they own several of in their Winfrey interview – Meghan said she “needed my girls in there.”

The first page, which also seems to depict Harry holding their infant child, includes a nod to his late mother, Princess Diana, with a patch of forget-me-not flowers, her favorites. 

An inside look at Duchess Meghan's children's book "The Bench." (Photo: Penguin Random House)

Ultimately, Meghan said she views the picture book as “a love story.” Though her book centers on fathers and sons, she wanted to highlight the bond shared with mothers, caregivers and siblings, too. 

“It’s really just about growing with someone and having this deep connection and this trust so that, be at good times or bad, you know that you had this person,” she says. “I really hope that people can see this as a love story that transcends the story of my family.”

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