Meghan Speaks of Universal Message in “The Bench”
“Before our daughter, Lili, was born, I spoke with NPR about the then-upcoming launch of my first children’s book, “The Bench.” I was glad to be joined by illustrator, Christian Robinson.
When I first wrote these words — as a Father’s Day poem to my husband shortly after the birth of our first child, Archie — I never anticipated they would become something enjoyed in the homes of families around the world. My words echoed what I was witnessing at the time — the love I watched blossom between my husband and our baby boy, and the both simple and sacrosanct moments I imagined they would have for years to come. As I put pen to paper then, I felt it was uniquely our story that I was capturing.
But as we have long known, sometimes the most personal stories can resonate the most universally, because it is through sharing and hearing others’ experiences that we feel even more connected to them.
It became clear to me that the story of The Bench may have been for my husband and son, but it wasn’t simply about them; it was reflective of what so many other mothers and partners see in their other halves; the growing bond that I was in privileged observation of was universal.
The tenderness of the relationship between Harry and Archie, also role-modeled by millions of other families around the world, reveals, in its subtle quietude, that the moments of being as much as in doing, matter. They illustrate that when we teach our sons that there is strength in vulnerability, power in kindness, and beauty in showing emotion, that we create the basis for a more equitable world for everyone — not simply for boys and men but for women and girls.
On this Father’s Day, we celebrate you: those who lead by example, who lead with love, and who recognize that the dad you are for your son today, defines the man he becomes tomorrow. ”
– Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex
Quotes from the Interview
“We both started to explore even what diversity means when you look at it through illustration…Growing up, I remember so much how it felt to not see yourself represented. So 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.” Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex Author
“The story visually begins with a look at the author’s actual family depicting them and little moments. But then it goes on to share and show all kinds of different families. I think for me, inclusivity and representing as many different families as we could, was at the heart of this book.” Christian Robinson Illustrator
“It’s a love story. While this was inspired by the love that I see between my husband and our son, this story and this connection — that bond that you’re seeing play itself out — that could be with a mom, that could be with a caregiver, that could be with a sibling. It’s really just about growing with someone and having this deep connection and this trust, so that be it good times or bad, you know that you have this person and you know you can always go back to this place that you share together.” Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex Author