Meghan Markle’s debut children’s book about father-son relationships was “deeply” inspired by her own family.
“Meghan’s books theme is … personal to her and [Prince] Harry’s life [with their 2-year-old son, Archie], and the fact that she would need to plagiarize are beyond untrue,” a source exclusively reveals of The Bench in the new issue of Us Weekly. “The accusations of plagiarism are ridiculous and an attack on Meghan for notoriety.”
News broke of the Suits alum’s upcoming picture book, illustrated by Christian Robinson, earlier this month. “The Bench started as a poem I wrote for my husband on Father’s Day, the month after Archie was born,” the former actress said in the May 4 press release. “That poem became this story. Christian layered in beautiful and ethereal watercolor illustrations that capture the warmth, joy and comfort of the relationship between fathers and sons from all walks of life. This representation was particularly important to me, and Christian and I worked closely to depict this special bond through an inclusive lens.”
Meghan, who is currently pregnant with a baby girl, concluded at the time: “My hope is that The Bench resonates with every family, no matter the makeup, as much as it does with mine.”
Haters subsequently began comparing the Los Angeles native’s work, which comes out June 8, to Corrinne Averiss and Gabriel Alborozo’s The Boy on the Bench. The picture book was published in 2018.
“Reading the description and published excerpt of the Duchess’s new book, this is not the same story or the same theme as The Boy on the Bench,” Averiss tweeted the following day. “I don’t see any similarities.”
In publisher HarperCollins’ description of The Boy on the Bench, a boy named Tom is “not brave enough to join” kids on the playground and stays seated on a bench with his father. “Tom can’t see a space for himself anywhere in the playground,” the statement reads. “Not on the slide, or on the roundabout or on the swings. … But when a little girl loses her teddy, will Tom have the courage to help?”
Meghan’s book, on the other hand, focuses on children’s relationships with their parents, not other kids.
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For more on Meghan’s new venture, watch the video above and check out the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi