How Meghan Markle Honored Princess Diana In The Bench

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Photo credit: Anwar Hussein - Getty Images
Photo credit: Anwar Hussein - Getty Images


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Ever since Meghan Markle debuted The Bench earlier this month, the Internet has been on an enthusiastic treasure hunt in search for the hidden meanings, possible symbols, and allusions to members of the royal family in her debut children's book, which is about the bond between a father and son, as seen through a mother's eyes. It helps that the Duchess of Sussex has provided a helpful map for all the little details.

First, that The Bench was inspired by a poem she wrote to her husband, Prince Harry, for his first Father's Day, a month after their son Archie was born in 2019. “That poem became this story. [Illustrator Christian Robinson] 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," she said in a statement. "My hope is that The Bench resonates with every family, no matter the makeup, as much as it does with mine.”

Next is that the titular bench refers to an actual bench Markle gifted Harry (the poem was engraved onto the back). "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," she said in an interview with NPR earlier this week. There are also illustrated cameos by Prince Harry and Archie, obviously, as well as by a newborn Lilibet. (The couple's second child was born just days before The Bench's publication.)

During her interview with NPR, Markle also revealed that she had included a subtle tribute to her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana. "I think you can find sweet little moments that we've tucked in there, from my favorite flower, even my husband's mum's favorite flower, forget-me-nots, we wanted to make sure they were included in there," she said.

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The beloved princess's preferred flowers have figured prominently in other aspects of the Sussexes' lives. For instance, for Mother's Day in 2019, a few weeks after Archie was born, they posted an Instagram photo of Markle holding her son over a field of forget-me-nots with the caption: "Paying tribute to all mothers today - past, present, mothers-to-be, and those lost but forever remembered."

More recently, in September 2020, the couple once again honored Diana's memory with the flowers by planting them at a local L.A. preschool on the 23rd anniversary of her death.

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