'The Bench': author defends Meghan Markle after duchess is accused of plagiarism for her new children's book

Corrinne Averiss says she sees no similarities between the two books

Meghan Markle's children's book, 'The Bench', is inspired by the relationship between Prince Harry and their son Archie. Reuters
Meghan Markle's children's book, 'The Bench', is inspired by the relationship between Prince Harry and their son Archie. Reuters

The author of a children’s book has defended Meghan Markle after the Duchess of Sussex was accused of plagiarism when she announced her coming children’s book The Bench on Tuesday.

Based on the relationship between a father and son, Markle’s book is inspired by husband Prince Harry and their son Archie, who turns 2 today.

But following the announcement by publisher Random House Children’s Books, many on Twitter were quick to point out the similarities between the title, artwork and even storyline with UK author Corrinne Averiss’s 2018 book The Boy on the Bench.

With illustrations by Gabriel Alborozo, Averiss’s book cover features a father and son seated on a playground bench.

Markle, who's expecting her second child, a girl, later this year, said The Bench was written a month after Archie was born.

The cover of 'The Bench', a children's book by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, and with pictures by Christian Robinson. AP
The cover of 'The Bench', a children's book by Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and with pictures by Christian Robinson. AP

"The Bench started as a poem I wrote for my husband on Father's Day. That poem became this story,” she said. “My hope is that The Bench resonates with every family, no matter the make-up, as much as it does with mine.”

In its description, Random House said the duchess “touchingly captures the evolving and expanding relationship between father and son” in the book and that it illustrates "the special relationship as seen through a mother’s eyes”.

An interior spread from 'The Bench', the debut children's book written by Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, with illustrations by artist Christian Robinson. AP
An interior spread from 'The Bench'. AP

On Wednesday, Averiss took to Twitter to dismiss any comparison between her book and Markle’s.

“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. I don’t see any similarities,” she tweeted.

Since their shocking departure from official duties as members of the British royal family, Markle and Prince Harry have announced a spate of projects through their venture Archewell.

Last year, the couple signed an exclusive £100 million ($135 million) multi-year production deal with Netflix through Archewell Productions, and have also joined forces with audio streaming giant Spotify for podcasts via Archewell Audio. Their Archewell Foundation supports communities and charitable initiatives. In March, Prince Harry also became the chief impact officer of US coaching and mental health firm BetterUp, Inc.

The Bench is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, June 8. Markle will also voice the audiobook version, Random House said.

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Updated: May 6, 2021 02:36 PM

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