Meghan Markle opens up about new book ‘The Bench’ and its non-traditional portrayals of masculinity and diversity – .

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Meghan Markle opens up about new book ‘The Bench’ and its non-traditional portrayals of masculinity and diversity – .


Meghan Markle discussed the deeply personal story of her new children’s book ‘The Bench’ as ​​well as the important role that diversity and inclusion played in its creation.

The 39-year-old Duchess of Sussex spoke to NPR ahead of the birth of her second child and Prince Harry, Lilibet “Lilii” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, who debuted Sunday in “the week’s edition -end ”. In the interview, she discussed the origin of the book, appropriately rooted in Father’s Day.

Meghan explained that she was racking her brains trying to think of a first Father’s Day gift for Harry after the birth of their first child, Archie. She noted that she wanted something “sentimental and a place where he could have a bit of home base with our son.”

She chose to give him a bench with a plaque on the back that included a poem that would eventually become the New York Times bestseller, “The Bench.” The book is a series of vignettes featuring intimate stories between fathers and sons that focus on spending time together on a bench.

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“I often find, and especially over the past year, I think a lot of us have realized everything that happens in silence,” she told interviewer Samantha Balaban in her first interview. since her infamous meeting with Oprah Winfrey. “It was definitely times like that, looking at them out the window and watching [my husband] just, you know, rocking him till he falls asleep or carrying him or, you know… these lived experiences, from my observation, are the things that I have infused into this poem. “

Meghan Markle discussed her new book ‘The Bench’ and what it means for various representations of fatherhood.
(Getty Images)

When she saw the opportunity to tell stories about the softer side of the father-son relationship, Markle enlisted the help of illustrator Christian Robinson. She knew that honor recipient Caldecott would help her show a lighter side of masculinity, which she decided to achieve through the use of watercolor.

“I wanted him to try something a little new and work in watercolors,” Meghan explained. “And that was precisely because I felt that when you talk about masculinity and fatherhood, it often can’t sound with the same gentleness that I was really looking for for this book. And I just wanted it to be almost ethereal and light and Christian knew how to use this medium and create the most beautiful images. “

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Showing a different version of masculinity was only one of the Duchess of Sussex’s goals with ‘The Bench’. With the help of Robinson’s illustrations, she was able to show the diversity of the myriad of fathers and sons around the world.

“Growing up, I remember so much how it felt not to be represented,” said Meghan, who identifies as mixed race. “Any child or family can hopefully open this book and see it, whether it’s glasses or freckles or a different body shape or body shape. a different ethnic or religious affiliation. “

Among the book’s efforts to show diversity was Markle’s push to portray a military father. She explained that she was inspired by a soldier she met years ago on a USO tour whose deployment kept her from her son.

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“He told me how he couldn’t teach his son to play wrestling because he was away,” Meghan said. “And so he and his son would send that baseball from Texas to Afghanistan and write the date on it.” It stuck with me. “

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Markle had previously discussed her desire to show “universal themes of love, representation and inclusiveness” in the book about her and on Harry’s Archwell website.

Perhaps her greatest triumph with the book, she said, is the fact that her son “loves the book.”

“He has a voracious appetite for books,” she said of the 2-year-old. “When you read him a book, he says ‘over, over, over!’ She explained. “There are a lot of special details and love in this book. ”

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