Meghan Markle: all the hidden details in The Bench picture book – including a special nod to Diana

MEGHAN Markle has revealed she hid several secret messages in her new children's picture book.

The Duchess of Sussex said The Bench features numerous "sweet little moments" dedicated to her family – including a touching nod to Princess Diana.

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The book was released on June 8 – just days after her daughter Lilibet was born.

Meghan described it as a "love story" that was "inspired by the love that I see between my husband and our son".

In an interview with NPR about The Bench, she said: "Just all of those little Easter eggs or nuggets that are tucked within the book – I mean, there's a lot.

"If people start digging, I think you can find sweet little moments that we've tucked in there, from my favourite flower, even my husband's mum's favourite flower, forget-me-not's – we wanted to make sure those were included in there.

"There's a lot of special detail and love that went into this book."

DIANA'S FAVOURITE FLOWER

Meghan included Princess Diana's favourite flower in her children's picture book in a sweet nod to her late mother-in-law.

One page features beautiful blue forget-me-nots – officially called scorpion grasses – illustrated by Christian Robinson.


THE FAMILY'S CHICKENS

During their chat with Oprah Winfrey in March, Harry and Meghan revealed they have a chicken coop at their Montecito mansion, located near Santa Barbara, California. 

They said they have homed a number of rescue chickens, and the coop boasts a cute sign reading 'Archie's Chick Inn'.

The hens make an appearance in Meghan's new book, pictured ….

The duchess said: "I needed my girls in there."

They are also referenced in her author bio, which says: "Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, is a mother, wife, feminist, and activist.

"She currently resides in her home state of California with her family, two dogs, and a growing flock of rescue chickens."


HARRY & ARCHIE

With his recognisable ginger hair and beard, Harry appears alongside two-year-old Archie in the book.

He sits on a bench as his son sprinkles food for the animals while looking lovingly at his dad.

And elsewhere the pair are depicted walking hand-in-hand in a sweet watercolour illustration.

Ans the duchess dedicated her debut book to her husband and son, saying: "For the man and the boy who make my heart go pump-pump."


THE FAMILY'S DOGS

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have two dogs at their California home – a beagle named Guy and a Labrador called Pula.

Both make appearances in The Bench – after the duchess revealed how the pups had proved invaluable during the pandemic when people have been "forced apart".

Writing in the foreword of the annual review for London-based animal charity Mayhew, of which she is patron, the royal mum-of-two said it had been a time of "process of grief, growth and also of gratitude" and that our pooches have supported us through it.

In one illustration, the dogs are by the vegetable patch as Meghan holds baby Lili and Harry feeds the chickens with Archie.

In another they are underneath a bench where the Duke of Sussex is sitting.


MEGHAN AND LILIBET

Meghan and Harry welcomed Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor into the world on June 4.

They announced the birth of their daughter – named after the Queen and Princess Diana – in a post on their website, Archewell.

Little Lili seems to make an appearance in The Bench – as she is cradled in Meghan's arms while in a vegetable patch.

She also appears to feature in another illustration, with Harry holding her while sitting on a bench next to their two dogs.

H&A ETCHING

Harry and Archie have their initials carved into a tree beneath the book's sleeve.

'H+A' is etched into a wood-like page, behind Meghan's author bio.

REAL LIFE BENCH

On top of calling her book The Bench and littering it with sweet dedications to her family, Meghan also took things one step further.

She revealed she bought an actual bench on his first Father's Day to "have a base with Archie".

The duchess recalled that she was unsure what to give her husband before settling on the "sentimental" idea two years ago.

She also whipped up a poem, attaching it on a plaque to Harry’s bench, to reveal the moments she hopes the family will share there.

It read: "This is your bench. Where life will begin/For you and our son/Our baby, our kin."

MEGHAN'S FAVOURITE FLOWER

As well as including Diana's favourite flowers forget-me-nots, Meghan also featured her own bloom of choice – peonies.

The flowers are beautifully illustrated by Christian Robinson.

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