Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their move to California, they’ve made good on their vow to pursue their own interests away from the commitments of royal life. In addition to their charitable Archewell Foundation, the couple made a deal with Netflix to produce their own original programming. Earlier this year, they also announced their own personal “production” by revealing that they are expecting their second child, a girl, this summer.
Then in early May came the news that the Duchess of Sussex is about to publish her first children’s book. Penguin Random House is releasing “The Bench” on June 8, written by Markle and illustrated by Caldecott medalist Christian Robinson. Based on a poem the duchess wrote for her husband on his first Father’s Day, the book “touchingly captures the evolving and expanding relationship between father and son and reminds us of the many ways that love can take shape and be expressed in a modern family,” according to the official press release.
The picture book seems like a sweet addition to any family’s library, not to mention an appropriate Father’s Day gift. But since this is Meghan Markle we’re talking about, controversy was bound to follow the project. Sure enough, some are accusing the duchess of violating one of the cardinal rules of writing.
Some think Meghan Markle copied another author
It seems that a British author named Corrinne Averiss wrote a book three years ago called “The Boy on the Bench,” and it features a boy sitting on a playground bench with his father. That prompted outrage among UK Twitter users, who responded with remarks such as “I hope the author of this book is going to sue her, the cheek of this woman!” (via Newsweek) and “The graphics and the colours are almost identical. She is about as authentic as a $3 bill.” (via Today UK News).
Averiss, on the other hand, condemns the accusations as rubbish. In a statement she released (as reported by the Daily Mail), the children’s author said, “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 apart from the use of a bench – which exist in as many stories as they do parks and gardens.”
A look at the two books on Amazon shows that “The Boy on the Bench” tells a specific story about a boy named Tom who feels too shy to join the other children on a busy playground, until he finds the courage to help a girl who lost her toy. “The Bench,” on the other hand, is a rhyming book about the little moments that fathers and sons share. Saying that Markle plagiarized Averiss’ book is like saying Dr. Seuss ripped off Shel Silverstein because “The Lorax” and “The Giving Tree” both feature trees.
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