Meghan Markle has sent a copy of her children’s book The Bench to a Hollywood friend with a personal note ahead of it’s release next week.
The Duchess of Sussex, 39, announced last month she would release the book, and said it was inspired by a poem she had written for Harry on Father’s Day the month after Archie was born and will explore the ‘special bond between father and son’ as ‘seen through a mother’s eyes’.
Today, Meghan’s photographer friend Gray Malin, from Los Angeles, promoted the book to his 35.4k followers on Instagram, sharing a clip as he opened the first page to reveal an illustration of Prince Harry and Archie.
The Duchess had also penned a note to Gray on the first page of the book, writing: ‘From one parent to another – all my love from my family to yours. As ever, Meghan.’
It’s far from the first time that Meghan’s friends have promoted one of her post-Megxit projects for her. In December, Oprah Winfrey shared a basket of coffee latte treats from a brand the Duchess had invested in with her 19 million followers.
It is not known if Meghan has received an advance for the book and whether any of the proceeds will be donated to charity, but a branding expert previously suggested it would have already netted her £500,000 following a ‘bidding war to secure her first venture’.
Meghan and Gray are believed to have first met in 2015, when he visited her home in Toronto when the then-actress was filming Suits.
Meghan Markle , 39, has sent a copy of her children’s book The Bench to a Hollywood friend with a personal note ahead of it’s release next week
The Duchess of Sussex, 39, announced last month she would release the book, and said it was inspired by a poem she had written for Harry on Father’s Day the month after Archie was born and will explore the ‘special bond between father and son’ as ‘seen through a mother’s eyes’
She was a fan of his artwork, with a blog post on his website revealing her mother Doria first bought her one of his photographs in 2008.
On the website, Gray describes Meghan as a ‘multi-talented woman’.
As well as the inscription, the Duchess had also clipped a note to the front of the book, which read: ‘With compliments of The Office of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Please enjoy the advanced copy on behalf of Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex.’
Meanwhile the video clip also revealed the first illustration in the book is one of Prince Harry and baby Archie walking hand-in-hand together.
It is not known if Meghan has received an advance for the book and whether any of the proceeds will be donated to charity, but a branding expert previously suggested it would have already netted her £500,000 following a ‘bidding war to secure her first venture’
The photographer, pictured left with his partner (right) and their children, is believed to have been friends with Meghan for over five years
The Duke, recognisable with his ginger hair and beard, could be seen wearing a grey polo shirt and blue jeans (left, the royal at the Invictus Games in 2017, and right the illustration)
Who is Gray Malin, the NYT-bestselling author and aerial photographer Meghan Markle chose to gift her first children’s book to?
Gray is a Los Angeles-based fine-art photographer, aerial photographer and author.
He is known for his photo collections of remote locations as well as his aerial photographs of various destinations.
Meghan has been a fan of his for several years, hanging pictures of his in her Toronto home during her days filming Suits.
Other celebrity fans of Gray’s work include Reece Witherspoon and Whitney Port.
During an interview published on his website in 2015, Meghan said she had been a fan of his since her mother Doria gave her his artwork in 2008.
As well as being a successful photographer, he is a NYT bestselling author.
He has several books including a children’s book, Be Our Guest!
He and his husband Jeff Richardson married in 2012 and welcomed twins, a boy and a girl, in December 2018.
The Duke, recognisable with his ginger hair and beard, could be seen wearing a grey polo shirt and blue jeans.
The royal has been seen wearing a similar outfit while out and about in Los Angeles with Meghan, as well as during his time as a royal.
Meanwhile the Duke’s illustration is seen looking down at his son, who is wearing a green top and blue shorts in the picture.
Sharing the note, Gray posted: ‘Received some royal mail! Congrats on your new book M!’
The Duchess’ post-Megxit projects have previously been promoted by her close friends.
In December, Meghan’s close friend Oprah promoted a basket of coffee latte treats to her 19 million followers on Instagram, captioning the post: ‘On the first day of Christmas my neighbor ‘M’ sent to me…A basket of deliciousness! (Yes that M).’
At first it seemed a straightforward post from Oprah, thanking her friend for the gift, but it later emerged that the Duchess has decided to invest in Clevr Blends as she begins to build a portfolio of startup investments – her first such venture since officially stepping back from royal duties at the beginning of this year to become ‘financially independent’.
The children’s book, which will be published on June 8 by Random House Children’s Books, will be illustrated by bestselling Californian artist Christian Robinson, who was brought up by his grandmother in a one-bedroom flat also shared with his brother, two cousins and aunt.
A publicity release said Meghan, who chose to use her title on the cover of the book, wanted the story to be told through an ‘inclusive lens’ and will feature a ‘diverse group of father and sons’. Meghan will also narrate the audiobook costing $4.99 – which together with the hardback version could earn her millions from sales.
As well as the inscription, the Duchess had also clipped a note to the front of the book, which said it was ‘with compliments of The Office of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’
The Duchess has long been a fan of Gray Malin’s work, and previously had a picture of a beach taken by the photographer on display in her Toronto home (pictured)
In one illustration, a red-headed soldier wearing an American-style Army cap is seen holding his young son aloft as a woman watches on crying from a window. This is a likely reference to her and Harry, who served in Afghanistan with the Blues and Royals. The words read: ‘This is your bench, Where life begins, For you and our son our baby, our kin’.
The royal, who went by the pen name ‘Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex’, said in a statement: ‘The Bench started as a poem I wrote for my husband on Father’s Day, the month after Archie was born.
‘That poem became this story. Christian layered in beautiful and ethereal watercolour 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.
‘My hope is that The Bench resonates with every family, no matter the makeup, as much as it does with mine.’
Popular culture expert Nick Ede told FEMAIL that the Duchess of Sussex would’ve likely been paid between a £250,000 to £500,000 advance to write the book. In authoring a children’s book she follows in the footsteps of fellow Royals Sarah, the Duchess of York, who has produced her own money-spinning series, Princess Michael of Kent and even Prince Charles, who penned a children’s book called The Old Man of Lochnagar in 1980 to raise money for the Children’s Trust.
In one illustration in The Bench, a red-headed soldier wearing an American-style Army cap is seen holding his young son aloft as a woman watches on crying from a window (pictured)
The Sussexes were seen sitting on a bench in the garden of their Montecito home in September last year when they urged Americans to ‘reject hate speech’ in a controversial intervention before the US election. However, in quotes promoting the book Meghan refers to a poem she wrote a month after Archie was born, when they were still in the UK.
Royal experts previously said the Duchess was using her new children’s book to show ‘how much the army meant to Harry and how upset he is to lose his military titles,’ a royal author has claimed – as price is slashed by £3 a month before release.
According to royal biographer Phil Dampier, the children’s book hints at how unhappy Prince Harry, 35, who served a decade in the military and two tours in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2008, is to have lost his military titles.
The royal, who served a decade in the military and two tours in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2008, is believed to have seen the loss of the titles as the ‘bitterest part’ of ‘Megxit.’
Speaking to The Sun, Phil Dampier said: ‘The illustration of a red-haired soldier (obviously you know who) hugging his little boy, looks as though he has come home from war after many years and pulls at the heart-strings.’
Prince Harry, Captain General Royal Marines, visits 42 Commando Royal Marines at their base in Bickleigh to carry out a Green Beret presentation at Dartmoor National Park Prince Harry visits 42 Commando Royal Marines, Bickleigh, Devon on 20 February 2019
‘Mum is in tears as she looks through the window, and sees her husband returning from battle to pick up family life once more.
He continued: ‘It’s a scenario familiar to so many military couples separated by conflicts. ‘But of course it wasn’t a reality for Harry, who was in a different relationship when he served in Afghanistan.
‘Rather Meghan is probably showing how much the Army meant to Harry and how upset he is to lose his military titles.’
And according to Dampier, the book is another way for the couple to express their feelings on the matter.
The price of The Bench has already been slashed from £12.99 to £9.99 at Amazon, Foyles and Waterstones before it’s even been released (pictured(
Anyone eager to get their hands on a copy can also pre-order the book at the cheaper price of £10.99 at WH.Smith (pictured)
The new children’s book is being offered at the reduced price of £11.43 at Blackwell’s – making a saving of £1.56 (pictured)
‘The Queen decided he could not be half in and half out of the Royal Family, and therefore he could no longer continue with his honorary associations, including being Captain General of the Royal Marines,’ he claimed.
‘For Harry, who put his life on the line and then founded the highly successful Invictus Games for injured servicemen and women, losing the titles was the bitterest part of ‘Megxit.’
During a bombshell Oprah Winfrey interview in March, Prince Harry admitted he was ‘hurt’ by the Queen’s decision to remove his royal patronages and honorary titles, but insisted he ‘completely respects’ her decision.
Harry will also be barred from wearing his military uniform after stepping back from Armed Forces appointments, although he can still wear his medals at engagements.
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and their Archie Mountbatten-Windsor meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation during their royal tour of South Africa on September 25, 2019 in Cape Town