Meghan Markle accused of copying her kids' book The Bench from another story with 'identical cover and illustrations'

MEGHAN Markle has been accused of stealing her children's book The Bench from a British author's 2018 work.

The Duchess of Sussex penned the book after originally writing a poem for Harry's first Father's Day from Archie, who will turn two next month.

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But critics have pointed out it bears similarities with The Boy and The Bench written by Corrinne Averiss.

Both books feature a colourful cover of a father and son sitting on a bench under a tree surrounded by birds.

And one illustration by award-winning artist Christian Robinson in Meghan's book shows a dad with his baby boy dozing on a lounger outside.

The writing says: "From here you will rest, see the growth of our boy".

But people have claimed the image is similar to one in The Boy and the Bench, which features a birds-eye view of a dad and son on a bench.

One person tweeted: "'Almost identical to Corrinne Averiss book 'The Boy On the Bench', even the cover."

Another said: "'I hope the author she ripped off is going to sue her, the cheek of this woman! The Boy on the Bench by Corrinne Averiss."

While one person wrote: "Before you run out and waste money on the book by Harry's first wife, read The Bot on the Bench by Corrinne Averiss and Gabriel Alborozo.

"The original".

The announcement of Meghan's £12.99 book came yesterday ahead of its publication on June 8.

The mum-to-be's pen name is given as: "Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex".

She will also narrate an audiobook of the tale, which is published by Random House Children's Books.

Meghan said: "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 make up, as much as it does with me."

But royal experts have pointed out it comes at a time when Meghan and Harry’s relationships with their own fathers could not be more strained.

Meghan has not spoken to her father Thomas, 76, for three years and even embroiled him in a High Court privacy case.

Meanwhile Harry, 36, accused his father Prince Charles of being trapped in the Royal ­Family and told Oprah Winfrey in their interview that his family had cut him off financially.

A press release that accompanies the announcement describes it as a story that ‚Äútouchingly captures the evolving and expanding relationship between fathers and sons and reminds us of the many ways that love can take shape and be expressed in a modern family‚ÄĚ.

The publisher also says it is about the "special bond between father and son – as seen through a mother's eyes. Inspired by her own husband and son".

A statement describes Meghan as a "mother, wife, feminist, and activist", who "currently resides in her home state of California with her family, two dogs, and a growing flock of rescue chickens".

The book's artist Christian is from California, where Meghan, Harry and Archie live, and has worked with Pixar and Sesame Street.

He recently won a Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor for artwork he produced for Last Stop on Market Street.

Meghan previously wrote a lifestyle blog, The Tig, before marrying into the royal family.

She also penned a piece for Time magazine but this is the first time she has tried her hand at a book.

The former actress has experienced voiceover work though – narrating Disney documentary Elephant after stepping down as a senior royal.

Her book is the latest project in a long list of work for the couple since they moved to the US.

They signed a £75million Netflix deal and a megabucks deal with Spotify with a docuseries now planned about the Invictus Games.

And Harry got standing ovation as he appeared solo at a Covid concert on Monday night – with US fans saying "he belongs to us now".

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