Kate Middleton Misses Opportunity for Meghan Markle Olive Branch Over Books

Kate Middleton has unveiled a list of her favorite children's books, but did not include Meghan Markle's story The Bench—missing an opportunity to extend an olive branch to her sister-in-law.

The Duchess of Cambridge picked five titles for the Reading Room, a literacy project set up by her husband's stepmother, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Kate's choices included Charlotte's Web—which she described as "loved in our house for obvious reasons" in an apparent reference to her and Prince William's daughter Princess Charlotte—but not Meghan's story, which was inspired by Prince Harry's relationship with their son Archie.

Although there is no reason that Kate would be obliged to pick her sister-in-law's book, had she done so it would have been a significant overture of friendship following the rift between the Sussexes and the Cambridges.

The announcement of the future queen's choices comes almost one year after the broadcast of Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which Meghan said she had been wrongly accused of making Kate cry during a bridesmaid's dress fitting before her wedding in May 2018.

Meghan told Oprah: "The reverse happened. And I don't say that to be disparaging to anyone, because it was a really hard week of the wedding. And she was upset about something, but she owned it, and she apologized. And she brought me flowers and a note, apologizing.

"She did what I would do if I knew that I hurt someone, right, to just take accountability for it."

The Duchess of Sussex also told Winfrey that the article, published in November 2018, was a turning point in her relationship with the British media and triggered a wave of negative press coverage that ultimately left her feeling suicidal.

Meghan, who gave birth to daughter Lilibet last summer, has not returned to the U.K. since the couple quit royal duties in 2020, so she has not seen Kate face-to-face since the CBS interview aired. However, the Sussexes may come to London for Queen Elizabeth II's platinum jubilee celebrations in June.

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Prince Harry's cousin Princess Eugenie visited the couple in California in February, but no other members of the royal family are known to have made the trip.

The five children's books recommended by Kate for the Reading Room were:

  • Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White
  • The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark, by Jill Tomlinson
  • Stig of the Dump, by Clive King
  • The Katie Morag series, by Mairi Hedderwick
  • Feelings, by Libby Walden

She described Charlotte's Web as "an all-time classic" and "a charming story about friendship, loyalty and love."

She wrote of Tomlinson's book: "I loved this book as a little girl and listening to my own children reading it has brought back so many wonderful memories. A comforting story to help children face their fears and grow in confidence with the help of others."

Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle at Christmas
Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle at the Christmas Day church service at Sandringham on December 25, 2018—a month after an article was published suggesting that Meghan had made Kate cry. Meghan told Oprah Winfrey in March 2021 that it was Kate who had made her cry. Samir Hussein/WireImage