Meghan Markle's Children's Book 'The Bench' Not a Rip-off Says Corrinne Averiss

Meghan Markle's first children's book The Bench is not a rip of The Boy on the Bench, according to the older book's author.

The Duchess of Sussex announced her debut yesterday, which was about fatherhood and inspired by Prince Harry's relationship with Archie.

The wave of publicity came two days before the toddler's second birthday, which he celebrates tomorrow.

Critics of the duchess seized on the 2018 publication The Boy on the Bench by U.K. author Corrinne Averiss to claim Meghan's own work was a rip-off.

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.

— Corrinne Averiss (@CorrinneAveriss) May 5, 2021

However, Averiss today dismissed the attack, posting on Twitter: "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."

Her intervention came after a Daily Mail article, which quoted a number of angry Twitter users.

One wrote: "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."

In a statement to the newspaper Averiss added: "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."

Meghan's book looks at the relationship between a diverse mix of fathers and sons, and an early look at two of the inside pages shows a mother crying "tears of joy."

Meghan Markle Writing in Visitors Book
Meghan Markle signs the visitors book at Edes House during an official visit to Sussex on October 3, 2018 in Chichester, England. Her first children's book, The Bench, is due to be published on June 8. Daniel Leal-Olivas - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Boy on the Bench by contrast tells the story of a child who is too scared to join in at a busy playground but then sees that a young girl has lost her teddy.

The Amazon listing reads: "The playground is packed with children playing, but Tom is sitting on a bench with his dad.

"He's just not sure he's brave enough to join in . . .

"Tom can't see a space for himself anywhere in the playground. Not on the slide, or on the roundabout or on the swings . . . But when a little girl loses her teddy, will Tom have the courage to help?"

Meghan described her book in a statement released by her publisher yesterday: "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 watercolor 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."

One inside page shows a soldier throwing his son in the air while in the window of their home a mother cries.

Meghan's text reads: "And here from our window I'll have tears of great joy... Looking out at My Love and our beautiful boy."

Another page shows a boy asleep on his father's chest as they lie on a park bench.

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