How Meghan Markle’s book goes from bard to verse: Her children’s story The Bench has been panned by critics… so master satirist CRAIG BROWN pens a mischievous re-write

  • Duchess of Sussex’s first book for children, The Bench, was released this week
  • 34-page illustrated story was one of most hostly anticipated books of the year
  • Critics were underwhelmed and called it ‘self-help manual for needy parents’ 
  • Satirist Craig Brown takes jovial stab at own interpretation of Meghan’s poetry 

It’s one of the most hotly anticipated books of the year — the Duchess of Sussex’s first book for children, The Bench. 

Meghan dedicated the 34-page illustrated story to Prince Harry and their son Archie, saying they ‘make my heart go pump-pump’. 

Yet critics were left underwhelmed after its release this week, with one dubbing it a ‘self-help manual for needy parents’, even though children might warm to the colourful pictures, if not the clunky verse. 

In a spirit of fun, the Mail’s incomparable satirist CRAIG BROWN takes a jovial stab at his own interpretation of Meghan’s poetry…

Meghan Markle’s 34-page illustrated story was released this week and critics were left underwhelmed. The Mail’s incomparable satirist Craig Brown takes a jovial stab at his own interpretation of Meghan’s poetry

1. This is my desk

Where I think up verses

That I can never quite make scan

Oh, curses!

But at least they rhyme

Quite a bit of the time

And if you think they don’t

Well, that’s your opinion, not mine.

Or would that ‘mine’ be better as ‘grime’

To rhyme with ‘time’

Or ‘lime’, or ‘mime’, or ‘slime’?

Writing kids’ verse is so tricky, I’m

Tempted to call it a day

And devote all my energy

To saving our planet

Rather than just copying those Janet

And John books

I read as a kid

Don’t say I didn’t

’Cos my truth is I did.

This is my desk

Where I phone my friends Serena

Oprah, Amal, the Beckhams and Barack

‘Hey guys! Great idea! Let’s make our world greener!’

This is my desk

Where I take calls from the Queen

‘Hey! Meg! How’s it going?

What’s new, babe? Where yo’ been?’

2. We talk about everything, HM and me —

Kanye, lip gloss, sushi and fashion

Personal growth, box-sets, book deals and TV,

And how to spread love, peace, truth and compassion.

HM asks my advice

On how to be authentic

I tell her it means speaking

Almost like you meant it.

‘You must smile more, and wave,

Be true to your roots.

Act kind of sincere —

That’s a trick I learnt on Suits.

‘And when the love flows

It’ll be like heaven, you

Will be showered with awards

As well as boosting your revenue.’

And it’s around this time I tell her

I’ve taken a silly bet

That I’ll make out we’re besties,

By naming my girl Lilibet.

3. This is the hen house

Where we feed our pet chicks

They’re all under contract

To look cute on Netflix. 

4. This is your desk

Where the critics cannot hurt you

And you can spend all day

Signalling your virtue.

This is the desk

For papa and son, when he gets older

Though not MY papa —

No, I gave him the cold shoulder.

Nor will I speak to my sister,

That viper, shark, panther:

You may talk of compassion but

Don’t mention Samantha.

Right here on my desk,

The place you’ll call home

With daddy and son

Where you’ll never be ’lone

Oh jeez, I can’t make ’lone

Rhyme with home.

My kiddy verse has unfurled

But at least as a proud mother, wife, feminist, Duchess and activist I remain determined to uplift and unite communities, spread compassion, attend premieres, dress smart/casual and tell our truth

To the world.

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