Baby Lilibet makes a guest appearance in Meghan's book for children

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·Royal Correspondent
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Watch: Princess Eugenie congratulates 'dear cousins' Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan on baby birth

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Meghan Markle's first children's book has been released, just days after she gave birth to her second child.

And while Lilibet was not around when the book was first envisaged, there appears to be a nod to her in the illustrations.

The book, called The Bench, ends with an illustration of a ginger-haired man helping a young boy feed chickens, while a dark-haired woman looks on, holding a baby.

The image bears a striking resemblance to the Sussexes' family life in California, as they gave a glimpse of their garden with the chickens during the Oprah Winfrey interview in March.

A sign bearing the words 'Archie's Chick Inn' hung above the coop while Harry and Meghan fed the rescue birds, and told Winfrey that they had enjoyed being able to live authentically since stepping back from royal life.

Two dogs also feature in the image. Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, have two dogs, a black Labrador named Pula and a beagle named Guy.

The illustrations feature a range of father and son relationships. (Random House)
The illustrations feature a range of father and son relationships. (Random House)

Read more: Prince Harry's second-born: How life will be different for Lilibet Diana

The book's illustrations are by award-winning artist Christian Robinson and the duchess has narrated the audiobook.

A different illustration includes a soldier in army fatigues, perhaps just home from a service tour, greeting his child while a woman looks out of the window at the scene.

The book, which was released on 8 June but had topped bestseller lists while it was on pre-order, is dedicated to "the man and the boy who make my heart go pump-pump".

Its opening image features a bearded ginger father – who bears a strong resemblance to the duke – cradling a smiling baby on a bench under a tree.

The text reads: “This is your bench, where life will begin, for you and our son, our baby, our kin.”

Watch: Meghan Markle's Picture Book Features Prince Harry, Archie Illustration

Some of the illustrations have ties to Harry and Meghan's life. (Random House)
Some of the illustrations have ties to Harry and Meghan's life. (Random House)

Read more: Keeping it in the family: How the Sussexes have followed tradition with Lilibet's name

Meghan said she wanted to show a diverse range of families in the book, and other illustrations include a father and son in pink tutus performing ballet poses, and a father and son playing with toy dinosaurs.

Elsewhere a father in a wheelchair appears, and in on another page, a father and son wear turbans. 

The book started life as a poem which the duchess wrote for her husband in June 2019, shortly after their son Archie was born, for his first Father's Day.

Some of the lines include: "You’ll love him. You’ll listen. You’ll be his supporter," and "When life feels in shambles, you’ll help him find order."

On another page, the line reads: "He’ll feel happiness, sorrow, one day be heartbroken. You’ll tell him ‘I love you,’ those words always spoken."

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (R), and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose for a photo with their newborn baby son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London on May 8, 2019. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read DOMINIC LIPINSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Harry and Meghan with baby Archie in May 2019. (Dominic Lipinski/AFP)

Read more: Harry and Meghan's baby daughter's name could be an 'olive branch', experts say

The book's release comes soon after Harry spoke of wanting to end the "cycle of pain and suffering" he said existed in his family, noting that his father had treated him "the way he had been treated".

Speaking on a podcast with Dax Shepard, Harry said: "I don’t think we should be pointing the finger or blaming anybody, but certainly when it comes to parenting, if I’ve experienced some form of pain or suffering because of the pain or suffering that perhaps my father or my parents had suffered, I’m going to make sure I break that cycle so that I don’t pass it on, basically."

The couple are said to be taking several months of parental leave, in line with the generous offering from their foundation, Archewell.

They will take 20 weeks from Archewell, the foundation they set up last year when they moved to the US.

Harry also works for BetterUp, as a chief impact officer, and will be entitled to eight weeks paternity leave from the organisation. 

Buy it: The Bench by The Duchess of Sussex | £9.99 from Amazon

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