When the Duchess of Sussex released her children’s book ‘The Bench,’ inspired by the relationship between Prince Harry and son Archie, it was widely believed that this was her first foray into the literary world.
But librarians in Washington DC have unearthed a short story called ‘A Face Without Freckles is a Night Without Stars’ written by the Duchess when she was just a schoolgirl – and The Telegraph can reveal that it will be going on public display.
The book appears to chart the Duchess’s personal experiences as a young girl, with particular attention paid to her appearance.
One passage says:
“Some people think freckles are strange,
While I happen to disagree,
Because if I didn’t have my freckles,
Then I would not truly be me!!!”
The passage appears to be autobiographical, and Ms Markle has spoken about her freckles since
Demonstrating her obvious creative flair, the words are accompanied by a drawing of a mixed race girl in a blue skirt and red top, wearing a green necklace with a moon and star pendant and a proud smile on her face.
Her legs, arms and face have freckles.
While it was never published, the Duchess did obtain copyright for the publication and its title in January 1996, when she was just 14-years-old.
Now, more than two decades later, the story has come to light thanks to a tweet by Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress, who wrote: “Did you know Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, wrote a book in 8th grade titled, A Face without Freckles… Is a Night Without Stars?
“She extols the wonder of freckles with drawings and verse.”
Now, three pages will be put on display at the Library of Congress in Washington DC when it reopens later this summer.
It is not known whether researchers found the book or whether they were alerted to its existence by the Duchess, but the library had to get “specific permission from the author” to make it available to the public.
Pages from the book will go on display at the Library of Congress, in Washington DC
Credit: Brian Smith
A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess declined to comment.
The book follows an enduring theme for the Duchess, who has spoken about her freckles on a number of occasions.
The phrase “a face without freckles is a night without stars” has been credited to her father Thomas, from whom she is now estranged.
In an interview with Allure magazine, she said: "To this day, my pet peeve is when my skin tone is changed and my freckles are airbrushed out of a photo shoot.
"For all my freckle-faced friends out there, I will share with you something my dad told me when I was younger: ‘A face without freckles is a night without stars.’”
Her former makeup artist Lydia F. Sellers on the television series Suits told Refinery 29: "Every time I’d do her makeup, she’d say, ‘Can we just make sure my freckles are peeking through? I don’t want a ton of foundation’."
The book’s ‘About the Author’ page gives an insight into the teenager’s life in Los Angeles.
The Duchess copyrighted the book when she was still Meghan Markle, aged just 14-years-old
“Meghan Markle currently attends Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, California and enjoys watching television, spending time with her friends, and participating in musical comedies,” it says.
“Meghan wrote this book in the eighth grade as a school project and now wishes to continue writing throughout high school.
“She wants to take a moment to thank her ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’ who gratefully spent their time and effort supporting her.”
Her children’s book ‘The Bench’ which was released earlier this month evolved from a poem the Duchess wrote for her husband on his first Father’s Day.
It surged to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, but failed to break the top 50 in the UK during its first week.
A spokesperson from the Library of Congress told the Telegraph: “It is wonderful that the book written by the Duchess of Sussex in eighth grade is being applauded by so many on social media.
"Her message of self-acceptance is inspiring. The public will have an opportunity to see several pages of the book in a new Copyright exhibit that will open soon at the Library of Congress James Madison Building.”