Meghan Markle's book The Bench in bargain sale on day of release, panned by critics

Meghan Markle's children's book was slashed to half-price just hours after it was released at one UK bookshop, with some critics panning it as a "semi-literate vanity project". 

The Duchess of Sussex's The Bench was seen in a 'buy one get one half price' deal at a WHSmith store in Newcastle, according to the Daily Mail.

Meghan's debut book, which costs NZ$25.50 (UK£12.99), was dubbed "bland" with "no story" by The Telegraph, while The Times called it a "self-help manual for needy parents". 

"The story [is] so lacking in action and jeopardy you half wonder if the writing job was delegated to a piece of furniture." 

The Bench did appear on Amazon's bestseller list at number 40, however Kate Middleton's pandemic photography book Hold Still soared to the number two spot when it was released in May 2020. 

The proceeds from Kate's project, which featured 100 portraits captured by members of the public during the UK's first Coronavirus lockdown last year, are to be split between the National Portrait Gallery and a mental health charity, while Meghan's is believed to be a commercial venture. 

The Mail reported a branding expert suggested the Duchess might have netted as much as $983,000 (UK£500,000) for the venture following a "bidding war". 

The Bench is dedicated to Meghan's husband Prince Harry and their son Archie, with the former Suits star writing: "For the man and the boy who make my heart go pump-pump." 

Meghan said the book began as a poem she wrote for Harry on Father's Day a month after Archie was born.