Prince Harry sat with the children as Meghan told them, "I haven't read it to any other kids but you"

Advertisement

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry continued their visit to New York City on Friday with some of the city's young residents.

The couple joined N.Y.C. Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter at P.S. 123 Mahalia Jackson School in Harlem. To promote early literacy, Meghan read her children's book The Bench to a group of schoolchildren in second grade. Prince Harry joined the kids on the ground, sitting among them as Meghan read the story.

"I wrote this when we just had our little boy, and I haven't read it to any other kids but you!" she told them.

Meghan dedicated her book to "the man and the boy who make my heart go pump-pump," and she told the children that the phrase came from teaching 2-year-old son Archie how the heart works.

Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle
| Credit: Gotham/GC Images

She also explained that at the core of the book is "the idea of representation ... [when you're able to say,] 'That looks like me!' ... I wanted everyone to be included in this book."

RELATED: The Best Photos from Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Visit to New York City

The children drew Meghan and Prince Harry pink paper hearts with their personal stories and dedications on them, and Meghan went through them and engaged with the students by name.

Meghan gave out lots of hugs, with some young girls so excited to speak with her that they wiped away tears.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visit Harlem school
Prince Harry
| Credit: Lanford Beard

Meghan, 40, and Prince Harry, 37, were shown around the school by Principal Melitina Hernandez and two student ambassadors, including seeing a mural painted by fourth- and fifth-grade pupils.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also donated two garden boxes filled with vegetables and herbs to support the school's ongoing community efforts and the need for fresh food.

Through Meghan and Harry's Archewell Foundation's partnership with Procter & Gamble, they are also providing health products for families at the school as well as a washing machine and dryer for students' uniforms. 

Meghan and Harry kicked off their visit to New York on Thursday with an early morning stop at One World Observatory at the World Trade Center with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Kathy Hochul.

They also visited the 9/11 Museum and memorial, followed by a Thursday afternoon meeting with US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more! 

New York City is a special place for Meghan. It's where she reunited with friends — including Serena Williams, Amal Clooney, Gayle King and Jessica Mulroney — in February 2019 for a baby shower ahead of the birth of son Archie.

Meghan also returned to the Big Apple in September 2019 to support Williams in the US Open final.