Meghan Markle has revealed that she ‘loves’ Matt Haig’s best-selling novel Notes on a Nervous Planet, which deals with how technological advances and social media can exacerbate underlying mental health issues.
The Duke, 35, and Duchess of Sussex, 39, launched their podcast series by asking activists, campaigners and famous friends Sir Elton John and James Corden to look back on the year.
And the 35-minute one-off special includes comments from novelist Matt Haig, who can be heard being interrupted by the duchess after introducing himself as a ‘writer.’
‘I am just going to jump in here because Matt is being very modest,’ says Meghan. ‘He’s the author of several books including the best selling ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet,’ which we love, as well as ‘Reasons To Stay Alive.’ That second one is about his own experience of severe depression.
Haig – who was also featured in Meghan’s guest edit of British Vogue – is a prominent mental health advocate who has been open with his struggles in a bid to help others going through the same thing.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have launched their podcast series by asking activists, campaigners and famous friends Sir Elton John and James Corden to look back on the year. Pictured, hosting a special Time100 talk Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020
The Duchess of Sussex revealed that she ‘loves’ Matt Haig’s best-selling novel Notes on a Nervous Planet. Pictured, the author attending the National Book Awards at RIBA on November 20, 2018 in London
In his mid-20s, he struggled with depression and anxiety, and nearly took his own life – but has since released ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’ – which offers a personal look at how to feel happy and stay human in the twenty-first century.
Reflecting on this year, the writer explains: ‘I was already in a bit of an anxiety dip anyway as I often am in winter when the news started to come through, so it fuelled all that stuff.’
The novel (pictured) deals with how technological advances and social media can exacerbate underlying mental health issues
‘I was addicted to the news and found myself scrolling and scrolling and falling down a sort of Covid rabbit hole.’
‘A close family friend died of cancer. He was my father’s best man. I’d sort of grown up with him.’
‘It felt particularly painful that we weren’t able to go to his funeral because it was literally just for immediate family.
‘That was something you’d just automatically assume was always going to be a possibility – to go to someone you cared about funeral – and that being taken away.
The musings by Matt come after the writer defended Meghan Markle amid the storm that followed her announcement with Prince Harry, which revealed that they would be stepping back as senior members of the royal family to focus on charity work and their family.
The author, whose poem on mental health was featured in the Duchess of Sussex’s guest-edited Vogue issue in September, previously shared a thank you note he received from Meghan, showcasing her flawless writing.
The couple’s newly formed Archewell Audio promises to produce programming that ‘uplifts and entertains audiences around the world’ and features ‘diverse perspectives and voices’
Author Matt Haig previously defended Meghan Markle amid the storm that followed her announcement with Prince Harry that they would be stepping back as senior members of the royal family to focus on charity work and their family. Pictured, arriving at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey, London on November 25
The stars joining Meghan and Harry on their new podcast
Sir Elton John
George the Poet
Revealing that he was keen to counterbalance the backlash the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had received, he described Meghan as ‘kind’ and joked that she had the ‘world’s best handwriting’.
In the September issue of British Vogue, Meghan hailed his poem, which is an ode from a beach telling swimmers not to be body-conscious.
Sharing a picture of the note, Matt tweeted: ‘There is a lot of negative coverage of Meghan Markle today so can I counterbalance this by saying she is not only kind, but also has the world’s best handwriting.’
In the note, written in calligraphy on a monogrammed ‘M’ card, Meghan praised his book ‘A note from the beach’ as a ‘household favourite’.
The note reads: ‘Dear Matt, since reading ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’ last fall, it instantly became a household favourite.
‘When I knew I would be guest editing the September issue of British Vogue I knew you had to be a part of it.
‘Thank you for being a force for change. The world needs more of you!’
Matt’s defence came a week after Meghan and Prince Harry revealed they would be stepping back from royal duties.
Taking to the former Sussex Royal Instagram account, they wrote: ‘After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution.
Revealing that he was keen to counterbalance the backlash the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had received, he described Meghan as ‘kind’ and joked that she had the ‘world’s best handwriting’, sharing a snap of the thank you note she sent him last year
The writer, whose poem on mental health was featured in the Duchess of Sussex’s guest-edited Vogue issue in September, previously shared a thank you note he received from Meghan, showcasing her flawless writing
The cover of British Vogue’s September issue, entitled “Forces for Change”, which was guest edited by The Duchess of Sussex
A note from the beach by Matt Haig
I am the beach.
I am created by waves and currents.
I am made of eroded rocks.
I exist next to the sea.
I have been around for millions of years.
I was around at the dawn of life itself.
And I have to tell you something.
I don’t care about your body.
I am a beach.
I literally don’t give a f***.
I am entirely indifferent to your body mass index.
I am not impressed that your abdominal muscles are visible to the naked eye.
I am oblivious.
You are one of 200,000 generations of human beings.
I have seen them all.
I will see all the generations that come after you, too.
It won’t be as many. I’m sorry.
I hear the whispers the sea tells me.
(The sea hates you. The poisoners. That’s what it calls you. A bit melodramatic, I know. But that’s the sea for you. All drama.)
And I have to tell you something else.
Even the other people on the beach don’t care about your body.
They are staring at the sea, or they are obsessed with their own appearance.
And if they are thinking about you, why do you care? Why do humans worry so much about a stranger’s opinion?
Why don’t you do what I do. Let it wash all over you. Allow yourself just to be as you are.
A note from the beach first appeared in Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig.
‘We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.
‘It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages.
‘This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.
‘We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties.
Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.’
The announcement was met with a mixed response, with some expressing their disappointment at seeing less of the couple, while others admitted they ‘weren’t surprised’ at the move.
Reacting to the news at the time, Matt defended the couple, writing: ‘Meghan and Harry [are told that if they] don’t like the attention they should take a back seat. [
Then] Meghan and Harry: *take a back seat* [and are told] How dare they take a back seat!’.
Elsewhere another follower wrote: ‘Best decision you can make for your family Harry, good on you’.
‘Good for them’, another said. ‘If Princess Diana had done the same thing she’d still be alive.
‘Harry has always been the black sheep of that family, and has always wanted to leave. Well done!’.
Writing in Vogue last year, Meghan introduced Matt’s piece by saying: ‘A personal favourite and the best reminder during the summer season… or any season, as a matter of fact.’
Matt added that Meghan’s choice to include his piece is a ‘surreal honour’ and that he is glad she ‘digs my stupid humour.’
‘This whole year feels like an impossible dream to be honest. Probably means I’m about to have a piano land on my head.’
After fighting his way back from the brink, Haig turned his experiences into a best-selling memoir – Reasons To Stay Alive.
The piece the duchess chose comes from his follow-up book Notes on a Nervous Planet, and comes from the perspective of the beach itself.
It reads: ‘I literally don’t give a f***. I am entirely indifferent to your body mass index.’
It continues: ‘Even the other people on the beach don’t care about your body. They don’t. They are staring at the sea, or they are obsessed with their own appearance.’