Last year, at the height of the pandemic, the The Duchess of Cornwall shared two personalized playlists in order to offer a little “comfort” to those who struggle against isolation. Famous Ernest Hemingway once said, ‘There is no friend as loyal as a book,’ “she said at the time. “With that in mind, here is a list of my dearest ‘friends’.”
Inspired by the warm reaction of the public, she subsequently spear The reading room January 15th. Billed as “a hub for literary communities around the world,” the immensely popular business, published exclusively on Instagram, has since provided book lovers with a hangout and given the Duchess a perfect platform on which to promote the importance of literacy.
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An avid reader herself, she is the sponsor of several organizations committed to supporting reading and writing and her invaluable contribution to charities such as The National Literary Trust, First Story and BookTrust have helped ensure that UK children and adults have the reading and writing skills they need for “happier, healthier and more prosperous lives.”
Describing the stories as “magical” at a 500 word event in 2015, Camilla said, “Like climbing up Narnia’s wardrobe, stories open doors to different worlds. They stretch our imaginations and make our brains vibrate. We fall in love with heroes. and heroines and can’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what’s going on … Whether exotic or everyday, heartwarming or heartwarming, stories help us understand our world and the people who live in it.
The Duchess’s appreciation for books has undeniably served her well and influenced a significant part of her royal professional life. A regular visitor to schools and libraries, she is often on site to present literary prizes and awards and a strong supporter of International Literacy Day and World Book Day., she frequently attends book festivals across the country. Last month, she cheerfully greeted a kilted Stormtrooper at one of those gatherings in Nairn, Scotland.
A loyal champion of authors from across the Commonwealth, Camilla has lent her talents to tell children’s classics and has donated personal funds to help other literacy campaigns.
Speaking in 2013, she said: “I strongly believe in the importance of igniting a passion for reading in the next generation. I was fortunate to have a father who was an avid bibliophile and a brilliant storyteller too. In a world where written words compete with so many other appeals to our attention, we need more literacy heroes to continue to inspire young people to find the pleasure and power of reading for themselves.
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A “literacy hero” throughout his childhood, Camilla’s father, Major Bruce Shand, helped instill his daughter’s enthusiasm for literature. In a video posted earlier this year, she said, “He was probably the best read man I have ever met, anywhere. I mean he devoured books. And so, he us. read, when we were kids. He chose the books, and we listened. And I think it was the love of books, was ingrained in us, because you know, it was there from our youngest age. age. “
Eager to pass on the pleasure of reading to her own children, Camilla started them young. “I read to my children and now I read to my grandchildren,” she revealed in March. “I love it. I read to them when they were very little. And they got older and older, and now they really read me.”
Known as “Gaga” for her five grandchildren, Camilla is also the stepmother of five from Prince Charles’ side. Congratulating him for having left young people “bewitched” by his dramatic readings of Harry potter, she once said, “He does all the vocals, because he’s a brilliant impersonator… He’s extremely good with kids. They love it.”
Reading from an early age is, according to Camilla, “so important” and it is one of the many reasons she has become actively involved with Coram Beanstalk., a charity that intends to provide volunteers with the tools they need to help struggling children in school “become confident and independent readers.”
Beyond her immediate family, Camilla’s penchant for reading extends to her husband and royal in-laws.
A follower of the classics, the Duchess of Cambridge owns several penguin Fabric classics including Sense and sensitivity and The Wuthering Heights. Purchases already spotted The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society and When god was a rabbit, she would also have appreciated The girl on the train by Paula Hawkins.
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Full-fledged author Prince Charles has shared five of his favorite titles with The reading room back in June. After declaring The Battle of the Atlantic by Jonathan Dimbleby ‘gripping’ and ‘unbeatable’, he expressed his admiration for Along the enchanted path, Lustrum, Travels with myself and Napoleon: a life. Drawn to books on gardening and the environment, its shelves house an impressive collection of poetry, as well as Dick Francis thrillers.
Equally prolific reader, Prince Philip’s personal library was nothing short of a bibliophile’s dream. From political memoirs and biographies to tomes on wildlife, birds, cuisine, WWII, royalty and more, the Duke – who wrote fourteen books – had an insatiable appetite for literature. In a recent documentary for the BBC, Royal Archivist Alexandra McCreary said he enjoys reading “a lot” so that he can “converse with other people”. Following her death, Camilla devoted the second season of The reading room in her memory, calling her late father-in-law, “A great reading companion.”
Being able to converse with like-minded people is a big part of The reading room, and with season four on the horizon, fans are no doubt eagerly awaiting the Duchess’s final picks.
In the meantime, she’s hired her son and author of seven cookbooks, Tom Parker Bowles, to feature a variety of food writers handpicked by the couple. Having said that, “Food is the most fleeting subject” given that “the evidence wears off once it gets in your mouth” he has spent the last two weeks providing a glimpse into a culinary world I know. very little. Despite everything, her contagious and lively energy made for a very engaging viewing.
Tom joined his mother on BBC Radio 5 Live for their very first guest radio edit in July 2020. During the show, the duo had an amicable fight over spicy food, dull knives and chili peppers. “He likes anything that is very, very hot,” Camilla said, “And he loves chili peppers and I’m afraid he doesn’t, so I guess we’re okay with differing.”
Where they ring, however, is in their fondness for roast chicken – Tom says he rolls out his mom’s recipe whenever someone asks him if she’s a good cook – and their mutual attachment to books. As such, Camilla will have invited Tom to contribute to The reading room due to her respect for writers and her culinary expertise, but, aware of the mental health benefits of reading, it is possible that she also hoped to provide her son with a momentary respite from a particularly difficult year.
In March, Tom lost his girlfriend, journalist Alice Procope, to cancer just seven months after his diagnosis. Devastated by her death, the couple’s friends said she and Tom were “happily happy” together.
Still, there is something to be said for the healing balm associated with immersing yourself in your passions and joys. As Camilla rightly said, “You can escape and you can travel and you can laugh and you can cry. There are all kinds of emotions that humans feel in a book.”
After describing reading as “a great adventure”, Camilla says her idea of perfection is “to sit in a garden on a nice evening with a book”. Nineteen months after the start of the pandemic, I suspect there are many who can understand, which is why she uses her Royal Book Club – the very first of its kind – to relieve loneliness, encourage new ones. hobbies and relieve the lingering challenges facing fellow ardent readers both near and far.
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