The Duchess of Cornwall attended the final of the 500 Words competition at St James’s Palace where hosted a reception for finalists as well as giving a speech.
The contest, which is now in its fifth year, challenges children aged 13 and under to write an original story of no more than 500 words.
The lucky finalists of the competition got invited to a reception at St James’s Palace, which was broadcast live on Chris Evans’s BBC Radio 2 breakfast show.
This year, the Radio 2 contest attracted 120,000 entries that were eventually whittled down to the top few. At the winning ceremony, there were live performances from boy band The Vamps and singer Will Young.
Speaking at St James’s Palace, The Duchess told the winners: “Like climbing through the wardrobe into Narnia, stories open doors into different worlds. They stretch the imagination and get our brains buzzing.”
“We fall in love with heroes and heroines and can’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what happens. We meet impossible people, travel to remote places and make hundreds of new friends.”
“We look around with new eyes and recognise Horrid Henry next door and Professor Snape, the chemistry teacher in the school down the road.”
One of the winners, ten year old Amabel Smith from Lancashire, won a the gold prize for her age category with her story about a society where people are not allowed to leave home and live their lives through computers.
The ten-year-old said: “I got in the top 50 last year and I thought I might come third.”
“I really wanted to write a story where there are two people telling their own story from their own point of view.”
“The election was coming up and I thought what would happen if a government was elected and did something bad with the country – they might want more power.”
Narrating the stories were celebrities including Sir Kenneth Branagh, Charles Dance, Eleanor Tomlinson and Jeremy Irons.
Jeremy Irons read 10-year-old Amabel’s winning entry It’s A Wide World. Irons said: “I think this is such a wonderful initiative, people writing, putting pens to paper or fingers to computers, while they’re writing a story, it’s wonderful.”
“It’s what we, as actors, we feed on because we need stories. I want stories to read, I want stories to act – to turn into films to turn into plays. It’s really a fantastic initiative.”
Photo Credit: UK in Sweden via Flickr