Princess Beatrice of York has become the patron of Oscar’s Book Prize. In a revealing article, she wrote for The Standard for World Book Day, the Princess shared how difficult reading was for her as a child. She praised her parents for helping her grow to love stories despite her childhood diagnosis of dyslexia.
Oscar’s Book Prize was created in memory of Oscar Ashton, son of James Ashton, a columnist for The Standard. Oscar died at age three in 2012 from an undetected heart condition. The £5,000 award for a book published last year for children ages five and under honours his love for reading. The National Literacy Trust and Amazon have also added their support to this book prize. The Princess judged the entries for the 2016 prize. This year’s ceremony will take place on 15 May.
On becoming the patron, the Princess told The Standard: “I am delighted to become the patron of Oscar’s Book Prize.
“Taking the time to read together as a family became a ritual for us, and I treasure the memories created whilst poring over the pages of the books my mother would collect for us, many of which I treasure to this day.”
Beatrice hopes that dyslexia will be seen as an “opportunity” rather than an “inhibition.” She went on to say: “I was diagnosed with dyslexia quite early in my childhood, and it was noticeable in my reading abilities.
“Reading was really hard work, even trying to get through the pages of some of the simple school reading books.
“I could not understand why I was still reading behind my classmates. It was at this point that stories became one of the key things which inspired me.
“I was lucky my mother, with her great imagination, took the time to work on these with me. By the time I read Harry Potter, aged 11, I tore through the pages.”
Sarah, Beatrice’s mother, has published several book series for children. The 28-year-old Princess has many memories of her mother’s stories: “During my early years my father was in the Royal Navy as a helicopter pilot and spent a lot of time at sea.
“To help us feel close to him, my mother was inspired to create the Budgie The Little Helicopter series. To this day, these stories make me think back, with the fondest memories, to a time when books would take me into the best adventures.”
If you’d like to read the entire article written by Princess Beatrice, you can do so at this link.