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British RoyalsPrince Charles and Camilla

Camilla reveals origins of her deep love for books

The Duchess of Cornwall discusses her love of reading on the Today programme
Photo by BBC/ Clarence House

The Duchess of Cornwall has revealed her favourite childhood books in a new interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Speaking with Lord Dobbs, Camilla revealed that the classic Black Beauty by Anna Sewell was her favourite book growing up as a “pony mad child.” She said: “I thought of very little else apart from horses and ponies and charging about on them, so I think Black Beauty was the first book that stuck in my mind.”

She continued: “I can see it now – there was Ginger. Every time I think about poor old Ginger with his head hanging out of the cart with his tongue hanging it makes me cry now, and I think that was possibly one of my favourites.”

Camilla has often spoken about her late father, Major Bruce Shand, who instilled a love of reading in his children by reading aloud to them. Another childhood favourite, thanks to her father’s reading habits, was The Scarlet Pimpernel. “He became this great hero in all our eyes and I loved all the adventures.”

The love of reading is something Camilla has been keen to pass on with her own family. Revealing that she’d bought books for her grandchildren this year, she told Lord Dobbs that she has “a granddaughter that’s very into Philip Pullman and she’s been through His Dark Materials so I think I got her La Belle Sauvage and the twin boys, one I got Dracula and the other I put onto Lord of the Rings…so those are the children’s books.”

Camilla closed out the interview encouraging people to read, saying: “If you learn to read, however difficult your life is at the time, you can pick up a book and you can escape. You can laugh, you can cry, it just takes you out of the real world and it gives you a different dimension to life.”

Camilla launched The Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room on Instagram earlier this year. Her interview will appear on the BBC 4 radio programme on 27 December between the hours of 6:00-9:00. The Prince of Wales will also appear during Lord Dobbs’ guest programming, reading an excerpt from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.