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Duchess of Cornwall awards winners of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition

The Duchess of Cornwall on behalf of The Queen, Patron of The Royal Commonwealth Society, held a Reception for winners of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition at Buckingham Palace on

This year, the competition became The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition in honour of The Queen’s role as both heads of the Commonwealth and Royal Commonwealth Society Patron.

Founded in 1883, The Royal Commonwealth Society received more than 13,000 entries from over 600 schools in 49 Commonwealth countries and territories.

The theme of the 2015 competition was ‘A Young Commonwealth’ and was sponsored by Cambridge University Press.

This year the top winners and runners-up came from Cyprus, Tristan da Cunha, Botswana and the Cayman Islands. This year the judges chose one additional senior entrant and two other junior participants to receive special honours. Over 3,000 participants won either a gold, silver or bronze award.

The winners and runners-up were flown to London for October’s ‘Winners’ Week’, five days of cultural and educational activities recognising their achievement. The week ended with the event at Buckingham Palace on Thursday.

Camilla awarded the young writers who travelled from across the Commonwealth to attend the reception. 11-year-old Nathan Swain, a junior winner travelled 5,500 miles from Tristan Da Cunha. Tristan Da Cunha is 2,816 kilometres (1,750 miles) from South Africa and 3,360 kilometres (2,088 miles) from South America and is the remotest island in the world. It took the young winner and his parents nine days to complete their journey.

16-year-old Paraschos Cant from Cyprus was awarded as the senior winner. His essay: ‘Youth versus experience,’ is a superbly composed letter to the leaders of the world.

“With a strong and upfront critical voice, it cleverly compares countries and citizens to classrooms and classmates but manages to do so with light-hearted humour and youthful naivety,” according to the Royal Commonwealth Society.

It is well-known that Camilla is an ardent reader and has a keen interest in promoting the advantages of reading both to children and adults alike. Hosting numerous literacy events, The Duchess has sat and read to children as well as met with adult readers eager to improve their literacy skills.

On Tuesday, The Duchess presented the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2015 and attended a reception and dinner at the Guildhall in London.

The Booker Prize Foundation has contributed to funding the National Literacy Trust’s Middlesbrough project, which Camilla visited in May 2013.

Featured Photo Credit: Northern Ireland Office via Flickr