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British Royals

Queen Camilla celebrates Northern Irish poetry on World Poetry Day

Queen Camilla couldn’t pass up an opportunity to celebrate World Poetry Day while in Northern Ireland, and the event was a true showcase for the talented poets and artists who hail from the region.

Buckingham Palace shared that The Queen’s Reading Room—an online book club that started during the COVID-19 pandemic and evolved into a charity in 2023—hosted the event at Hillsborough Castle to celebrate Northern Ireland’s rich catalogue of poetry and poets.

The Queen joined Michelle O’Neill, the First Minister of Northern Ireland, and Emma Little-Pengelly, the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland for the event, which was titled ‘Northern Ireland: Poets and the Their Place.’

Performances included poet Michael Longley and actors Ian McElhinney and Frances Tomelty as they traced the history of Northern Irish poetry from the 18th century to the modern period. The poems chosen were performed in English, Irish and the Ulster Scots dialect.

Michelle O’Neill posted on X: “A wonderful celebration of our diverse cultural heritage and rich local talent with performances in Irish, English, and Ulster Scots by some of our many great poets, authors, and actors.

“Our diversity is one of our greatest assets, it is what makes us unique, what gives us strength, and what allows us to thrive as a society.”

Buckingham Palace noted that “The Queen has a strong interest in highlighting the importance of literature and has long been recognised as a supporter of literature in the UK and internationally,” and guests were invited from literary, arts, and library groups within Northern Ireland, like The Camilla Club at the Kilcooley Women’s Centre, the Arts Council Northern Ireland, and Libraries NI.

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.