From participating in video calls to penning articles to posting throwback photos of royal libraries, members of the Royal Family shared their love of literature to mark World Book Day.
Held annually on the first Thursday of March, the event promotes the joy of reading for pleasure and this year, the Duchess of Cornwall took part in a video chat with several authors to mark the occasion.
The Duchess, who is patron of the National Literacy Trust, joined the Oak National Academy and students from Acklam Whin Primary School in Middlesbrough alongside authors Tom Fletcher, Zanib Mian, and Katherine Rundell to read a story, talk about favourite pieces of literature, and answer some questions.
“To actually own your first book is something that you’re never going to forget,” Camilla said. “It’s going to be given a very special place, and I think it’s somehow in their psyche, that first book they read is going to be there forever. And it’s hopefully going to lead them on to reading more and more and discovering different authors and different subjects they’d like to read about, so I think for a lot of children out there, that World Book Day means actually the birth of reading, and that’s why it’s so important.”
When asked about her favourite children’s book, the Duchess, who recently started her own digital book club called The Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room, said, “When I was very young, which was about 100 years ago, I was a pony-mad child. I loved ponies, I loved horses, and there was a book called Moorland Mousie.” As a child, she also enjoyed “a lovely book called Swallows and Amazons” which the Duchess described as “just a really good adventure story, full of a lot of imagination.”
Meanwhile, the Royal Family shared a 1976 photo of The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in the library at Balmoral to mark World Book Day, along with a painting of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in the same room.
Princess Beatrice discussed her own love of reading in a piece she wrote for the Evening Standard, talking about dyslexia, reading during lockdown, and books she’s shared with her stepson.
“As you might already know I have dyslexia and as such reading has never been my strongest talent, however, having a little more time to take a moment to really get into stories has been a gift I am happy to have shared with lockdown life,” Beatrice wrote.
“I have found when things are a little uncertain, or if I am worried or scared of what the future might have in store, stepping into the worlds described on the pages of literature has given me a sense of reassurance. It reminds me that challenges and quests have been dared throughout the ages, and lessons learnt along the way make us stronger and more resilient.”
Of her new stepson, she said, “Helping him to engage with stories is a great journey to inspire imagination, creativity, independence and humour” and recommended the Oi Frog books by Kes Grey and Jim Field, which “have fast become our favourite.”
The first World Book Day was created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on April 23rd, 1995.