SUPPORT OUR JOURNALISM: Please considering donating to keep our website running and free for all - thank you!

British RoyalsPrince Charles and Camilla

The Duchess of Cornwall praises young writers for using creativity to overcome the challenges of 2020


The Duchess of Cornwall has attended the virtual awards ceremony for The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, presenting on behalf of The Queen.

Camilla launched this year’s essay competition during a royal visit of New Zealand in 2019. In a speech, Camilla said, “Every year, your entries get better and better and, once again, I have been blown away by your brilliance.”

Camilla’s speech was recorded at Clarence House, the first time the Competition’s ceremony had been virtual.

“I launched the 2020 Competition twelve months ago when I was visiting Tūranga library in Christchurch, New Zealand, meeting schoolchildren at a writing workshop involving local authors, teachers and New Zealand’s Poet Laureate, David Eggleton,” Camilla said.

“It was a memorable and happy day. The theme, I announced, was ‘Climate Action and the Commonwealth;’ a theme which clearly inspired young people to put their ideas, their concerns, their hopes and their fears down on paper in a kaleidoscope of different ways – in essays, in stories and in poems.

“Amazingly, since the launch, there have been 12,888 entries from young people across the Commonwealth: one of the most successful Competitions on record. I am incredibly proud of all of you for overcoming the year’s challenges with your outstanding creativity on this vitally important subject. Thank you for taking part.”

The Senior Winner of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition is 14-year-old Aditya Choudhury, from Singapore, who wrote ‘Voices from the Blue World’ about “a grouper fish speaking at an underwater conference on the impact that climate change has had on the ocean community.”

The Senior Runner-Up is 16-year-old Ananya Mukerji, from India, who wrote ‘The Waters Rise,’ about “an impassioned call to recognise the impact of climate change on small island-states and the need to take action.”

The Junior Winner is 13-year-old Cassandra Nguyen, from Canada, who wrote a poem ‘Actions Speaker Louder” about “the importance of taking action in the fight against climate change and environmental degradation.”

The Junior Runner-Up is 10-year-old Eleni Bazikamwe, from Ghana, who wrote ‘The Little Prince Comes Back to Earth,’ about the “impact that environmental degradation has had on wildlife populations.”

David Walliams and Alexandra Burke, who are ambassadors of the Royal Commonwealth Society, were joined by writer and actor, Stephen Fry, and Bollywood star, Kareena Kapoor, to read extracts from the winning pieces during the ceremony.

Previous entrants also participated in the ceremony, as did judges Anthony Horowitz and Matthew Parris.

The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition is held annually by the Royal Commonwealth Society and is the world’s oldest school essay competition. It was first held in 1883. The purpose of the competition is to give “creative young writers the opportunity to explore contemporary themes through the written word.”

Camilla is Vice Patron of The Royal Commonwealth Society. The Queen is its Patron.

About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.