The Duchess of Cornwall joins the live final of 500 Words short story writing competition

Published 12 June 2020
The Duchess of Cornwall at the 2019 live final of 500 Words

The Duchess of Cornwall this morning joined the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2 via phone as part of the Live Final of the 500 Words creative writing competition.

In a live discussion with host Zoe Ball and the initiative’s creator, Chris Evans, The Duchess reflected on a decade of 500 Words and five years of her own involvement. 

The 500 Words competition, which will conclude after this year’s event, was started in 2010 by radio presenter Chris Evans and invites children from across the UK to write an original story using no more than 500 words.

As part of the virtual event, a prerecorded message from The Duchess was played, congratulating the finalists and celebrating a decade of getting children excited about reading and writing. Her Royal Highness delivered the speech from a Wendy house on the estate, originally built in 1935 for the then Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. In the message, The Duchess said:

Now this year, we may have been confined to our homes, but nobody can confine imagination. Once again, I have been blown away by your genius and creativity.

During the live show, the winners of the Silver, Bronze and Gold prizes were announced while the 56 finalists joined a video call with special guests including children’s author David Walliams, dancer Oti Mabuse and choir director Gareth Malone. 

The Duchess first supported the competition in 2015 when she hosted the final at St James's Palace and since then has acted as an Honorary Judge. 



View this post on Instagram


“Just like many of you this year, 500 Words is having to settle for a virtual birthday party, rather than the one we had planned. I was really looking forward to meeting the Finalists at Buckingham Palace today. But, thankfully, technology has brought us together across the airwaves – and we will still celebrate as hard as we can.” . This morning, The Duchess of Cornwall joined the live final of the #500Words creative writing competition on @bbcradio2 as part of the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show. In a conversation with @zoetheball and Chris Evans, HRH reflected on her five years supporting the competition, which invites children from across the UK to write an original story using no more than 500 words, and discussed some of her favourite stories from young writers. As part of the virtual event, a prerecorded message from The Duchess was played, congratulating the finalists and celebrating a decade of getting children excited about reading and writing. 🖊 HRH delivered the speech from a Wendy house on the estate originally built in 1935 for the then Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. This is the fifth year that HRH has supported 500 Words. In 2015, The Duchess hosted the competition final at St James's Palace and since then, The Duchess has been an Honorary Judge. Follow @bbcradio2 to see more from the final, including HRH’s message in full, and take a look at our Instagram Story 🎉📝 The photographs in this post are from past 500 Words competition finals. 📸 PA

A post shared by Clarence House (@clarencehouse) on