The Queen celebrates literacy in East Sussex


The Queen has spent the day celebrating literacy in East Sussex. Read on for more.

The Queen at Charleston House

At the Charleston Festival 2024, The Queen surprised guests by attending opening session, ‘Power of Reading’. 

The Queen at the Charleston Festival

Aiming to celebrate the power of books and reading for children and young people, Her Majesty joined Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho and local primary school children to celebrate the magic of children’s literature.

The Charleston Festival

Her Majesty joined Joseph Coelho on stage for a conversation about books they loved as children, followed by a reading from one of these children’s books. 

The Queen at the Charleston Festival

The Queen also joined a reception in the walled garden, where she met schoolchildren who had joined the opening session, authors, speakers from the Festival, Charleston staff and supporters of Charleston and the Festival.

The Queen at the Charleston Festival

At the Church of Saint Mary, bells rung to welcome Her Majesty.

Within the Church, Her Majesty met representatives from local organisations who have supported their community, including the Royal Voluntary Service of which Her Majesty is Patron, Mothers’ Union, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and Royal British Legion.

The Queen arrives at the Church of St Mary's

At Lamb House, once home to novelists Henry James, Rumer Godden and E. F. Benson, The Queen joined a Garden Party with organisations in celebration of Rye’s renowned literary history.

Lamb House is one of the most prominent residences in Rye. Built in 1723 by James Lamb and now owned by the National Trust, the house has seen centuries of different owners, including the novelists Henry James, Rumer Godden, and E. F. Benson. 

The Queen at Lamb House

A prolific writer of fiction, ghost stories and non-fiction, E. F. Benson is best remembered for his ‘Mapp and Lucia’ novels which were set in the fictional town of Tilling, based on Rye. Lamb House was the inspiration for Mapp’s home, Mallards, complete with the famous Garden Room (which was bombed during the Second World War).

The Queen at Lamb House

After a brief tour of the House, Her Majesty was shown items relating to literature from its historic collection. Her Majesty then joined guests in the garden to celebrate Rye’s literacy history. Guests included members of the Friends of Tilling, the E. F. Benson Society, and staff and volunteers from the National Trust. 

The Queen at Lamb House

After departing Lamb House, Her Majesty walked down Rye’s Mermaid Street and saw some of the other houses that inspired E. F. Benson’s work.

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