The Queen Consort is recognised as a champion on literacy in the UK and internationally, with a particular focus on encouraging a love of reading and writing from an early age.
As a grandmother, Her Majesty understands the joy of reading, but also the importance of literacy in creating life opportunities. The Queen Consort has visited many schools and libraries, as well as workplace reading schemes and prisons to see the work of adult literacy schemes. As The Duchess of Cornwall, Her Majesty became Patron of numerous literary organisations in the UK including the National Literacy Trust, First Story, Coram Beanstalk, Booktrust and Book Aid International.
The Queen Consort has previously been involved with BBC Radio 2's "500 Words" creative writing competition for children, both as a judge and attending the finals. As Vice-Patron of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Her Majesty continues to support its flagship literacy project, The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition, and has hosted the annual winners’ reception at Buckingham Palace since 2013. Over the previous years, Her Majesty has also attended overseas events to launch the competition in New Zealand, St Vincent, Ghana, Gambia and Malaysia.
In 2020, The Queen Consort joined film-maker Taika Waititi as a guest for a charitable reading of James and The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl on YouTube. The campaign, run by the Roald Dahl Story Company, also supported charities helping those affected by Covid-19.
Also during the national lockdown, Her Majesty published a list of her favourite book recommendations over the Easter weekend in 2020, and shared five more in August 2020. The hugely positive response to these lists prompted The then Duchess to create an online space to continue this conversation, and in January 2021 The Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room platform was launched – a community space for book lovers to visit, and to see videos, photographs and commentary from some of Her Majesty’s recommended authors.
You open our eyes to others' experiences and remind us that we are not alone. Human beings have always needed the connection of literature - its wisdom as well as its sheer escapism.
In February 2023, the platform was relaunched as The Queen's Reading Room charity, working to provide opportunities for the appreciation of literature amongst adults and children in the UK and around the world. The new charity's aim is to advance education by closing the gap between writers and readers through accessible, educational and free literary content available year-round. It will stage its inaugural literary festival at Hampton Court Palace on the 11th June 2023.
On World Book Day 2023, Her Majesty was filmed in conversation with the Children's Laureate, Joseph Coelho, to discuss a shared love of books, the importance of reading in childhood, and the joy of sharing stories with loved ones.
The more books you read, the more you are going to understand about different places, different cultures, different ways of life.