Camilla makes first public appearance since recovering from Covid
The Queen Consort has made her first public appearance since recovering from another bout of Covid-19 to launch her book project – founded to help people of all generations share a love of reading – as a charity.
The project, previously known as The Reading Room after being started as reading lists published on Instagram during lockdown in January 2021, has now become The Queen’s Reading Room.
It is hoped it will help boost a global love of literature.
It is Camilla’s first charity since she became Queen Consort and previously as the Duchess of Cornwall.
Camilla was joined by the King for the launch at a reception at Clarence House, attended by authors, literary figures and representatives of literacy charities.
She said: “With their extraordinary power to educate and inspire, books – from authors around the globe – have enriched my life since I was a child.
“It has therefore been such a joy to watch my Reading Room grow over the years into a thriving book community.
“Now, as a charity, I hope that we, together with our partners, can foster in adults and children alike a lifelong love of literature and connect more people with that special magic that can only be found in the leaves of a book.”
Actress Dame Judi Dench and historian David Olusoga will be among the speakers at the charity’s first literary festival, at Hampton Court Palace, on June 11.
Dame Judi has also done a reading of Shakespeare to coincide with the festival’s announcement.
The new charity will seek to celebrate books from a diverse range of authors around the world, chosen for their literary, educative and historic merit.
Another aim is to use its social media and online platforms to try to close the gap between writers and readers through accessible, educational and free literary content.
It is hoped more people will be able to connect with books they love and become lifelong readers.
The Queen’s Reading Room follows the success of Camilla’s book club, which has amassed more than 155,000 international followers.
The club features a wide range of books picked by Camilla, along with items such as author interviews, archive material and readings by famous contributors.
Charity trustee Gyles Brandreth said: “It’s exciting that Her Majesty has now established a new way to pursue her passion and commitment to literacy and literature.
“As everyone knows, she is a lifelong and enthusiastic reader and wants to help inspire children and adults alike in the UK – and around the world – to be so too.
“She literally wants to ‘spread the word’ – and that’s wonderful.”
The Queen’s Reading Room chief executive Vicki Perrin said: “Her Majesty has seen first-hand over her years of work in the field of literacy, the power of books to change lives – if only the right book can be connected with the right person.
“That’s going to be our mission with The Queen’s Reading Room – to work with our literacy charity partners to help more people find and connect with books which enrich their lives and turn them into lifelong readers.”
Camilla, 75, contracted coronavirus last week for the second time and missed a run of engagements after suffering cold-like symptoms.
Buckingham Palace announced on February 13 that Camilla had tested positive for Covid-19.
She missed visits to Milton Keynes, Birmingham and Telford last week and postponed a Clarence House literary reception to celebrate the second anniversary of her Reading Room book club.
Buckingham Palace said Camilla had made an “excellent recovery” but had taken time out ahead of a busy day of royal engagements on Thursday.