Helena Bonham Carter and Miriam Margolyes headline Queen’s literary festival

Harry Potter film stars Helena Bonham Carter and Miriam Margolyes are among the line-up for the Queen’s Reading Room festival.

Camilla’s event builds on the success of last year’s literary festival, which had more than 8,000 visitors in the first year it was organised at Hampton Court Palace.

During the day, Oscar-nominated actress Bonham Carter, 57, will join William Sieghart for a live version of his BBC Radio 4 show Poetry Pharmacy as they explore the art form along with friends.

Graham Norton Show – London
Miriam Margolyes will explore the works of Charles Dickens (Isabel Infantes/PA)

The programme also sees Margolyes take to the stage along with other guests to explore the characters of Charles Dickens’ novels from poor orphan Oliver Twist to Great Expectations’ wealthy spinster Miss Havisham and David Copperfield’s housekeeper Clara Peggotty.

Margolyes has previously spoken to the Radio Times of “being terribly upset” at not being cast in the 2016 BBC show Dickensian, which explores various characters from the 19th century novelist’s books encountering each other, because of her love of the author.

The 82-year-old actress has fronted the documentary Dickens In America and had a one-woman show about his world called Dickens’ Women.

Also headlining the Queen’s Reading Room festival are the authors Sir Ian Rankin, Ann Cleeves, Lee Child, Elif Shafak, Kate Mosse, Mick Herron and Harlan Coben.

Sir Ian Rankin will be in conversation with his fellow mystery writers, Cleeves and Child, to talk about how to construct the “perfect crime” and the “art of creating tension”.

The Queen’s Reading Room chief executive Vicki Perrin said: “Last year’s Queen’s Reading Room festival was a joyous occasion, filled with laughter and fantastic story-telling set against the magical backdrop of Hampton Court Palace.

“We can’t wait to replicate it again this year and build on our success with a brilliant programme of stellar international authors and performances from much-loved actors.

“We know that the 2024 festival will be an unmissable summer event and we look forward to seeing you there.”

Meanwhile, Mosse will present a one-woman show about women during war and Shafak will speak about her latest novel There Are Rivers In The Sky.

Fool Me Once executive producer Coben and Herron, whose works were adapted into Apple+ series Slow Horses, are set to be in conversation together about their literary creations turning into shows.

The Queen’s Reading Room charity reception
The Queen with Sir Ian Rankin (Yui Mok/PA)

Other speakers include historian Mary Beard, screenwriter Alex Michaelides and broadcaster Reverend Richard Coles.

Camilla’s reading room began as an Instagram book club inspired during lockdown.

It was relaunched as a charity in February 2023 to work on advancing education by promoting the appreciation of literature among adults and children.

The festival is a co-production between The Queen’s Reading Room and Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that cares for Hampton Court Palace.

Nicola Andrews, group director of Historic Royal Palaces, said: “This year we look forward once more to playing host to whole range of stars from the arts and literary world, with the palace and its long connection with literature forming a fitting backdrop for what promises to be an exciting day of talks, tours and performances.”

The Queen’s Reading Room festival takes place from 11am on June 8.