Queen Camilla reflects on importance of reading in childhood for World Book Day
Queen Consort Camilla has spoken about the importance of reading at an early age to help children understand different places, cultures and ways of life.
To mark World Book Day on Thursday, the 75 year oldroyal sat down with Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho to discuss their shared love of books and reveal their favourite tales as a child.
She also reflected on how reading to her grandchildren has been a “wonderful” bonding experience which has helped them to become bookworms.
A video of the conversation, which was recorded last month in theClarence House Library, was released by BookTrust to mark the annual book day which encourages children to read for pleasure.
Discussing reading with her grandchildren, Camilla said: “It was just a wonderful way of getting to know them, as you say, bonding. Sitting on the end of their bed and just reading.
“We took it in turn to find our favourite stories and what’s lovely is it’s really got them reading. They are bookworms now.
“It’s so lovely if I go and see them, I find them tucked up in bed with a book saying: ‘Please don’t turn off the light, I’ve got to finish this chapter.'”
She added: “It is really nice when you see the pure enjoyment that children are getting out of reading and if you get that at a very early age, it’s going to help you so much in future life.
“Because the earlier you read, the more you are going to understand, the more books you read, the more you’re going to understand about different places, different cultures, different ways of life.”
The Queen Consort also recalled the emotional impact that some books had on her as a child, including Black Beauty by Anna Sewell and Grimms’ Fairy Tales.
Reflecting on her favourite childhood books, she revealed: “I think I have to admit, in the end, I ended up probably being a sort of pony-mad child with Black Beauty, which I howled over, night after night after night.”
Camilla goes on to recount to Coelho how adventure stories inspired her and her siblings to camp, saying: “It takes you into a sort of multitude of different worlds.”
On Grimms’ Fairy Tales, she added: “I remember going to bed at night and having quite bad dreams about them.
“I think as children half of you wants to be scared – you don’t want to be scared too much, but it’s that sort of frisson of just being a little bit frightened.”
Coelho replied: “Books are a safe space, where you can be a little bit scared, and it’s OK. You can close the covers, get under your duvet!”
Literature lover Camilla, who set up her own Reading Room online book club, is a passionate advocate of encouraging children to read.
She holds a number of patronages related to literature, including the Book Trust and the National Literacy Trust, and has presented the prestigious Booker Prize in past years.
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