The Duchess of Cornwall hosted a special tea party at Clarence House today to celebrate her Duchess’s Book Project for children.
Excited youngsters from Hemlington Academy in Middlesbrough and Berkely Primary School in Hounslow were invited to the event and arrived on a special bus – with television funny man and kids author David Walliams as the conductor.
The party, which also celebrated Camilla’s upcoming 70th birthday, was marked by children across the country voting on their 70 favourite children’s books.
As a special gift, the duchess was presented with her own set of the 70 books, while 70 other complete sets will be distributed to worthwhile children’s projects around the UK.
At the party, Camilla met authors including Walliams, Malorie Blackman, Lauren Child and Jacqueline Wilson, whose works all appear on the distinguished favourites list.
The duchess said: “Can I just say that am thrilled to be patron of so many literacy charities. It’s something I love. It’s no hardship for me, I just adore it.
“I know most of the books backwards because I read them to my grandchildren. I will have a terrible time with them fighting over this bookshelf. I am going to plonk it somewhere in the middle and let them borrow them.”
The impressive list of 70 books includes old favourites like A Bear Called Paddington and Matilda, together with new titles including Walliams’ Gangsta Granny and Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.
Walliams, who is an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust, said: “It’s really important kids have access to books and what I like about this list is it’s a fun list chosen by the kids, it’s not a list we think they should read, it’s a list of books they like reading and want to share with other kids.
“You never forget the book you find and read for your own pleasure, for me it was Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.”
The Duchess of Cornwall is patron or closely involved with six organisations involved in the 70 books project: the National Literacy Trust, Beanstalk, BookTrust, First Story, Roald Dahl Literary Estate and the Wicked Young Writer Awards.