'I love to bury myself in a book': The Duchess of Cornwall reveals her passion for reading
The Duchess of Cornwall has revealed how reading helps her to de-stress.
She divulged her lifelong passion for reading to staff at the Transport for London (TfL) headquarters in London today.
The 64-year-old royal was accompanied by author Tony Parsons as she read extracts from his novel Beyond The Bounty – a tale of mutiny and murder in paradise – to adults enrolled on an English course.
The Duchess of Cornwall has revealed that she enjoys nothing more than a good book to help clear her mind
The classes are open to all employees who want to improve their
confidence and ability with spoken and written English.
During a reading session Camilla explained: 'I spend my life reading to
my grandchildren, trying to get them to concentrate. It takes you
completely out of yourself.
'You can forget about everything else and bury yourself in a book.'
The Duchess has long promoted the benefits of reading both to children and adults, and is Patron of four organisations including the The National Literacy Trust, the Wicked Young
Writers' Award, Booktrust and First Story.
TfL runs an Improve Your English course at its HQ in
London.The program is supported by the Quick Reads charity which helps distribute millions of short adult and children's books across the country.
Parsons is just one of the authors
involved with the initiative and has contributed by penning a short novel
especially geared towards those who may be dyslexic, a stranger to
books, or have simply fallen out of the habit of reading.
The Duchess of Cornwall and author Tony Parsons (back row R) pose for a photograph as they take part in an Improve your English class at the TfL HQ
Camilla has long promoted the benefits of reading and is Patron of four organisations
He said that although he came from a
relatively poor family, there were always books in the house and added
that to deny your children that privilege is 'like sending your your
child to school with no shoes on'.
Speaking about the charity and the
campaign, he said: 'It's a campaign that will never end and it's a
campaign that we can feel that we are winning.'
Nzinga Okera, a station assistant with TfL who joined the company's class nine years ago, is dyslexic and found herself reading an extract from Parsons' novel today in front of Camilla.
She said she was very nervous but believed that a visit from a member of the royal family was important.
It is important for someone from the royals or someone from that circle to see that – us reading
'It shows that, even if you don't associate with them, having a conversation on a one-to-one level – I can see that actually we're not that different.
'It is important for someone from the royals or someone from that circle to see that – us reading.'
Despite her confident appearance the
Duchess acknowledged that it was 'nerve wrecking' to read aloud and said
the people who did so were 'so
Camilla told students that it was very nice to be with them and enthused about how much she loves reading in her spare time.
She added: 'You can tell from all of you that you really enjoy it.'
Kathy Gale, project director at Quick Reads, which was launched in 2006 in response to a government report that revealed one third of
the population never picks up a book, said:
'Quick Reads are designed for people who have lost the reading habit
for whatever reason, maybe they think it's for posh people or that it's
because they read big books at school.'
While Camilla spent the day in west London the Prince of Wales visited the Bromley by Bow Centre
Speaking about Camilla's attendance at the event today, she said: 'She comes to an event like this and talks to people and it makes them feel good about themselves. She is very, very warm – there isn't really a sense of distance.'
While she spent the day in west London Camilla's husband the Prince of Wales, met with people from a community organisation east of the city.
Charles went to the Bromley by Bow Centre in east London, which he last visited in 2002, to see how it has approached health, well-being and social enterprise in the last decade.
Charles planted a tree in the centre's garden in memory of Vanessa Barker, who founded one of the Bromley by Bow's successful social enterprises
He met doctors and patients from the centre's GP practice as well as staff and clients from the Pollen project, which offers therapeutic, horticultural and art-related activities for people with mental health issues.
He also chatted with staff and clients from Arteast, which runs design and print enterprises, along with social entrepreneurs who have recently set up their own businesses through the centre's Beyond Business programme.
Each week the centre supports families, young people and adults of all ages to improve their lives in areas such as health and employment.
There are more than 100 projects and social enterprises ongoing at the centre, including complimentary therapies, art studios, a nursery, community care projects, landscape design, graphic design, furniture, public art and a community cafe.
Charles planted a tree in the centre's garden in memory of Vanessa Barker, who founded one of the Bromley by Bow's successful social enterprises, Green Dreams, which was a landscape gardening project.
The centre's assistant chief executive, Dr Julia Davis, showed the Prince around the health centre today and said they talked about some of the centre's programmes.
'There were lots of community members that came for the whole event and I think they were really excited,' she said. 'He seemed very impressed with what we've done here and what we've developed since 2002. I hope he was impressed.
'You rarely get that chance to showcase your work. I think it brings the whole community together and when something like this happens, well, there was a lot of excitement here today.'
Lord Andrew Mawson, founder and president of the centre, said: 'It's been fantastic to welcome Prince Charles back to the Bromley by Bow Centre, and even more of an honour to introduce him to the people and partners that are helping us to transform lives here in Bow.'