Queen Consort Launches New Literary Charity
By Megan Whitlock
The Queen’s Reading Room, an online community created by Queen Consort Camilla during the pandemic, has now been launched as a charity. A tweet from the official @RoyalFamily account stated that “The online community celebrates books from around the world and the extraordinary people who create them.” The aim of the charity will be to provide accessible opportunities for people of all ages to engage with books, seeking “to advance education by closing the gap between writers and readers through accessible, educational and free literary content available year round.” [royalreadingroom.uk]
The current Queen’s Reading Room website contains weekly book picks, exclusive author readings and audio, roundtable conversations between writers such as Cressida Cowell, Anthony Horowitz and Elif Shafak (tackling everything from “how to create suspense” to “what is the role of the writer in critical issues?”) and author profiles and interviews. The website also features sections for children, as well as book recommendations. Book read-alongs are organised in “seasons” throughout the year so that members of the community can read simultaneously as one large online book group.
To kick things off, the charity has announced its inaugural festival. It will take place on 11 June 2023, and be based at the Hampton Court Palace grounds. During the event, guests will be able to tour the historic grounds where Shakespeare and his King’s Men performed, listen to actors reading poetry and attend literary shows and talks. The literary festival already boasts headliners such as Dame Judi Dench, David Olusoga (Black and British: A Forgotten History), Ken Follett (The Pillars of the Earth) and Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel, and all proceeds will be going towards the charity.
The official website for The Queen’s Reading Room contains the following statement from Camilla on the foundation of the charity and her motivations: “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 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.”
You can find out more here.