Duchess of Cornwall says it’s ‘largely a parent’s job’ to teach early reading

The Duchess of Cornwall stressed the importance of learning to read early in life and said it was “the job of parents” to get their “very young” children to read.

culminating via a video call for her online reading room group, Camilla also revealed which books are currently on her bedside table and what her reading would be on the desert island.

The Duchess spoke on the call with Daisy Buchanan, an author who writes for the Daily Telegraph, as she toured Meta’s new offices in central London.

Asked by Ms Buchanan why she thinks reading is so important for children, Camilla said: “The earlier you can learn, the better.

“I think it’s really a parent’s job, to get children to read at a very young age by reading to them, because as young as you are, you absorb stories.

“The more stories you absorb, the more interested you will be in the future.

“I think for anyone reading a story can take you to so many different worlds.

“You can go places you thought you would never get to.

“As difficult as things are, you can step away from it and get into your own world for a bit.

“I think it’s the most therapeutic thing you can do.

“After confinement, especially, when we were all in a world we did not understand.

“What’s better than picking up a book?”

“So many people have started reading again, which is really good news.”


General view of the books (Ryan Phillips/PA)

General view of the books (Ryan Phillips/PA)

Camilla said her book on a desert island would be The Chronicles of Cazalet because the series is “so beautifully written” by Elizabeth Jane Howard who she described as “a very underrated writer”.

The Duchess explained: “I can read them over and over again, I’ve listened to them on audiobook, I’ve read them I don’t know how many times.

“The saddest thing ever, I wrote him a fan letter when I finished fifth, I said ‘oh I can’t wait for another one’.

“She wrote back to me and said ‘I’m writing another one’ and then she died.

“That was the saddest thing.

“You’re a little on hold, she never really finished them.”

“Sometimes I wonder if another author will come and finish them.”

Camilla added that she has “a huge stack of books” on her reading list, including City Of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, which she has almost finished, The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles and George III by Andrew Roberts .

The Duchess added that her favorite uplifting reads are books by Molly Keane.

Ms Buchanan also asked Camilla about the literary characters of her dream dinner guests.

The Duchess revealed she would choose “a pretty extraordinary mix” including the Count of Monte Cristo, Mrs Danvers and Count Fosco from The Woman in White, who she described as “two rather devious characters to spice it all up”.

“I think they would cause a lot of trouble and I wanted someone a little different,” she said.

The Duchess added that she would also invite her personal heroines Elizabeth Bennett, “a good strong woman to keep the show on the road”, and Uncle Matthew from The Pursuit Of Love “with his entrenchment tool to keep everyone under control”.

The Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room, an online literary hub, was launched in January 2021, inspired by the success of the Duchess’s shared reading lists during the pandemic in 2020.

Camilla shares her love of reading via her Instagram account and has been praised by lead author Sir Philip Pullman for championing literature.

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