Camilla stood inside a "Wendy house" at Birkhall in Scotland built for Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret when they were children

By Stephanie Petit
June 12, 2020 01:15 PM
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Clarence House/Twitter

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall chose the perfect setting to give a speech about the power of imagination.

Prince Charles' wife was set to celebrate the 10th anniversary of 500 Words, a short story writing competition for children, by meeting the finalists at Buckingham Palace today. Although the party went virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic, Camilla added a touch of magic to her video message by recording it from inside a playhouse built in 1935 for Queen Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret.

Camilla delivered a speech from inside her mother-in-law's "Wendy house" at Birkhall in Scotland, where she and Prince Charles have been quarantining amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The 72-year-old royal spoke about the success of the 500 words competition, and even joked about her age.

"It hasn’t just got children excited about reading and writing — lots of grown-ups have got very excited too," she said. "Including me, the competition’s rather ancient fairy godmother!"

"Now this year, we may have been confined to our homes, but nobody can confine imagination," Camilla encouraged listeners. "Once again, I have been blown away by your genius and creativity."

During quarantine, Camilla shared a list of nine book recommendations.

"Ernest Hemingway, famously, once said 'There is no friend as loyal as a book.' In these challenging times when we are isolated from the ones we love, many of us are finding comfort in reading, to fire up our imaginations, to take us on journeys and to make us laugh,” the royal said in a statement. "With that in mind here is a list of my dearest 'friends.' "

Included among the curated list were the classic Charles Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities as well as The Cazalet Chronicles series by Elizabeth Jane Howard, which the duchess described as her pick to keep her company on a deserted island.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Clarence House

Camilla also took part in an epic reading of the beloved book James and the Giant Peach, teaming up with Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, comedic actor Josh Gad and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi over video chat.

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The royal, who is patron of a number of literacy charities, took on the role of the Ship's Captain, but not before warning (with a laugh!) that she's "not much of an actor, but I shall do my best."