The royal's new Reading Room seeks to help people "discover new books and meet the extraordinary people who create them"

By Stephanie Petit
January 15, 2021 10:05 AM
Camilla Duchess of Cornwall reading room
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
| Credit: Jennifer Pattinson for The Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall's virtual book club is here!

Just weeks after announcing her new literacy initiative called the Reading Room, Camilla has unveiled four books chosen by the royal herself.

"To me, reading is a great adventure," Camilla, 73, said in a video shared on the Reading Room's Instagram page. "I've loved it since I was very small and I'd love everybody else to enjoy it as much as I do. You can escape, and you can travel, and you can laugh and you can cry. There's every type of emotion humans experience in a book."

Camilla kicked off season one of the initiative with four titles: The Mirror and The Light by Hilary Mantel, Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Restless by William Boyd and The Architect's Apprentice by Elif Shafak.

Each book will be highlighted on the Reading Room through a "Book Club Kit" to spark further discussion amongst readers. The kits were created by the Reading Room Book Researchers as part of the Lockdown Reading Project, a collaboration between the University of Portsmouth and the University of Copenhagen to study how reading habits are changing in the face of COVID-19.

New books will be added each season, with the second list of recommended reads expected this spring. 

The creation of the Duchess of Cornwall's Reading Room was inspired by the positive response to her book recommendations to help people through quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room
Credit: The Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room

"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.' "

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One of Camilla's key causes in her royal life is promoting literacy.

"As an enthusiastic reader, The Duchess works to promote the benefits of reading both to children and adults," according to her page on the royal family's website. "She often reads aloud to children, and has engaged with adult readers aiming to improve their reading skills. She is Patron of a number of literacy charities, including the National Literacy Trust, Book Trust, First Story, the Wicked Young Writer's Awards and Beanstalk. Her Royal Highness has been an Honorary Judge for the BBC Radio 2 500 Words creative writing competition since 2016."