The royal battled dyslexia as a child, but learned a love of reading with the help of her parents

By Diana Pearl
March 02, 2017 05:55 PM
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As a child, Princess Beatrice felt insecure at school because her reading skills lagged behind her classmates — and before long she was diagnosed with dyslexia, which offered an explanation for her difficulties.

In honor of World Book Day on Thursday (which coincides with Dr. Seuss’s birthday), and her new role as patron of Oscar’s Book Prize, which recognizes children’s book authors, Beatrice opened up to The Evening Standard about the learning disorder, and how her parents, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, helped her learn to read.

“Reading was really hard work, even trying to get through the pages of some of the simple school reading books,” the royal, 28, shared. “I could not understand why I was still reading behind my classmates. It was at this point that stories became one of the key things which inspired me.”

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After her diagnosis, Beatrice’s parents made an effort to help their daughter get excited about reading through creating stories.

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With her parents’ guidance, Beatrice says that she overcame the challenges the learning disorder presented, and by age 11, was “tearing through” the Harry Potter series.

When Beatrice was a child, Andrew was still serving as a helicopter pilot in the Royal Navy, which often led him to be away from his family. Sarah created a story that featured a helicopter as a character, and imagined what the pilots were doing from day to day.

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“To help us feel close to him, my mother was inspired to create the Budgie the Little Helicopter series based on imagining the many adventures brave helicopter pilots would face every day,” she wrote. “To this day, these stories make me think back, with the fondest memories, to a time when books would take me into the best adventures and fill my mind with the best images.”

And after their royal duties took both Andrew and Ferguson away from their daughters, they’d leave a special recording for them so they didn’t feel far apart from their parents.

“If my parents ever traveled they would take time to record some of my favorite books on tape and I would listen to their voices as I fell asleep,” she said. “[It’s] one of my favorite memories from storytime with my parents.”