11th July 2017

David Walliams and Lauren Child among authors to celebrate with The Duchess at Clarence House

Literacy-focused charities and organisations are celebrating Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall’s upcoming 70th birthday by giving 70 primary schools across the UK a set of 70 children’s books and specially designed bookshelves.

The Duchess is Patron of the six organisations involved - the National Literacy Trust, Beanstalk, BookTrust, First Story, Roald Dahl Literary Estate* and the Wicked Young Writer Awards. The 70 schools selected to receive the books have all shown they are committed to promoting reading for enjoyment, and many are in disadvantaged areas of the UK.

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was presented with a set of the 70 books on the special ‘Duchess’s Bookshelves’ during a garden party at Clarence House this morning (11 July). Pupils from Hemlington Hall Academy in Middlesbrough and Berkeley Primary School in Hounslow joined the celebrations, as well as top children’s authors Malorie Blackman, Lauren Child, Cressida Cowell, Charlie Higson, David Walliams and Jacqueline Wilson.

Primary school children and authors travelled to Clarence House in style on a vintage bus, where David Walliams took on the role of bus conductor in a 1950s uniform. As they joined the party, the children presented the bookshelves and talked to HRH about their favourite books. Guests also enjoyed storytelling with the authors in the gardens of the royal residence.

Ginny Lunn, CEO of Beanstalk:

  • "We’re delighted that so many children will discover the magic of reading thanks to these wonderful bookshelves that are being donated to schools across the country. We cannot think of a better gift in honour of our Patron HRH The Duchess of Cornwall’s birthday than the gift of reading.”

The 70 titles for the Duchess’s Bookshelves were chosen after primary schools across the country nominated the books they love and would like to give as a present. The list includes a wide a range to suit all ages and interests – from classics like A Bear Called Paddington and Matilda to new titles including Gangsta Granny and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Many of the books are included in key sponsor Renaissance Learning’s Accelerated Reader programme, which tests pupils’ reading comprehension with fun, motivational quizzes. The books and specially designed bookshelves were kindly donated by Peters.

See the list of the 70 books chosen for the Duchess’s Bookshelves.    


Media contacts

For further information or to request a spokesperson interview, please contact Danielle Wright, Communications Manager at the National Literacy Trust, on 020 7820 6262 or [email protected]

*HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was Patron of Roald Dahl 100, the celebrations to mark 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl in 2016. 

Notes to Editors

About the partners:

The National Literacy Trust is an independent charity that gives disadvantaged children the literacy skills they need to gain employment and to succeed in life.  www.literacytrust.org.uk

Beanstalk is a national charity whose trained volunteers provide one-to-one literacy support to children who struggle with their reading ability and confidence. www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk

BookTrust is the UK’s largest children’s reading charity. We transform lives by getting children and families reading; each year we reach 2.5 million children across the UK with books, resources and support. www.booktrust.org.uk

First Story brings talented, professional writers into secondary schools serving low-income communities to work with teachers and students to foster creativity and communication skills. www.firststory.org.uk 

Renaissance provides cloud-based assessment, teaching and learning programmes to almost 5,000 schools across the UK & Ireland. www.renlearn.co.uk

Peters is the UK’s leading supplier of books and furniture for nurseries, schools, academies, and public libraries. www.peters.co.uk

The Roald Dahl Literary Estate manages the copyrights and trademarks of author Roald Dahl, the world’s number one storyteller. HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was the Patron of Roald Dahl 100, the celebrations to mark 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl in 2016www.roalddahl.com

The Wicked Young Writer Awards inspire young people to use creative writing to look at life a little differently. Since its launch in 2010, the award has received over 25,000 entries. www.wickedyoungwriterawards.com