QUEEN Consort Camilla has hailed the “life-changing” power of reading.
The 75-year-old royal paid a visit to Coram Beanstalk on Thursday to mark the organisation’s 50th anniversary and admitted she is “very proud” to be associated with the charity, which aims to foster a love of reading in children.
After cutting a cake in honour of the occasion, Camilla told the audience, which included a group of primary school children: “I’m a very proud patron of Coram Beanstalk, I’ve been involved for quite a long time.
“I had no idea how huge it was and how many different things you’ve encompassed over the years, especially the children. It is literally life-changing for them.
“We’ve got this wonderful poet reading his charming poem – it does make such a difference to read.
“You can escape into different worlds, you can laugh, you can cry, you can learn and it’s thanks to all of you that it’s happening to all these children, so thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.”
The poet, Joshua Seigal, later described seeing Camilla join in with the audience in acting out his poem ‘Just a Book’ as a “wonderful experience”.
Camilla – who is married to King Charles – spoke to 20-year-old Jadesola Kadejoh, who she first met through the charity 10 years ago, and asked if Coram Beanstalk had been helpful for her.
The university student said it had, particularly because she was diagnosed with dyslexia in secondary school.
Camilla replied: “It does help, doesn’t it, the one-to-one support makes such a difference.”
She also listened to a younger girl reading and applauded when she had finished narrating the passage out loud.
She told the child: “There’s nothing better than reading.”
Before she left, Camilla signed the visitor’s book and said: “It’s down to all of you and it is lovely to see it thriving and just going from strength to strength.
“It’s due to all of your help, so thank you very much. It’s a wonderful charity and you do so much for children in building their confidence.”
Earlier in the day, the queen consort helped charity staff stamp inside the covers of two books at Book Aid International depot in south London and spoke of her passion for her virtual book club initiative, The Reading Room.
She said: “During lockdown everybody went back to reading, thank goodness.
“I’ve got my Reading Room which goes all of the way around the world. It gets letters from all over the place, everywhere, I had one from Papua New Guinea the other day.”