We celebrate HRH The Duchess of Cornwall's 70th birthday at Clarence House

11 Jul 2017
HRH at Duchess' bookshelves

We are one of six literacy-focused charities and organisations 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 organisations involved - the National Literacy Trust, Beanstalk, BookTrust, First Story, Roald Dahl Literary Estate* and the Wicked Young Writer Awards. The 70 schools chosen to receive the books have all shown commitment 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, which were designed and donated by Peters, at a garden party at Clarence House on this morning (11 July). Pupils from Hemlington Hall Academy in our Middlesbrough Hub 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. 

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. The books have been kindly donated by publishers. 

David Walliams on bus at duchess's bookshelves

How wonderful it is to see all these brilliant children’s books side by side on the Duchess’s Bookshelves. The huge range of different titles shows that there really is a book for everyone – you just need to find it. ... I’m so thrilled when I hear that one of my books has given a child the reading bug and helped them to discover the world of books, just as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory did for me when I was young

David Walliams

Our Patron HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is passionate about children’s literacy, so what better way to celebrate this milestone birthday than by helping more children to discover the joys of reading with a special set of books. We hope pupils at the 70 schools who receive the bookshelves will be inspired to enjoy reading and read more widely, which our research shows has a significant impact on their attainment

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust

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.

HRH authors, pupils and charity partners at duchess's bookselves