Camilla opens up on memory that still leaves her emotional – 'It makes me cry now'


Camilla opened up on her love for books during a conversation with Lord Dobbs for the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. The Duchess recalled being “pony-mad” in her youth, which caused one of her early readings to remain “stuck” in her mind.

Speaking about Black Beauty, the 1877 novel by Anna Sewell, Camilla said: “In those days I was a sort of pony-mad child, and I thought of very little else apart from horses and ponies and charging about on them, so I think Black Beauty was the first book that stuck in my mind.

“I can see it now – there was Ginger.

“Every time I think about poor old Ginger with his head hanging out of the cart with his tongue hanging, it makes me cry now, and I think that was possibly one of my favourites.”

During her radio appearance, Camilla also spoke about one of her favourite books during her youth.

She said: “Another book that my father used to read to us all the time, because he loved a bit of adventure, was The Scarlet Pimpernel.

“He became this great hero in all our eyes and I loved all the adventures.

“I had a sort of passion for the Bastille, I am not sure why, I used to think about him rescuing all these lovely people from the Bastille.

“And then the terrible moment with the guillotine when the old tricoteuse sat there doing their knitting.

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“I think it stuck for a very long time because then it led me on to A Tale of Two Cities – I went from Paris to Paris, guillotine to guillotine.”

The Scarlet Pimpernel tells the story of an Englishman who rescues aristocrats facing the death penalty during the French Revolution.

Delving further into her childhood memories, the Duchess of Cornwall said: “Again, there were lovely things like The Children of the New Forest – do you ever remember that book?

“Which I remember very well, because we used to go and visit the New Forest and we used to be sent to look for the tree that they’d hidden in.


“That was all sort of part of the adventure.”

This isn’t the first time Camilla shares her love for literature, passed on to her by her father.

Last year, she penned an essay for The Sun in which she revealed how late Major Bruce Shand “brought alive” the books he was reading to his children.

She said: “I was very lucky to have a father who read to us when we were children.

“And he didn’t just read books — he brought them alive. We couldn’t wait for the next chapter.

“So my love of reading started early and has stayed with me all my life.

“And, looking back, that was one of the greatest gifts my father could have given me.”

The Duchess has found application in her royal work for her love for books.

Over the years, she has become the patron of several literacy charities, including the National Literacy Trust and the BookTrust.

In January, she started sharing her passion online, by launching the Reading Room account, a virtual book club on Instagram.

The successful initiative will enter its fifth season in mid-January, and has gathered more than 120,000 followers.


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