Duchess Camilla began the first royal book club after her reading lists were a hit

The Duchess of Cornwall attended The Royal Foundation of St Katharine

How many books did you read in 2020? I barely read anything – maybe like four books total during the year, and one of those was a re-read. I’ve been like that for a while though, I’ve gotten so crotchety about reading books in my off-time because I’m reading and writing all day for this job. I used to read for pleasure all the time! Not anymore, and the pandemic made it a lot worse. But many people did read a lot during the pandemic, and new reading habits were likely formed for many. Virtual book clubs became massively popular too. Apparently, the Duchess of Cornwall tested out the public appetite for starting her own book club, and now she’s pulled the trigger on it. Behold, the Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room!

Over the last decade, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has established herself as the palace’s main book lover by working with seven different literacy charities and becoming a fixture at the annual ceremony for the Man Booker Prize, even during the pandemic. But last year, the pandemic inspired Camilla to follow in the footsteps of Barack Obama and share her own book recommendations, releasing one list of her favorite books in April and another in August.

Due to the positive response to her first lists, the palace announced on Friday that Camilla will continue sharing her choices through a book club called the Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room, and on January 15, she will share four new choices. The new endeavor already has its own Instagram account, which featured an interview between Camilla and the artist Charlie Mackesy about his book, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. She will continue to release new picks seasonally, and the account will feature conversations with the selected authors and other supplementary material.

Oprah and Reese Witherspoon are known for their impacts on book sales, and the Sun reports that Camilla could have similar influence, since her previous lists have led to a sales bump by as much as 200 percent for the featured books. The Daily Mail adds that Camilla was also inspired by the fact that book sales across the U.K. skyrocketed during the country’s lockdowns.

Though her first lists contained books that were close to her own heart, including a memoir by her late brother, the explorer Mark Shand, Camilla’s new project is aiming for a broad audience. “The duchess is hoping her Reading Room will encourage all ages and all levels of reader to pick up a book, and that it will spread awareness of the emotional, social and educational benefits of reading,” a palace source told the Mail. “That is as important to her as recommending any particular title herself. Ultimately, though, her hope is that this should put more books into the hands of more people.”

[From Vanity Fair]

I get that many people will always side-eye Camilla and her role in trying to destroy Princess Diana, and I’m not here to say that Camilla is blameless. She’s done some terrible f–king things in her life. But in narrow circumstances, I’ll admit it, I kind of like Cam and I think she would probably be a fun hang. Camilla is clearly a major book lover, and she’s also a wine and booze aficionado, so I hope her virtual book club is the same as other book clubs – boozy and literary. All that being said, imagine if You Know Who had started a virtual book club. Piers Morgan and Dan Wootton would be losing their sh-t at how “unroyal” it is.

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35 Responses to “Duchess Camilla began the first royal book club after her reading lists were a hit”

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  1. Lolamd says:

    I always start off the new year with a goal of reading at least 2 books a month for the year. Then at the end of the year it ends up being 1/2 books that I have read for the YEAR. ha! I am trying to be better because I love reading but work, homeschooling, etc get in the way and I just want to sleep.

    • Noodle says:

      @lolamd, I am the same way! Reading for pleasure is more of a goal than an actuality for me, and not a realistic one. By the time I’m done with work (I read and write a lot there), helping three kids with virtual school, and life duties, the last thing I want to do is keep my eyes open and brain turned on!

  2. Implicit says:

    How can you even half like her? To each their own and Diana aside she did nothing for Meghan NOTHING Shes in the league of Melania, Marchesa and Cosby I SAY GIRL BYE

    • Sofia says:

      To be fair, Camilla actually works a lot more than Melania and she wasn’t the only one who didn’t help Meghan.

    • Tessa says:

      I don’t care for her and never warmed up to her, never will. And Implicit, I agree that she did not help Meghan she even giggled at the wedding sermon. Camilla does the minimum and has cut back time on tours. I think she will scale back even more as she ages and she may have health issues as well.

  3. Mignionette says:

    Wonder’s whose ‘idea’ this originally was ….

    25 years then all of a sudden a book club…

    EDIT: The comments are open and being HEAVILY moderated – LMAO !!! Talk about echo chamber future King !!!

  4. tcbc says:

    She’s the most interesting of all of them. I like her. (I would not trust her around a husband, but that’s what brunch friends are for.)

    • BayTampaBay says:

      I agree. I find Cammie the most interesting of the Royal Lot too.

      • L84Tea says:

        I recently read the biography “The Duchess” about her and it was a pretty inciteful read. A little sugary and excusing of Camilla, but very interesting.

    • Tessa says:

      I don’t like how she became a royal. Penny Junor’s book about Camilla also included Diana bashing which I don’t care for.

      • MashedPeas says:

        Penny Junor can’t open her trap without bashing Diana. She could be talking about fly fishing and manage to slip in a dig at Di.

  5. Jay says:

    This is a good use of her platform, and Camilla (well, her staff) seem to have put in the work to get it up and running.

    During quarantine, I haven’t been at all interested in reading contemporary fiction – I’ve gone back to authors and genres that I find comforting.🤷‍♀️

    • Anners says:

      Same. Re-reading a lot of Austen and Montgomery and Harry Potter (sorry- fell in love with them before I learned how awful JKR is). Also reading a lot of mysteries and thrillers because I find it reassuring to have everything neatly tied up and resolved.

      I can’t hate Camilla. She was awful to Diana, but she does good work for women now and people need to be allowed to change.

      • Becks1 says:

        Ha, I just re-read the entire Anne of Green Gables series, and I’m just so mad at how no one can properly bring the series to the screen. Rilla of Ingleside would make a great movie, IMO. (I’m also mad at how Anne goes from being super interesting to just a nice mother that we rarely see or hear from.)

      • Anners says:

        YES to all of this! Megan Follows was the Anne I was introduced to and will always be my Anne, but dang those sequels were *terrible*. And I loved The Story Girl, but Road to Avonlea was awful. I don’t know why it’s so hard to make a reasonably faithful adaptation? Rilla of Ingleside would make a great show and so would the Blue Castle. Sigh.

  6. Elizabeth Regina says:

    I am not a fan of Camilla. She did some horrible things and gaslighted Diana unforgivably. But she does seem to work hard and follow through and the book club sounds like a good project.

    • Tessa says:

      she may have advisers about what books to choose and it gives her a patronage that does not require travel (she is aging and may have health issues). I still don’t like her, and she had no choice but to work. Charles sent Bolland to her for PR and to accustom her to her future work after the wedding. She never bothered with it before 1997. She should have been nicer to Meghan and helped her. But she did not. From the letters of Camila’s that became public, she loathed Diana.

  7. Becks1 says:

    I think this is a great idea. It’s well known that Camilla is a big reader and literacy is one of her main causes (when I think of Camilla’s causes, I think of literacy, osteoporosis, and domestic violence) and this is a good way to connect with the public while things are still on lockdown.

    I would honestly side-eye Kate a lot if she did something like this, because nothing about Kate suggests that she is a big reader or has any intellectual curiosity at all, so it would seem like a total PR ploy, but for Camilla I think it works.

    (and dont come for me with Diana etc. It’s possible to think that something is a good initiative without absolving that person of all wrongdoing.)

    • Eleonor says:

      I was thinking about Kate too.
      Having even some zoom call where she reads to children.
      That would be nice and easy.

    • Tessa says:

      Meghan endorsed reading, there was the film clip of her reading to Archie. I think that is a good thing.

  8. Jumpingthesnark says:

    I think it is a good idea. Kate could do a book club for kids ( or a couple of different ones for different ages). And also one for parents on books on child development/raising kids. But you know she won’t…… too busy planning super spreader events…….

    • lanne says:

      I was about to post the same thing. A book club for kids would be a no-brainer for someone who’s supposed to have Early Years as an initiative. Along with lots of Zoom meetings talking about how parents of young kids could manage the pandemic. Instead of her dumb questionaire, why not do a series of kid-related activities? Baking, games, books, get the kids involved. Easy to do undertake. The ABSENCE of ANYTHING speaks volumes.

      At least Camilla does stuff. A book club is an excellent idea for a duchess/future Queen/future Princess Consort, whatevs. This makes Kate’s utter lack of effort look even more jarring. This is not rocket science.

      • Tessa says:

        Camilla has to do things, that’s why Charles had her be mentored by Bolland to get used to working. Kate has to do things also but for one reason or another she had many excuses made for her, from “she has to research the patronages first,” ” the Queen wants WIll and Kate to experience the privacy she experienced in Malta,” Kate is pregnant, Kate does not want to overshadow senior royals by working, The QUeen has to tell her when to work. Never saw so many excuses.

  9. Scarlett says:

    All things considered, yep, I just followed that account, I love books. Really like that selection, if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it and in my book, my recommendation holds more value than Camilla’s lol.

  10. Sofia says:

    I like Camilla too, especially in terms of being a royal. She didn’t really want to marry Charles but she has and she seems to actually do engagements. She’s also got a few of her favourite causes that she works hard to promote (reading, osteoporosis, abused women). I really loved her emphasis in one of her speeches on how domestic women will be suffering by staying with their abusers during this pandemic.

    And like @Becks1 said above, you can like someone’s work but still not absolve them of everything. Just like how I like Charles’ work as a royal but still think he treated Diana horribly and is a lousy father.

    • Tessa says:

      I do think she wanted to marry Charles, very much so. I think she envied Diana and she did not say no when Charles gave her bling while she was still married to APB and he was married to Diana. Charles made it inevitable when he told the world he had an affair with her, and the PBs then divorced. She has to do royal engagements but not nearly as many as Charles and Anne, for instance. She had no choice but to do this. She does get a lot of down time, and Bolland did call her “lazy” and he likes her. I agree about Charles, he has a work ethic and did not shirk like William does. Kate is a whole lot younger than Camilla and does less.

  11. Lizzie says:

    My money is on her and chuck being the only readers in the remaining rf.

    Also every book I’ve read from Reece’s book club I have loved.

    • Tessa says:

      I suspect Harry is becoming more of a reader since Meghan is and probably recommends books to him. It was great to see her reading to Archie with Harry filming it.

  12. A woman says:

    Camilla wrote the book on the art of homewrecking.

  13. SpankyB says:

    I think it’s a good Duchess cause. And the right Duchess. I’m actually giggling thinking about Kate trying to do that.

    I’ve done a lot of reading this pandemic, 3 and 4 books a month, but it’s been pure fluff. That seems to be all I can handle right now.

    I have noticed that since I signed up with Netflix my reading has slowed down. I had a lot of catching up to do on shows everyone had been talking about for the last few years but I didn’t have the time for TV. Now I do.

    • Tessa says:

      Has Kate ever mentioned books she read? ANd she went to University where she would have taken Literature courses as electives.

  14. Amy Bee says:

    Better for her to be a champion for reading than an advocate against domestic abuse and coercive control.

  15. My3cents says:

    So when will we see “Diana in her on words” as book of the month?