UK

Queen and author share joke about weather-app ‘obsession’

Camilla was discussing the weather with Horrid Henry author Francesca Simon as a National Literacy Trust event was moved indoors because of the rain.

Camilla was hosting 30th anniversary celebrations for the National Literacy Trust
Camilla was hosting 30th anniversary celebrations for the National Literacy Trust (Yui Mok/PA)

The Queen joked that “everybody teases her” about her “obsession” with weather apps at a charity event that was moved inside because of the rain, an author said.

The reception on Tuesday brought together bestselling authors and volunteers for the National Literacy Trust – which works to give children and adults of all ages literacy skills – to celebrate the charity’s 30th anniversary.

The celebrations were originally set to take place in the gardens of Clarence House but were rearranged for inside the building after the day turned grey and drizzly in London.

The Queen has been a patron of the National Literacy Trust since 2010
The Queen has been a patron of the National Literacy Trust since 2010 (Yui Mok/PA)

Camilla, wearing a long-sleeve navy dress with a white floral pattern, smiled and laughed as she greeted the charity’s representatives and volunteers before cutting a square anniversary cake decorated with fondant books.

Among the writers in attendance was Francesca Simon, author of the bestselling children’s series Horrid Henry, who shared a joke with the Queen as they discussed the miserable weather.

Ms Simon said: “We were laughing about our mutual love of weather apps.

“She mentioned it was raining in France, where I’m meant to be today, and I said ‘yeah, I know’.

“She said everybody teases her, because I’m also looking at weather in various parts of the world, and she’s the same – so we were laughing at our mutual obsession.”

The trust ambassador said the Queen’s support was “invaluable” to the charity and praised her commitment to the cause.

The author added: “She turns up and puts her passion for reading, which is very genuine, behind it – so it’s really fun to have that kind of commitment that’s much more than skin deep.”

Axel Scheffler, illustrator of The Gruffalo, agreed that Camilla’s work with the charity was “immensely important”.

“I know she’s read The Gruffalo to her grandchildren,” he added.

Jayden Lowndes, 10, was among the volunteers who spoke to the Queen
Jayden Lowndes, 10, was among the volunteers who spoke to the Queen (Yui Mok/PA)

Jayden Lowndes, 10, from Stoke-on-Trent, is among the charity’s youngest volunteers and runs a community book trolley which he wheels around his school every Friday afternoon giving out books.

Jayden said he would recommend The Beast Of Buckingham Palace by David Walliams to Camilla as a book he thought she would enjoy.

The Queen also spoke to Jess Jervis, 31, a bus driver from Cornwall who created small libraries on board her buses and offers books to children who hop on.

Ms Jervis said Camilla told her “every bus should have books on” after hearing her story.

The Queen, who is an avid reader, has been a patron of the charity since 2010 and was presented with five books selected by volunteers, including Maya Angelou’s Why The Caged Bird Sings and Handle With Care by Shreya Sen-Handley.

The Queen hosted community volunteers and authors at Clarence House in central London
The Queen hosted community volunteers and authors at Clarence House in central London (Yui Mok/PA)

Addressing attendees, she paid tribute to the charity’s work and said she hoped illiteracy would be “a thing of the past” in the next 30 years.

During lockdown, Camilla launched her Reading Room project which began as an online reading club and has since grown into a major initiative which has a podcast featuring leading authors and a literary festival.

Over the past 30 years, the National Literacy Trust has supported more than five million children with reading and writing skills and worked with nearly 17,000 schools.

In 2023, the charity gifted 528,303 books and is currently campaigning to ensure all primary schools in the UK have a library by 2028.

Other authors in attendance at the event included Malorie Blackman, Adele Parks and Darren Simpson.