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Camilla shares ‘extraordinary mixture’ of dream dinner party guests with book club

Charles and Camilla open Meta's new central London campus

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On a visit to tech giant Meta last week, the Duchess, who is an avid reader, recorded a video for her book club and answered some of the questions they had submitted. One of the pressing questions posed to the royal asked her which characters from literature would she like to host at a dinner party, in response the Duchess admitted that she had an “extraordinary mixture” of fictional characters she would like to share a meal with.

She said: “I’d have the Count of Monte Cristo. Then I’d have two rather devious characters to spice up the whole thing.

“I’d have Mrs Danvers, dressed in black, and I’d have Count Fosco from The Woman in White. I think they’d cause quite a lot of trouble and I wanted somebody a bit different.

“Then I’d have a heroine of mine, Elizabeth Bennett. Just a good strong woman to keep the show on the road, so to speak.

“And then I’d have Uncle Matthew from the Pursuit of Love, probably with his entrenching tool to keep everyone under control.

“[There are] A lot more people I’d like to have but I think that would be a very good mixture.”

The Duchess also went on to emphasise the importance of literacy for young children.

She said: “Obviously you’ve got to learn to read first because if you can’t read, how are you going to get on in life?

“You’re not going to be able to read signs, you’re not going to be able to read application forms. 

“You’ve got to learn to read from an early age, I think it’s so important.

“The earlier you can learn, the better. I think that’s very much a parent’s job, to get children reading very young by reading to them.

“Because however young you are, you absorb stories. The more stories you absorb, the more interested you’re going to be in the future.

“I think for everybody, to read a story can take you into so many different worlds. 

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“You can go to places you thought you’d never get to. You can go to different countries.

“However difficult things are, you can get away from them and go into your own world for a bit.

“Just take yourself away from everything that’s annoying you and read a book. I think it’s the most therapeutic thing you can do.

“After lockdown, especially, when we were all in a world we didn’t understand. What better than to reach for a book?

“So many people have started reading again which is really good news.”

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