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.”
Camilla will be the first royal to launch a book club, and the online tie-ins will be an extension of her decision to use social media to open up to the British public during the coronavirus crisis. “We have seen her in a much more informal setting and that has given people a chance to get to know her a little better,” a source who works with the duchess told Vanity Fair in July. “Both she and the prince have shown themselves to be very comfortable operating this way—they have allowed the public into their home in a way that has never happened before.”
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