14th Jun, 2021

Children's surprise Rhymetime session with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall at Coventry Library

Editorial Correspondent 26th May, 2021 Updated: 27th May, 2021

PARENTS, carers and children attending a Rhymetime session at Coventry Library received a surprise guest storyteller – Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall!

The future King’s royal consort found time to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle to a group of young children.

While on her royal visit to the city with Prince Charles, she also became the first person to take part in the city’s One Million Reads challenge.

Marking Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture, the library service has linked up with Coventry City of Culture Trust to deliver a fantastic 12-month programme of events, funded by a £97,000 Arts Council Award.

It includes One Million Reads Coventry where library visitors will be taking on the challenge of collectively reading one million books by May 2022.

The Duchess has long been a champion of literacy and recently launched her own book club, The Reading Room.

She shared her love of books and reading with local children and families on a tour of the City Centre library, hearing about its past as an entertainment venue and current work in engaging the city’s communities to ensure reading is available to all.

Coun George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council, said: “It was a huge honour for us to be able to welcome The Duchess of Cornwall to Coventry.

“We know how important literacy is to Her Royal Highness and we were delighted to be able to demonstrate the full range of library services. Who better to help us kick off our One Million Reads challenge!

“Libraries play such an important role in bringing communities together and it’s been such a difficult year, so as Covid restrictions lift and we are able to open the doors again it has been a wonderful boost to have such a special visitor.”

Camilla also met pupils from Eden Girls’ School who showed some of the posters they had created for the library’s teenage area, and she also heard about the Creative Kindness project linking crafts with positive well-being and kindness.

She also watched a modern dance performance by  Off-Balance Dance company and music performed by Abey Huett.

Chenine Bhathena, Coventry City of Culture Trust’s creative director, said: “We are so delighted that Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, came to visit Coventry as we begin our year as UK City of Culture.

“Coventry has such a rich literary history and culture, from novelists like George Eliot, Graham Joyce and Caz Freer, to poets, comics and songwriters like Philip Larkin, Hazel O’Connor, Guz Khan and Jerry Dammers, and theatre and film writers such as Debbie Issit, Alan Pollock and Chris O’Connell.

“So it is very apt that HRH The Duchess of Cornwall has started the One Million Reads challenge, as part of our partner programme with Coventry Library Service.”

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